Labour's deputy leader walks out of shadow cabinet meeting over European election manifesto

PUBLISHED: 13:29 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:31 30 April 2019

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson addresses the People's Vote March in London. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA.

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson addresses the People's Vote March in London. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Labour's deputy leader walked out of a shadow cabinet meeting because they were not given a copy of the European election manifesto.

Watson, a People's Vote campaigner, had hoped to see an advanced copy of the manifesto before it was put to Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC).

He is one of many pro-EU voices within the party who has been piling on the pressure on leader Jeremy Corbyn to shift his stance on a second referendum before the European elections.

For now, Labour's position is that a public vote is just one of a number of options on the table, in line with its conference policy agreed in September.

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Now Sky News reports that Watson left the gathering of the shadow cabinet when the party leadership decided not to give the team an advanced copy of the election manifesto, as they instead opted to “consult” before agreeing the documentation at the meeting of the NEC.

A source told Sky News that it was “totally pointless and disrespectful to the shadow cabinet.”

Asked about the meeting on Twitter, the politician responded: I politely asked if the shadow cabinet were going to see the draft words and was told 'no'.

“So I left to walk to the NEC where the document will be available and the decision will be made.”

“There was no rancour at all. Everyone was calm.”

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