YESTERDAY morning, both in the capitalist press and on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that if the Labour Party conference decided to call for a second referendum over leaving the EU, that would be OK with him.
This was after deputy party leader Tom Watson, in an interview with the Observer said: ‘If the people’s party decide they want the people to have a final say on the (EU) deal, we have to respect the view of our members and we will go out and argue for it.’
Asked if this should mean Labour commits to a second referendum in its next election manifesto, Watson said: ‘There is going to be pressure in the system for that to happen.’
He later spoke alongside anti-Brexit trade union leaders at a march in Liverpool, calling for the Labour leadership to back a so-called People’s Vote. More than 140 constituency parties have submitted motions calling for the Labour Party policy on Brexit to be put to a vote, many of them calling for a second referendum.
Appearing on BBC’s Marr Show yesterday morning, Jeremy Corbyn said he would be ‘bound’ by what the conference decides on Brexit. Corbyn said: ‘We’re having a debate at our conference and will come to a conclusion on that. Our preference is that we will demand our six tests against the government and our preference is for a general election and we can negotiate our future relationship with Europe.
‘But let’s see what comes out of conference. We are a democratic party.’
Marr asked: ‘Will this party get a chance this week to vote on the issue of a second referendum clearly?’
Corbyn replied: ‘There will be a clear vote in conference. I don’t know what’s going to come out of all the compositing meetings that are going on.’ Marr asked: ‘And if as a result of that clear vote the conference says “yes, we want a second referendum”, will Jeremy Corbyn deliver that?’
Corbyn replied: ‘Let’s see what comes out at conference and, obviously, I’m bound by the democracy of our conference.’ Marr said: ‘If there was another referendum now, with one option being, broadly speaking, staying in the EU and the other option, broadly speaking, leave the EU, how would you vote?’ Corbyn said: ‘That’s conjecture, we don’t know what the question would be. In the referendum, I wanted to remain and reform the EU.’
Marr said that at some point this autumn PM May is ‘probably going to bring some kind of deal back to the House of Commons. It’s probably not going to meet your six tests. But in those circumstances, now we know what no deal really looks like, would you really vote it down and plunge us towards a no deal?’
Corbyn replied: ‘We would vote it down if it didn’t meet our tests in order to send the government, if it’s still in office, straight back to the negotiating table and if there’s a general election and we’re in office we’ll go straight to the negotiating table, because we want to protect jobs and industries in this country. We want to ensure that there is a good, effective trade relationship in the future.’