'Let's get on with it' - Labour frontbencher says People's Vote only option left on Brexit

PUBLISHED: 17:27 27 May 2019 | UPDATED: 18:13 27 May 2019

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Shadow chancellor has joined other Labour frontbenchers in insisting that a People's Vote is now the only option left for the party.

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Speaking to Sky News, John McDonnell admitted Labour was unlikely to secure a general election, and therefore would be pushing on a People's Vote.

He believed there would be some Conservative MPs who also want to bring the decision back to the people, even if they will not support a general election.

He said: "Of course we want a general election, highly unlikely Tories are going to vote for that now after the results last week, turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

"So our only option now is go back to the people in a referendum, and I think that's the position we're in now."

He added: "We might be able to get a majority in parliament to go back to the people... let's get on with it."

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And in a direct appeal to MPs from other parties, he said: "To prevent a no deal whatever political party you are in, join us now, and try to campaign to go back to the people."

Jeremy Corbyn also slightly shifted his position, saying that he wants to see a People's Vote on any Brexit deal, not just a Conservative Brexit deal.

He said: "The deadlock in parliament can now only be broken by the issue going back to the people through a general election or a public vote. We are ready to support a public vote on any deal."

But he did not go as far as John McDonnell in subsequent comments, still referencing his a desire for a general election instead in an email sent by the leader shortly after McDonnell's interview.

Divisions in Labour have been laid bare following the European election results, with Sir Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and Tom Watson calling for the party to rethink its position.

Shadow foreign secretary Thornberry - who was sent onto the BBC to represent her party's position - instead said Labour got a "kicking" because "we went into an election where the most important issue was 'what was our view on leaving the European Union' and we were not clear about it".

Deputy Labour leader Watson said: "Following the disastrous EU election results, Labour urgently needs to re-think its Brexit position and realign with members and voters."

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