Corbyn accused of thrawting Brexit People's Vote after refusing backing

PUBLISHED: 15:49 24 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:54 24 January 2019

Jeremy Corbyn winks to a colleague as he attends a political rally event in Hastings. (Photo by Ben STANSALL/AFP)

Jeremy Corbyn winks to a colleague as he attends a political rally event in Hastings. (Photo by Ben STANSALL/AFP)

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Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of aiding a destructive Brexit by thwarting a move that could have led to a People's Vote.

The Labour leader has come under fire from pro-Remain MPs after they dropped plans for a parliamentary amendment calling for a second referendum.

Labour backbenchers Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna, as well as Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston were among those who had backed the cross-party amendment.

But they said that it would not now be tabled, because the Labour leader had made clear he would not support it.

It came after shortly after Corbyn said on a visit to Woverton, Milton Keynes, “I do not want to re-run the 2016 referendum” when asked about whether Labour would back a fresh public vote.

He also suggested that it could not be taken for granted that Labour would endorse another cross-party amendment by former Labour minister Yvette Cooper and Tory Nick Boles that seeks an extension to the Article 50 period beyond March 29.

Berger said the decision not to table a second referendum amendment was down to lack of support from her party leader.

“This is not good enough,” she said.

“Labour should be clearly setting out a different course, not facilitating a job-destroying Brexit.

“The Labour leadership has a really crucial role to play. The clock is ticking and, at this late stage, we appeal to Jeremy Corbyn to do the right thing by the majority of our voters, supporters and members and back a People’s Vote.

“The time for action is now.”

Dr Wollaston said that a People’s Vote amendment could pass with the “unequivocal backing” of the Labour leadership.

She said: “I think that is where we will get to eventually.

“Unfortunately we are rolling ever closer to the edge of a cliff. The time for constructive ambiguity is over.”

But speaking on Thursday on a visit to Wolverton, near Milton Keynes, Corbyn highlighted an amendment he tabled which calls for “the ability to have a vote on any deal that is finally agreed”.

He added: “I do not want to re-run the 2016 referendum.

“Our party conference had a comprehensive motion that was carried and that is what I have put before Parliament [for] next week.”

Asked whether Labour - which has tabled its own amendment - would give official backing to Cooper’s amendment, he added: “We will decide at the time whether we fully support it or not.

“I had a very good meeting, a very useful meeting, with Yvette Cooper yesterday. I understand what she is saying, there is a lot of merit in it. We, as a party, will make a decision.”

Corbyn reiterated his call for the prime minister to remove the threat of a no-deal Brexit, adding: “We are not calling for an extension of Article 50 but quite clearly if Theresa May runs the clock all the way down MPs are going to recognise the dangers of leaving with no deal.”

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