Labour’s top team is once again at odds over Brexit, with frontbencher Sir Keir Starmer contradicting his leader’s claim the decision to leave the EU cannot be reversed.
Speaking on Monday morning, the Shadow Brexit secretary said: “Brexit can be stopped – but the real question is what are the decisions we are going to face over the next few weeks and months.”
His claim the process can be “stopped” goes against the words of Jeremy Corbyn, who told the German media on Friday Brexit would indeed take place.
Speaking to Der Spiegel, the Labour leader said: "We can’t stop it. The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered.
“What we can do is recognise the reasons why people voted leave. The issue now has to be how we bring people together.”
The split at the very top of the party marks the end of an uneasy truce on the Brexit issue which seemed to have been crafted at Labour’s conference in September.
Delegates backed a motion to keep all options open if the deal Theresa May strikes with Brussels does not meet Labour’s six tests for a successful Brexit.
That would include backing another referendum on the UK’s relationship with Brussels if the government cannot be forced to trigger a general election.
Speaking on Sunday, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry repeated the conference resolution in a bid to diffuse the row that the Labour leadership would not stop Brexit.
She said: “If we don’t have a general election then yes, of course, all the options remain on the table and we would campaign for there to be a people’s vote. There are several stages before we get there.”
Sir Keir's words came just hours before former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown dialled up the pressure on Labour to wholeheartedly back another referendum.
Speaking at an Institute for Government event in central London, Brown said: “I for one have always said that I think there will be a second referendum. I believe that, in the end, the situation will have been seen to have changed since 2016 and that the people should, in the end, have the final say."