'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

Keir Starmer and John McDonnell were coy today when talking about Labour's promise to back a second referendum. Picture: Michael Adkins/Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Keir Starmer and John McDonnell were coy today when talking about Labour's promise to back a second referendum. Picture: Michael Adkins/Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Michael Adkins/Jack Taylor/Getty Images

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.

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Here's our pick of the upcoming Remain-focused campaign activities, talks and events nationwide.

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy