Labour will back moves for another referendum on Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn has announced.
In a statement released just 30 minutes before he was due to meet with his MPs, the Labour leader said his party would either put forward or support an amendment backing another public vote.
Corbyn has been under pressure to adopt such a policy after an attempt to force a general election in January failed when the government survived a vote of no confidence.
Under the terms of a policy agreed by delegates at Labour’s conference last September, the party committed to backing another referendum if a general election could not be secured.
In a statement, Corbyn said he would be tabling an amendment encompassing Labour’s demands for the Brexit negotiation – namely that the UK should enter into a permanent customs union with the EU.
The party will also back a cross-party plan spearheaded by Labour’s Yvette Cooper to force the government to delay Brexit if no deal can be reached by March 12.
It was not clear in the statement if Labour would push for a second referendum on Wednesday, or keep its powder dry until a later date.
Corbyn said: “One way or another, we will do everything in our power to prevent No Deal and oppose a damaging Tory Brexit based on Theresa May’s overwhelmingly rejected deal.
“That’s why, in line with our conference policy, we are committed to also putting forward or supporting an amendment in favour of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country.”
Former Labour MP Angela Smith, who was one of nine MPs to quit the party last week, said she wanted to see more of the detail of what was being offered, but added: “If this is progress, that’s good news.”
Conservative MP Guto Bebb, who resigned as a defence minster last year in protest at what he deemed to be the hardening of May’s Brexit position, said Corbyn’s announcement was “quite significant”.
He suggested the mass resignations from Labour last week “have had an impact already”.