LABOUR’S SHADOW foreign secretary Emily Thornberry joined hands yesterday with resigned Tory Transport Minister Jo Johnson in declaring for a second referendum to reverse the decision of the first, that the UK must leave the EU.
Trying to cover her tracks Thornberry declared: ‘Well, let’s start with the fact that we had a referendum and the results of the referendum ought to be abided by.’ She then ditched her ‘ought’ to say – ‘But we do need to have an injection of democracy in between the result of the referendum and us going any further, and we’ve always said that.
‘And what we wanted was a meaningful vote, and Theresa May is simply giving us a devil and the deep blue sea.’ She then likened carrying out the democratic decision to leave the EU to May ‘saying that you can either fall off a cliff or get on this bridge to nowhere and you’re going to have to vote on that’.
She added ignoring the meaningful vote of over 17 million who voted to ‘Leave’ – ‘That’s not a meaningful vote… if you can’t come up with a decent suggestion then we should have a general election. ‘If we don’t have a general election, which we think we should have, then yes, of course, all the options remain on the table and we would campaign for there to be a people’s vote.’
Andrew Marr then pointed out that ‘Jeremy Corbyn, asked by a German newspaper directly about a second referendum, said: ‘We can’t stop it. We can’t stop Brexit’.
Marr added: ‘And there’s a lot of people, including Labour Party members, who are desperate to stop Brexit and hope the Labour Party will help them do that, and are therefore very disappointed by what he said.
Thornberry responded: ‘He was explaining that, as I’ve just tried to explain, that we are democrats over and above everything.’ Marr then asked: ‘If May comes back and she says to your MPs, look, you may not like every aspect of it but it carries on, trade carries on, life carries on, we stay for the short term inside the customs union under this, and it’s this or it’s no deal.’
Thornberry responded: ‘You cannot expect the Labour Party to save you from your own backbenchers who are saying this deal makes no sense. And everybody knows it doesn’t make any sense.’ Marr responded: ‘All of this may be true, but you’re still not explaining how you actually stop it happening.’
Thornberry continued: ‘What we say is if she can’t come forward with a deal that makes any sense and that parliament can accept, then we should have a general election. That’s what we should do. That’s the old fashioned way…’ ‘So the first stage is we demand a general election, and that is what the proper thing should be. If we don’t get a general election, then what we have said is all options remain on the table and we will be…
Marr interrupted: ‘There aren’t any. I’m sorry, there aren’t any. The Clerk of the House of Commons, Sir David Natzler, has said this is statute. Parliament has passed statute. You can’t simply put a motion down to the House of Commons and reverse any of this kind of stuff. You can’t amend some passing piece of legislation and stop this kind of stuff. There aren’t any options on the table in front of you in the House of Commons in terms of stopping this at the moment.’
Thornberry then revealed that the Six Tests were still on the table: ‘We’ve said six tests, we will vote for it, bring back a deal that we will agree to. If she’s sensible, what she’ll do is she’ll negotiate properly and bring back a deal which means that we’re in a customs union and that we’re in a free market agreement with the European Union based on free market rules. ‘And, you know, if she brings back something like that, then it may well be that she will get sufficient support.’