The architect of a key People’s Vote amendment has insisted it had the numbers in the House of Commons.
Appearing on the BBC’s Politics Live, Labour MP Peter Kyle disputed claims from Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna that the numbers of supportive MPs did not exist for a second Brexit referendum.
Umunna said the lack of support for a People’s Vote was why he was party changed tact to back an early generation election.
He said it was “very hard to find the arithmetic”, and said MPs who want a People’s Vote were “banking on the EU council continuing to grant us extensions”.
But Kyle said he would not back a general election because parliament was not the issue.
He said: “Parliament is disfunctional because the government is not allowing us to be functional at the moment.”
He continued: “If you have an executive that won’t allow parliament to do its job that’s where the problem is, but parliament isn’t the problem.
“We need to get our act together so we can have a functional relationship and I simply don’t think, based on the results of the 2017 election, that an election today is going to produce anything that could come back and reasonably be expected to solve the Brexit challenge.”
Kyle said “there were the numbers there” for a confirmatory vote – which is why the prime minister was so keen to avoid amendments.
“We were there to vote on Super Saturday for a confirmatory ballot on the Brexit deal. Boris Johnson pulled the vote.
“Why would he have pulled the vote if he thought that he could have defeated us?
“I’ve been working on this 24/7 for week after week, month after month, we had the numbers.”
As Umunna shook his head, Kyle explained: “Somebody here, in a party, who stood up in front of a million people campaigning for this and promised to deliver it, then does the one thing that is pulling the rug from beneath us at the moment, I think is really difficult to hear.
“I’m almost tempted to publish the names of the people who are committed to us to vote for it. Some of them in the pool of people that you have just said wouldn’t be.”