Campaign group ‘The People’s Vote’ is planning to lobby Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour to change its stance on Brexit at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool next month.
The pro-EU group wants Labour MPs to put forward a motion at the conference that will call for a public referendum on the UK’s withdrawal agreement with Brussels before March 2019, according to the Express.
As it stands, the Labour party’s position on Brexit has appeared to many as rather ambivalent.
While it maintains a policy of respecting the result of the original Brexit referendum, a number of senior figures have suggested that a second vote could be a possibility.
Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has said that “we’re not talking any options off the table.” That sentiment was also echoed by the party’s shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, who has said that the option of a second referendum should be “on the table” if a strong Brexit deal is not agreed on by parliament.
A leaked memo belonging to The People’s Vote asserts that the campaigners are not trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership by calling for change in his government’s stance on Brexit.
“Whatever views people have about the overall direction of the Labour Party, this campaign is not about Jeremy Corbyn and we must not — will not — use it to damage or undermine the party's leadership or attack them personally,” the memo reads.
It adds that the group “believes that if the government's proposed deal is unsatisfactory then the people should be allowed to express their view in a public vote on Brexit. The Labour movement can then unite behind Jeremy Corbyn's determination to fight the Tories on a hard Brexit”
The memo was penned by Tom Baldwin, a former adviser to Jeremy Corbyn’s predecessor, Ed Milliband when he was Labour leader, and notes “real signs of movement” among labour’s frontbench on the issue of a second referendum. Baldwin says that this gradual sea change is something to be “supported and encouraged.”
"Our movement, our campaign, contains people from Momentum and it contains people who've just resigned from Theresa May's cabinet — it's a broad, broad, broad campaign and people who use Brexit as a stick with which to beat Jeremy Corbyn are not serving our purposes,” Baldwin adds.
Yet, it is more than likely that not everyone will agree with Mr Baldwin’s statements. Opponents of a second referendum argue that it would undermine the legitimately democratic vote that was held in June 2016 on whether or not the UK should exit the EU.
On the other hand, campaign groups like The People’s Vote will continue to assert that while people casted their vote for a Brexit, democracy dictates that a final vote be held on the final deal’s terms.
According to a survey carried out by YouGov for the Times newspaper at the end of July, of 1,653 adults asked whether there should be a referendum on the final terms of the Brexit deal, 42% said yes while 40% said no. The remaining people said that they were unsure.