Senior Labour Party figure, John Mcdonnell, has said that he agrees with the claim made by a fellow Labour pier that a second vote on Brexit could lead to “social unrest” but that no options are being taken off the table.
While partaking in an interview for BBC Radio on Friday August 24, Mcdonnell echoed Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, that any efforts to backtrack on the Brexit referendum of 2016 could strengthen the political hand of the far right, warning that, “Barry [Gardiner] was right: we have to be extremely careful. A number of us now are worried about the rise of the far right in this country, and elsewhere, and what we mustn’t do is open up any opportunities to the far right exploiting this issue.”
It was on Tuesday that Mr Gardiner cautioned about a fresh referendum, saying that it could exacerbate the social divisions that have already come to characterise the face of post-2016 British politics.
“You never give as much succour to the extreme right as when you cut off the mechanism of democratic change,” Gardiner opined.
Yet, far from all of the Labour cabinet share Mr Gardiner’s sentiment. In fact, the shadow Brexit secretary himself, Sir Keir Starmer, reiterated his position this week that a second referendum is possible, declaring that “all options should be on the table.”
In what appeared to be an attempt at striking a balancing act between his colleagues Mr Gardiner and Mr Starmer, Mcdonnell said in his BBC interview that, “It is not Labour party policy to have another referendum. We respect the past referendum, But we recognise that, when the government comes forward with its proposals – if it does, I’m worried we might be in a no deal situation – but when the government comes forward with its proposals, parliament will decide the next step. So we’re not taking any options off the table when that debate happens.