Shadow cabinet members say they will campaign to Remain whatever Labour’s position
PUBLISHED: 13:21 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:11 20 August 2019
Shadow cabinet members including Diane Abbott, Emily Thornberry and John McDonnell say they will campaign for Remain ‘in any fresh referendum’.
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Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour would campaign to Remain if there was a fresh referendum before a general election, but refused to say what his position would be after a general election.
But key members of the shadow cabinet members have been clearer that they will campaign to Remain regardless of circumstances.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told BBC Radio 4 that Remain is the "best choice".
He said: "I've made it clear from my personal position that I'll be campaigning for Remain. I think that's the best choice.
"But people will want to have a say and see whether there is another option. But we've had that debate in Parliament and that's why I've come down in favour of Remain, because I can't see one that will have the same benefits as Remain."
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott also told Today that Remain was the "best option for the country and for my constituents".
She said: "We are, of course... the party's committed to a referendum now and Jeremy's (Corbyn) made that clear, and if there is a referendum and if Remain is on the ballot paper, and there's every expectation it will be, I - like John McDonnell - personally will be campaigning for Remain."
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Corbyn, she said, had sought to keep both wings of the party together, adding that he had "successfully done that so far".
She said: "The party and the shadow cabinet will have to debate this and arrive at a position. Whatever the position is, Jeremy will follow what the party says."
And using the hashtag #SoWillI the shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry quoted tweeted Abbott and added: "And so will I Diane #SoWillI."
Corbyn said if it came to a choice between a no-deal Brexit and backing Remain, Labour would campaign to remain in the EU.
He said: "What we said is, if it is no-deal or Remain, we will campaign for Remain."
He added: "I campaigned for Remain in the referendum in 2016, the result was different. This isn't a re-run of 2016. This would be an opportunity for people to decide, at the end of the day, what they actually want.
"I would hope we would reject no-deal because half of our trade is with the European Union. Many European nationals have made their homes and made a fantastic contribution to our community. Many industries rely on that. Manufacturing, agriculture, education, and so on. Let's be sensible about this."
He added: "Between no-deal and Remain, I will argue for Remain."
Last month Emily Thornberry said that Labour would be "off our bloody rockers" not to back Remain in any circumstance.
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