Umunna: Labour should back a People's Vote by Friday

PUBLISHED: 11:49 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:58 15 January 2019

Caroline Lucas, Chuka Umunna and Justin Greening handing in a petition in support of a People's Vote. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

Caroline Lucas, Chuka Umunna and Justin Greening handing in a petition in support of a People's Vote. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, a backer of the People's Vote campaign, has said his party should commit to a People's Vote by the end of this week.

Speaking at College Green, he said he expects a “heavy defeat” for Theresa May’s deal ahead of a vote of no confidence vote.

“It’s probably unlikely that the prime minister will lose that vote of no confidence and therefore we need to move to the next stage in the Labour Party’s confidence motion, and that is to without delay commit to a people’s vote as the way out of this, and to do that by the end of this week,” Umunna said.

“I think undoubtedly the current deal we have as a member of the European Union must be on that ballot paper and some form of hard Brexit that satisfies leave voters on that kind of Brexit.”

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Elsewhere two shadow ministers defied the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to throw their weight behind the idea of a second referendum.

Clive Lewis, a shadow Treasury minister, said that centrists needed to “step aside” from the People’s Vote campaign to now allow Jeremy Corbyn to connect with Leave communities on the matter.

Speaking at an Another Europe Is Possible event, he said: “A public vote is something that the Labour Party should be getting behind and I am here to talk about the preparations we need to start thinking about to make that happen.

“My message to Chuka and to Anna Soubry and the others who have been making the case for a people’s vote is: You have done what you think is right, well done, but if you do get your way, you need to step aside and make way for those who can communicate with the very people that we need to convince.”

MORE: Boothroyd brands Johnson a ‘charlatan’ as she declares support for People’s Vote

He added: “This campaign, if it should fall upon us, for a public vote, it needs to have less Tories, less men, less Londoners, more northerners, more women, more diversity and more of the left.”

Disabled people minister Marsha de Cordova, meanwhile, said she also backed a People’s Vote.

She told the event: “My position on all of this is I would like to see this go back to the public and I ultimately believe we can change hearts and minds.”

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