February 25, 2019 2:41 pm
Updated: February 25, 2019 10:01 pm

Brexit referendum do-over? U.K.’s Labour Party hints support as EU divorce looms

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LONDON – Britain’s opposition Labour will support a second referendum on Brexit if parliament rejects the party’s alternative plan for leaving the bloc, its Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said on Monday.

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Parliament is due to debate and vote on Wednesday on the next steps in Brexit and Labour has said it put forward an amendment calling on the government to adopt its Brexit proposals, which include a permanent customs union.

“This week Labour will put its alternative plan for a vote in the House of Commons,” Starmer said on Twitter.

“If Parliament rejects our plan, then Labour will deliver on the promise we made at our annual conference and support a public vote.”

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The party will also support a bid by Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper to give parliament the legal power to force Prime Minister Theresa May to seek an extension to the Article 50 negotiating period beyond the exit date currently set down in law – March 29.

Corbyn has been under pressure for some time to support a second referendum. Last week, eight referendum-supporting lawmakers quit the party, in part owing to frustration over his failure to back another vote.

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The prospect of holding a second vote poses a dilemma for Corbyn; while many of the party’s members and supporters fervently back a so-called People’s Vote, others simply want Britain to leave the EU as soon as possible.

Labour said it would also put forward an amendment calling on the government to adopt its Brexit proposals, including a permanent customs union with the EU and close alignment with the bloc’s single market.

— Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Kevin Liffey

© 2019 Thomson Reuters

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