Two Labour MPs want another referendum on the Brexit deal with the EU

Jasper Jolly
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Labour Party Conference - Day Two
Clive Lewis was formerly shadow business secretary (Source: Getty)

Two former members of Labour's shadow cabinet say they want to offer the British public a referendum vote on the deal the government reaches with the EU.

Clive Lewis and Rachel Maskell wrote that voters should be "given the choice of which direction their country takes, once our alternatives can be clearly seen", in a joint article in the Guardian.

The MPs said the General Election on 8 June does not offer the public sufficient chance to express democratic approval because the terms of the final deal will not be known by then.

Read more: Corbyn slams the brakes on second referendum speculation

Both MPs, who represent the Remain-voting constituencies Norwich South and York Central, resigned from Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet after saying they could not vote through an unamended bill granting Prime Minister Theresa May the authority to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, formally starting the Brexit process.

Maskell and Lewis, one of the favourites to be the next leader of the Labour party, were close allies of the Labour leader before their resignations.

Corbyn imposed a three-line whip, the strongest form of order, for the Article 50 vote, angering some MPs on his own benches who believed the government should be forced to let Parliament have a say on the final deal.

Read more: Nick Clegg still wants a second referendum...

Since then May has pointed to the opposition from other political parties as the driving factor behind her decision to announce the General Election, saying it will give her a mandate from the people for her approach to Brexit as well as strengthening her hand in negotiations.

The Liberal Democrat party is committed to offering the public a referendum on the final deal reached by the next government, but Labour's leadership has ruled out the possibility after Corbyn at first did not answer a question on the issue.

However, Lewis and Maskell said the public has a right to vote on the deal, saying "thousands of jobs and livelihoods will be jeopardised by the course Theresa May and her crew seem to be setting".

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