Labour could end up with TWO Brexit positions as members are set to vote on different motions

PUBLISHED: 08:17 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:50 23 September 2019

Jeremy Corbyn during a walk around the trade stalls at the Labour Party Conference. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire.

Jeremy Corbyn during a walk around the trade stalls at the Labour Party Conference. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire.

Labour could end up with two different Brexit positions as members are asked to vote on a motion that would leave the leadership neutral during any second referendum - while another urges the party to unequivocally back Remain.

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It sets the members up for a clash with the party leadership and trade unions.

The motion backed by Jeremy Corbyn - and backed by 16 votes to 10 on Labour's NEC - urges the party to back a second referendum but to decide the party's position "through a one-day special conference, following the election of a Labour government".

A pro-Remain motion says: "Labour must reflect the overwhelming view of its members and votes, who want to stay in the EU. Labour will therefore campaign energetically for a public vote and to stay in the EU in that referendum, while recognising the rights of those members who want to argue another view."

Laura Parker, Momentum's national coordinator, told the Guardian the decision must be decided at this conference.

"We have to decide at this conference. The one we have come to, the one we have travelled across the country to come to, not at some putative further conference which is presumably in the mythical land with that fucking table with all our options on it," she said.

Both could win the support of the members - meaning the party could end up supporting two contradictory views.

A third added to the mix is similar to the NEC's proposed statement but does not explicitly say that the decision on Labour's position should be postponed to a special conference. It just says Jeremy Corbyn has made the way forward "abundantly clear" by backing a public vote.

John McDonnell denied that Labour is at war over Brexit, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I smiled when you used the language earlier of civil war and revolt but there isn't any war in the Labour Party. It's about honest, democratic debate.

"People have high emotions on this because they feel it's important. But that's not people respecting each other's views as well. I keep saying: do not mistake democracy for division. It isn't - what we're having is an honest debate."

It comes as Emily Thornberry warned that Labour would be "crushed" if it goes into a general election without making a proper decision on its Brexit stance.

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