Corbyn to consult on Brexit policy to delay decision until September

PUBLISHED: 09:27 28 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:32 28 May 2019

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Rebecca Long Bailey during a visit to Salford, as they highlight the party's plans to tackle climate change and fuel poverty. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 16, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Labour. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Rebecca Long Bailey during a visit to Salford, as they highlight the party's plans to tackle climate change and fuel poverty. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 16, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Labour. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn looks set to the kick the can down the road on Brexit policy by holding a consultation with members that could last until September.

While frontbenchers in his party are calling for Labour to be clearer in unequivocal support for a People's Vote following the European elections, the party's leader looks less keen to make an immediate change in policy.

Instead the party looks set to consult the membership on Brexit policy, which could last until the next conference in September.

This would mean any significant changes to Labour's perspective on Brexit would only come weeks before the next Brexit deadline of October 31st.

It would also mean Jeremy Corbyn may only shift his view on party policy as the country again faces a no-deal Brexit.

The move has angered a number of Labour MPs who are calling for urgent action from the leadership.

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"The end of September is too late to change course, it could be only a month from no deal," one told the Financial Times. "The membership are up in arms already. That would enrage them further."

Deputy leader Tom Watson told the BBC: "I'm really pleased that Jeremy has now signalled that change is happening.

"My concern is the speed in which that happens. It's too late to consult our members and change the policy at conference. We need to do it sooner.

"And that's why we either need a special conference or a ballot of our members to change the policy.

"Because a very small number of people on our NEC decided that European manifesto and it was quite clearly an electoral catastrophe for Labour. And we can't allow that to happen again."

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott appeared to support the calls.

She said: "I think we've probably got to move quickly because things are so uncertain."
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said that a People's Vote is now the "only option" for Labour, as a general election to Tory MPs would be like "turkeys voting for Christmas."

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