Second Brexit referendum only 'in extremis', says shadow chancellor

PUBLISHED: 15:30 17 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:31 17 February 2019

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said that a second referendum should only be sought 'in extremis'. Picture: BBC

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said that a second referendum should only be sought 'in extremis'. Picture: BBC

BBC

Shadow chancellor John McDonell said he agreed with the view today that a second referendum should only be held 'in extremis'.

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McDonnell once again plodded viewers of the Andrew Marr show through Labour’s labyrinthine conditions for calling the second referendum that 72 per cent of its voters want.

If the Brexit deal doesn’t meet Labour’s conditions such as not hurting jobs and the economy, Labour will call for a general election, and if they can’t have that, “the option on the table will be to go back to the people”, said McDonnell, as though he had all the time in the world and a general election had not already been quashed.

“I’m getting bored of this table,” said Marr, “It’s always on the table and it’s now quite close to the time we have to take a decision.”

Reflecting on anti-referendum comments by Len McClusky, he said it was right that a second referendum should only be held “in extremis; if you can’t get a deal agreed through parliament, or if any deal you thought wasn’t going to protect jobs and the economy.”

Accused of running down the clock because his party’s leadership doesn’t really want a second referendum, McDonnell replied: “That’s not the case because for the last few years we’ve been saying to the Prime Minister, pick up the phone and talk to us.

“That hasn’t happened until the last fortnight.”

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