Wednesday 11 September 2019 9:20 am

Tom Watson pushes Labour to back second referendum before election

Labour deputy Tom Watson is set to call on his party to adopt an anti-Brexit stance and focus on securing a fresh referendum before another UK general election.

Watson will warn his party that a snap election sought by Prime Minister Boris Johnson would not resolve the current stalemate in parliament.

Read more: Boris, Brexit and the backstop: What happens next?

He will also say that there is “no such thing as a good Brexit deal”, and that Labour must campaign to remain in the EU.


While Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to hold another Brexit referendum, he has said the party would seek to offer voters a “credible Leave option” if it wins a general election.

Trade union leaders want Corbyn to keep a Leave stance as part of Labour’s election policy, according to the BBC.

PCS union boss Mark Serwotka said it was “only common sense” to back a Leave vote after the UK backed quitting the EU by 52 per cent to 48 per cent in the 2016 referendum.

He added that  Watson’s stance was “irresponsible and not what Labour communities need”.

Watson is set to add that if a referendum cannot be held before a general election, Labour should set out a stall as a pro-Remain party.

“We must unambiguously and unequivocally back remain,” Corbyn’s deputy is set to tell the Creative Industries Federation.

“My experience on the doorstep tells me most of those who’ve deserted us over our Brexit policy did so with deep regret and would greatly prefer to come back,” Watson will say, according to the Mirror.


Labour has so far resisted Johnson’s demands for a snap election.

The party abstained from a vote on the last day of parliament earlier this week to deny Johnson the two-thirds parliamentary majority he needed to hold a general election.

Read more: Ireland’s nomination for EU trade role sees chance of Brexit deal rising

On Brexit, Johnson is now reportedly chasing an “all-Ireland” backstop arrangement to keep Ireland’s common food and agricultural zone after Brexit.

The move is a bid to placate the DUP, as it would not cover taxes and tariffs on trade goods.

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