Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘hedging’ over Brexit could split Labour, says senior MP
PUBLISHED: 10:22 20 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:35 20 January 2019
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A senior Labour backbencher called for a second referendum and warned the Labour party could split over Jeremy Corbyn’s “hedging” over Brexit.
The warning came after a former Brexit secretary admitted No Deal would come with risks but called on Theresa May to rule out extending Article 50.
David Lammy, who has campaigned for a second referendum to keep the UK from leaving the EU, said there were members of the Labour party so frustruated over Mr Corbyn’s leadership that they could split off and form a new party.
Speaking on Ridge on Sunday on Sky News, Mr Lammy said: “There are a small group in our party that are so frustrated and have so much grievance that the fear is they are going to go off and form another party.
“I think that Jeremy has been hedging, I recognise that he has had a national leadership role and if we went back two and a half years it is absolutely clear the Labour party like the Conservative party was split on this issue.”
Mr Lammy added a second referendum was the only way forward and should become official Labour policy after branding an election “extremely unlikely”.
He said: “You cannot argue that you undermine democracy with more democracy.
“I think we have got an open goal here and I would like the Labour party to go through the door and score the goal. The only way of doing that it seems to me is to get us into a place where we are preparing for that final say referendum.
“We have now seen that the deal has not gone through, that a vote of confidence has not been successful. There is no point continuing with votes of confidence and throwing darts that keep missing the board.”
However, former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, who helped negotiate the Prime Minister’s deal which suffered the biggest defeat in parliamentary history, admitted No Deal will come with short term risks.
He also called on the Theresa May to rule out extending Article 50 as Conservative party chaos over Brexit continues.
Mr Raab admitted there would be short term risk such as shortages in medicines and friction at the border if there was a No Deal Brexit but also claimed leaving on World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs would mean that Brexit would bring “advantages” to the UK.
He also called on Theresa May to rule out extending Article 50 as an “extraordinarily undemocratic thing to do”.
Mr Raad said: ”The advantage of course if we did end up leaving on WTO terms and I said that’s not my preferred outcome, is we’d immediately seize the opportunities and take back control of our laws, our borders, to have an independent free trade policy around the world.
“I think for the public Brexit would be delivered, we could move on.”