Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer today performed a massive u-turn on Labour’s policy on leaving the EU, saying a second referendum was still “on the table”.
Two days after shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner said that holding another referendum could lead to “civil disobedience”, Sir Keir Starmer told the Today programme he had “never accepted” MPs should support the Brexit deal Theresa May brings back from Brussels “however bad it is”.
He said: “It’s not right to say ‘vote for my deal or get no deal’. That’s not a meaningful vote.
“If that vote is to reject the Article 50 deal then Parliament must decide what happens next and, in my experience, it’s best to keep your options on the table.”
On Tuesday Mr Gardiner, a key ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said calls for another vote undermined “the whole principle of democracy in this country”, warning voters could turn to “more socially disruptive ways of expressing their views”.
Both the Tories and Labour have officially ruled out another referendum.
But some MPs on both sides want a vote on the final Brexit deal.
One of the supporters of the People’s Vote campaign, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, said Mr Gardiner was ignoring “the democratic right of the people to change their minds”.
Mr Gardiner, said on Tuesday that while he had campaigned for a Remain vote, there was “more to this than simple economics – there is also the social, the democratic principles at play here”.