Labour shadow minister u-turns on a People's Vote after just 48 hours
PUBLISHED: 16:39 18 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:39 18 June 2018
A Labour shadow minister has backtracked on support for a vote on a final Brexit deal just 48 hours after pledging it.
Become a Supporter
Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only continue to grow with your support.
Shadow Northern Ireland minister Stephen Pound filmed a video message on Saturday in which he clearly and unambiguously backed a People's Vote, saying there was a need "to have a cold evaluation".
But today he was forced into a humiliating u-turn, releasing a statement via the party claiming what he had actually been calling for was a meaningful vote for MPs on the withdrawal agreement.
It makes him the latest in a number of Labour shadow ministers who have suggesting supporting a referendum on the deal only to quickly backtrack. It is the party's official policy to oppose any second referendum on Brexit.
In the video message, Mr Pound said: "This decision is not something we can just forget about a week later. This is a decision that is going to affect my grandchildren, their children and every single generation of this country - it is so, so serious that we have to have a cold evaluation.
"This shouldn't be about ludicrous slogans on the side of a bus. This should be about the future of the European ideal - for us and for all future generations. Support a people's vote."
But in a statement issued by Labour today, the Ealing North MP said: "I respect the result of the referendum and fully support the position of Labour's frontbench; the vote I want to see is a meaningful vote in Parliament."
Previous frontbenchers who have supported a People's Vote only to swiftly u-turn include shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who told a constituent in November that she supported a vote before retracting her comments, and shadow international development secretary Preet Gill, who was forced to delete a tweet which stated "a people's vote on the deal is an absolute must".
Eloise Todd, CEO of the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said: "There's nothing for Labour to fear from keeping our country's options open. The Labour Party membership are vastly opposed to Brexit and Labour voters want to stay in the EU by a majority of two to one in most constituencies.
"The sooner the Labour Party official line changes to be open to staying in the EU, the better - the current course of the Government's Brexit puts the country on a terrible collision course."
Mr Pound has previous been met with ridicule after weeping over Big Ben being silenced for four years while repair works were underway. He said: "Brightness has fallen from the air, the sound has gone."
Become a Supporter
Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.Become a supporter