5,000 take part in ‘trust the people’ march and rally outside Labour conference
- Credit: PA
Leading figures from across the Labour Party today joined 5,000 People Vote supporters for a march that passed conference in Brighton.
Speakers included shadow cabinet ministers Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry, and Labour MPs including Clive Lewis, Phil Wilson, Peter Kyle, as well as local Green MP Caroline Lucas.
While the party's position on Brexit and a People's Vote has shifted since the last conference, campaigners are calling on Jeremy Corbyn to provide unequivocal support for the Remain cause.
It came as a leading figure in Momentum tried to oust deputy leader Tom Watson for "disloyalty" to the leader in his calls for the party to go further to stop Brexit.
The march began at the Level, in Brighton town centre, and made its way through the city's streets to a rally on the seafront at Hove Lawns.
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Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said that, like the Labour Party, his position on a People's Vote had changed over the past year before declaring that his values meant he would always campaign for the UK to stay in the EU.
"I've been talking about a public vote for some time. But this is my first People's Vote rally and march. I have to admit I was not sure last year that a referendum was the right way out. But now I'm utterly convinced it is the only way out. We have three years to sort this out in Parliament and we can't. It now has to go back to the people.
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"Whether it is this government or the next it has to go back to the people, with a basic question: do you want to leave the EU or Remain. And when that time comes, I will campaign for Remain along with millions of other people in this country.
"That's because, for us, it's not just a technical question about whether we want to be in or out. It's about what kind of country we want to be. We're internationalists, we're outward-looking, we believe in co-operating across borders. Those are our values."
Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, said there was no doubt that Labour would not only campaign for Remain but also took aim at critics who have suggested support for a final say referendum made her disloyal to the current Labour leadership.
"We believe in internationalism. We believe in socialism. And if we believe in internationalism and socialism, why on earth would we back Brexit? Especially a Boris Johnson Brexit. Of course, we're not going to agree to that.
"Whatever terms are agreed by whatever government, we must make sure there is a new referendum, that Remain in on the ballot paper, that Labour campaigns to Remain - and not only that - we must make sure we lead the campaign for Remain.
"When people take this position that we hate Brexit, that we want to reform and remain in the EU, don't let anyone question our commitment to socialism and our loyalty to Jeremy Corbyn."
Campaigners are preparing for another showdown over Brexit as they call for Labour to go further in opposition to the government's plans to take the UK out of the EU.
They have said they are not willing to accept a "fudge" this year. It comes after Jo Swinson pledged to revoke Article 50 if the Lib Dems are elected with a majority.
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