‘LEAVE WON’T BE ON ANY BALLOT’ says John McDonnell

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School students and supporters yesterday urged the TUC to back global school strikes on 20th September with a 30 minute stoppage!

SHADOW Chancellor John McDonnell spelt out yesterday that Labour wants to form a ‘caretaker government’ with the other opposition parties which would organise a second EU referendum in which a No Deal Brexit would not be on the ballot paper.

Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, McDonnell said: ‘I want an election, I want it as soon as possible, but sometimes you do have to put the country before party and the key thing for me now, and not just for me but across the opposition parties and within the Conservative Party itself, we’ve got to prevent Boris Johnson forcing through a No Deal because of the damage it could do to our country.’

He went on: ‘I think we’re in an extremely serious constitutional position and now is the time to put party advantage to one side and concentrate on the seriousness of the situation we’re in.’

Marr said: ‘If you don’t believe Boris Johnson you can sort that out by legislating for the date of the election. The House of Commons can deal with this tomorrow.’

McDonnell responded: ‘We don’t believe that we can pin him down and I don’t trust him an inch and I don’t think anyone does.’

Marr asked him: ‘Is it still your policy to negotiate a so-called jobs first or a pro-Labour Brexit deal?’

He replied: ‘I think we’ve got to get to the situation now where we accept what the offer is from the European Union.’

Marr said: ‘So something looking a bit like May’s deal is negotiated by the Labour Party, you then come back and put it to the people. In that referendum, how do you vote?’

McDonnell replied: ‘I would campaign for Remain.’

Marr said: ‘So it’s this deal or Remain?’

McDonnell replied: ‘I think it’s a matter of saying “Look, this is what the offer is, that’s the reality of what the European Union is willing to agree, the alternative to that is to Remain.”

‘People across parties have to judge what is in the best interest of the country, for me I think Remain is in the best interest of the country, but others will take a different view, even within my own party.’

Marr said: ‘This is a slightly strange position if I may say so. You negotiate and you come back and you don’t put the results of your negotiation to the British people as the favoured option, you put Remain as the favoured option, in which case why go to the EU and negotiate?’

McDonnell replied: ‘I think you have to be honest with people and say “Look, this is the offer that is available to us and this is the offer that Parliament is willing to agree to”.’

Marr said: ‘So this proposed Labour referendum completely cuts out the views of all of those people who want to leave without a deal. The hard Brexiteers get no chance at all. There’s nothing on the ballot paper for them, they are pushed to one side.’

McDonnell replied: ‘We have to be honest with people. I can’t support a No Deal. It would be so damaging for the country. I don’t believe it’s a realistic option.’

Marr said: ‘And you’re not going to give people the chance to disagree with you?’

McDonnell replied: ‘I’d like to give them a chance in a general election as soon as we possibly can and then we’d have a referendum. But I have to exercise a judgement that actually is exercised by so many people now that No Deal would be an absolute disaster.’

Marr said: ‘If tomorrow the government proposed a referendum, would you vote for it?’

McDonnell responded: ‘I’d like a general election first.’ Marr interjected: ‘But not yet!’ McDonnell agreed: ‘Not yet. Until we’ve ruled No Deal off the agenda I can’t risk, with Boris Johnson being in power, that he wouldn’t somehow impose that on the country.

‘So if we can get No Deal off the agenda, then I’d like a general election and part of that would be saying “let’s have a referendum”.’