Will Labour Support a Second Referendum?

Will Labour Support a Second Referendum?




Recent months have seen an increasing number of high profile Labour members have shown support for a second referendum, including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

There certainly isn’t a shortage of support for a second referendum within Labour. A recent poll found that 72% of Labour members would like to see Corbyn promise to support a second referendum on Brexit. Of those Labour supporters, 88% say they would vote for the UK to remain in the EU in a second referendum.

It’s not just Labour members who want a second referendum either. Polls show that a large percentage of the British public are pro-EU (remember 16 million people voted to remain back in 2016). It’s because of this that Labour could really benefit from being able to brand themselves ‘The Official Remain Party’ at a general election. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the strategy Labour plans to use…


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What is Labour’s Position?


Labour as a party is semi-accepting of a second referendum. The parties official policy is that they would consider a second referendum if a general election isn’t called. However, Labour’s leader isn’t exactly sold on the idea of a second referendum.

Corbyn’s current plan is to push for a general election, not a second referendum. Corbyn has repeatedly stated that if May’s deal fails in the House of Commons next week then the deadlock should be broken by a general election instead of another vote on Brexit.

It’s because of this that approach that Corbyn has been facing a lot of pressure from within his own party.  Pro-EU groups like Another Europe Is Possible are currently pushing for him to guarantee a second referendum if Labour gets get into power.

This is a big movement of people. About a third of Labour members say they disagree with the parties’ brexit policies and over half (56%) of those people say it’s an issue which could cause them to leave the party. That might not sound like a big deal but that represents nearly 90,000 loyal party members. The second referendum is a big deal to Labour supporters and losing tens of thousands of members would have a major impact on the parties future electoral success.


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So What are Labour’s Plans for Brexit?


It’s honestly not totally clear what Labour wants out of Brexit. They have published a manifesto for Brexit which lays out some of the key things they’re looking for in a Brexit deal:

  • Continued access to the EU’s customs union
  • The right for EU nations to live and work in the UK, and vice versa
  • The UK staying close to the international research community
  • The continuation of worker’s rights, environmental protection and consumer rights
  • No hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
  • No change in the status or sovereignty of Gibraltar


But this isn’t a real plan. It’s not something you could actually propose to the EU. It might not be the opposition’s job to come up up with a perfect watertight plan, but even still, Labour’s manifesto looks more like a catalogue of dreams than real policy.

To find out more about Labour’s plans for Brexit check out the video we made on the topic.