Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry has said her Labour Party should pledge to delay Brexit by extending the Article 50 period, giving negotiators more time to strike a deal and avert a potentially calamitous no-deal scenario, while still honoring the result of the 2016 referendum.
In a snap general election, Labour’s Brexit policy will be a key element of its manifesto, and some campaigners and politicians have urged Jeremy Corbyn to back a second referendum, with polls suggesting this would give his party the lead in enough marginal constituencies to obtain a majority in the House of Commons.
Sharing her thoughts on what approach Labour should take, Thornberry expressed her opposition to allowing a fresh vote to go ahead, saying they should abide by the result of the 2016 referendum, which saw the UK narrowly vote in favor of leaving the EU.
"In our manifesto we should say we will abide by the result of the referendum, we cannot obviously leave in current circumstances, we need to extend Article 50 and – let me pre-empt your next question – I don’t know how long that would take," the shadow foreign secretary said at a fringe meeting on Tuesday.
Earlier, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said Labour is not "ruling out" an option that would see Britain remain in the union.
Although Brussels is believed to be open to delaying Brexit, it needs the approval of all 27 member states to grant such an extension.
Prior to the Salzburg summit, UK Prime Minister Theresa May insisted that there are only two options on the table: her Chequers plan, or a no-deal Brexit.
However, after the EU outright rejected her proposals, she has not explicitly stated the third option, though on Tuesday she said crashing out of the bloc without a deal would be better than a Canada-style trade arrangement.