Labour has opened the door to reversing Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, by overwhelmingly backing a motion that could lead to a People’s Vote.
The party’s conference in Liverpool voted overwhelmingly to keep the option of a fresh vote ‘on the table’, after shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer explicitly stated that it could include the option of staying in the EU.
Sir Keir won a standing ovation from a large majority of delegates, though some remained firmly in their seats.
His declaration that ‘nobody is ruling out Remain as an option’ was not included in printed copies of his speech distributed to the media, sparking speculation that he may have gone beyond the position agreed by Labour’s high command.
But leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the contents of the speech had been cleared by his office in advance.
He said Labour would subject any deal reached by Theresa May with Brussels to the six tests set out by Sir Keir, including that it should deliver ‘the exact same benefits’ as single market and customs union membership.
And he said Labour was prepared to vote the PM’s deal down.
Anti-Brexit campaigners have branded the result a ‘game-changer’ for those who support a People’s Vote.
Best for Britain chief Eloise Todd said: ‘Today is a game-changer for the campaign to give the people the final say on Brexit. The passing of this motion has left the door open to Labour backing a people’s vote on Brexit, reflecting what the vast majority of Labour members and voters want – and a majority in the country want.
‘Keir Starmer’s standing ovation on the conference floor is proof of how far this debate has shifted: it’s clear that a final say for the people with the option to stay is the only way to genuinely try Labour’s six tests. But more than that, it’s the only way out of the logjam in parliament and deadlock in negotiations created by this government’s head-in-the-sand approach.
‘We can’t let jobs continue to be cut and funds designed for public services be re-directed to pay for underperforming Brexit departments. It’s time for a final say with the option to stay.’