'Labour is just dangling the prospect of a second referendum': Sir Kier and McDonnell dodge questions
PUBLISHED: 15:26 10 March 2019 | UPDATED: 21:48 10 March 2019
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Labour's Keir Starmer and John McDonnell are no clearer on when Labour will table their proposed amendment on a second referendum as Theresa May's punch-drunk Withdrawal Bill goes for another vote.
On Sky’s Sophy Ridge politics show today, Shadow Brexit minister Keir Starmer pointed out the ludicrousness of the Prime Minister putting forward “exactly the same bill” that the government resoundingly rejected on January 15.
READ MORE: Sir Keir: Not one word has been changed in the Withdrawal Agreement
But he was gently grilled by Ridge about the fact that Labour hasn’t yet tabled an amendment to force a second referendum after Labour’s own vision of Brexit was rejected in the Commons.
“It doesn’t mean we won’t come to it,” said Starmer. “Tuesday is about exposing the weakness of the Prime Minister - and then we move on.”
Meanwhile, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told Andrew Marr: “This week we thought this would be the week Theresa May brought back for a meaningful vote a new deal - it doesn’t look like that.
“It looks like the same deal.”
Both Starmer and McDonnell said there would be opportunities for amendments at subsequent votes, such as the no-deal and Article 50 extension votes that are a likelihood this week.
But neither would be pinned down on exactly what amendments Labour would table - including a second referendum.
“And then the week after that, there’ll have to be further votes ... so there’s going to be plenty of opportunities for amendments,” said Starmer, like a parent talking about when ice cream time will be.
He added that a three-month extension to Article 50 would be do-able.
“A cynic would look at what’s happening and say: ‘Labour is just dangling the prospect of a second referendum to satisfy its membership with no intention of actually doing what’s needed to make it happen’,” grumbled Sophy Ridge.