Labour could campaign to leave the EU in a second referendum if it secures a strong enough new Brexit deal from Brussels, a Labour frontbencher has claimed.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has been tipped to be Labour’s next leader.
She appeared on Sky News to reitterate Labour’s position that it would attempt to renegotiate the government’s Brexit deal.
Asked whether the party would campaign to Leave or Remain in a second vote, she said: “We will make an assessment of the deal at the time. We will try and get the best that we possibly can.”
Labour’s priorities would be to seek a customs union, close single market alignment and protection of rights and standards, and then discuss the deal with party members, she said.
“If we get all that then we’ll have a conference with our Labour Party members to determine how we will campaign in that.”
Pressed on whether Labour could then pursue Leave in a People’s Vote, she said: “We will have to make that judgment at the time based on the deal that we manage to garner at from the European Union.
“But ultimately our priorities have always been to put our economy first, to respect the result of the referendum, get the best deal we possibly can, and ensure we leave in a way that doesn’t damage manufacturing industry, that doesn’t strip away workers’ rights and protections, that doesn’t take away our environmental and consumer standards.
“That’s why we will examine the final deal very, very closely to ensure it underpins that we’ve been setting out for the last three years.”
Thomas Brake MP, the Lib Dem spokesperson on Brexit, said it showed Labour were not fit for office.
He said: “The fact Rebecca Long-Bailey refused to say where Labour would stand in a people’s vote this morning only goes to show the Labour leadership are not fit for office.
“It is beyond outrageous that almost three and a half years on from the referendum the Labour Party leadership will not be honest with the British public about where they stand. Time and time again Labour have tried to pull the wool over the electorate’s eyes as they dither as a result of the schisms within their party.
“The Liberal Democrats couldn’t be clearer: we want to stop Brexit as we believe the best deal we can get is the one we already have a members of the EU. In this election the Liberal Democrats will give the public the opportunity to stop Brexit and build a brighter future.
“If the Labour Party cannot be clear with the public about what they’re offering, they should make way for those who can.”