Labour Party is 'moving closer' to second referendum says deputy Labour leader

PUBLISHED: 13:52 24 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:52 24 February 2019

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

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

Archant

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

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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.”

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.

“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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