Labour Party is ‘moving closer’ to second referendum says deputy Labour leader

Tom Watson said the Labour Party could be moving in the direction of calling for a second referendum

Tom Watson said the Labour Party could be moving in the direction of calling for a second referendum. Photo: BBC - Credit: Archant

Labour's deputy leader has said that the party is moving in the direction of calling for a second referendum.

Tom Watson suggested that, 'Theresa May is running down the clock' and that the Labour Party is moving closer to supporting a People's Vote.

Speaking on BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show, Watson said: 'I think we're moving in that direction. Conference policy is pretty clear, what we would prefer is that Theresa May aligns around our red lines - gives us closer economic closeness to the European Union.

'But if we can't get that - if we can't get a deal, if we can't get our red lines met - then the conference policy negotiated by Kier Starmer is that we go for a people's vote.

'Negotiations are very difficult, but when Theresa May reaches out and says she wants to try and find a consensus, I think we are duty bound - I think the nation expects us to do that.'


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Watson admitted that the party is in 'crisis' after nine MPs quit last week, eight of them to join the new Independent Group.

He said: 'The departure of our colleagues is a real blow to us.

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'If we're going to be in government, we need to address these concerns.

'I think the situation is so grave that [Corbyn] understands that he needs to make a personal intervention.'

Watson told Andrew Marr that he had received 50 complaints of anti-Semitism from party colleagues this week which he shared with Jeremy.

'I think he needs to take a personal lead on examining those cases and, if necessary, recommend to our NEC what has to be done,' said Watson.

'The test for him as leader is to eradicate anti-Semitism. It is not Labour Party members who will be the judge of that, it is the British Jewish community. I think he understands now that if he is ever to be prime minister he needs to rebuild that trust.'

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