Change UK tells first party rally 'Labour will never oppose Brexit'

PUBLISHED: 15:40 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:42 30 April 2019

Chuka Umunna speaks during a Change UK rally at Church House in Westminster, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 30, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Chuka Umunna speaks during a Change UK rally at Church House in Westminster, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 30, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Change UK has held its first campaign rally in London claiming that Labour will "never" oppose Brexit, and that Remain voters shouldn't be fooled by the party's "contortions".

Spokesman MP Chuka Umunna urged voters not to endorse Labour's “prevarication” on Brexit at the ballot box.

“Vote for Change UK,” he said. “Or at the very least, if you haven't made up your mind what you will do at the next general election, lend us your vote in these European elections.

“The better we do, the more likely you are to see the Labour leadership adopt a People's Vote and Remain position.”

Former Labour MP Mike Gapes said the party will never oppose Britain leaving the EU.

Gapes, who joined Change UK, said Jeremy Corbyn had voted against membership of Europe in the 1975 referendum and had “kept the faith” ever since.

“Jeremy Corbyn and those he has appointed around him like [communications director] Seumas Milne have never wanted to stop Brexit,” he told the rally.

“Corbyn whipped Labour MPs to vote for Article 50, he whipped Labour MPs not to support a People's Vote.

“Whatever contortions and forms of words they come up with today, it is clear that large, influential parts of the Labour leadership will not oppose Brexit.”

According to YouGov, Change UK has a challenge persuading voters of its anti-Brexit credentials.

In a recent poll, respondents deemed Labour to be more pro-EU than Change UK by 4%.

MORE: Labour seen as more anti-Brexit than Change UK, says poll

The party came under criticism from journalists at the rally, who tweeted that questions were only taken from activists and supporters, but not from the press.

“At the Change UK rally/press conference there has been time for about a dozen questions but *none* of the people picked have been from the media,” tweeted Guardian political correspondent Peter Walker.

“All activists/candidates. I guess it's one way to avoid tricky questions.”

Business Insider's Adam Bienkov tweeted the same complaint.

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