Published: Mon, September 24, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Brexit: Labour conference vote wording agreed

Brexit: Labour conference vote wording agreed

At a public event at the conference, Labour MP Bridget Phillipson from Sunderland in England's north said despite nearly two-thirds of her electorate voting for Brexit she was campaigning for a "People's Vote". But it's far from guaranteed that a firm policy on the matter will emerge over the next few days.

T-shirts promoting a pro-Corbyn, anti-Brexit stance is seen on sale outside the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, north west England on September 23, 2018, the official opening day of the annual Labour Party Conference.

Liverpool is a Labour heartland and voted overwhelming for Corbyn's part in the general election a year ago.

More than 100 local Labour associations have submitted motions to the conference urging a public plebiscite, with a choice between leaving on terms agreed upon by the government or staying in the EU.

Labour's conference starts today as a YouGov poll revealed 86% of members want a second referendum on the United Kingdom leaving the EU.

Corbyn wanted his conference to be an opportunity to sell his alternative vision for Britain's economy, pressing his argument for the renationalisation of rail, mail and utilities, and to rally the party for a possible early election.

Corbyn said on Sunday he would "adhere" to whatever came out of conference, although he would prefer to hold a general election instead.

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA union, told the crowd that he supported Mr Corbyn, and said: "If there is one thing I know about Jeremy Corbyn it's that he respects democracy".

But the wording, decided after a five-hour compositing meeting, reads: "If we can not get a general election, Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote".

Corbyn - a veteran socialist who views the European Union with suspicion - has always been against holding a second public vote on Brexit, although his opposition appears to be softening.

Two senior members of May's Downing Street team reportedly responded to last weeks stall in negotiations on Britain's European Union exit deal by making a contingency plan to save Brexit and consolidate Theresa May's position as prime minister.

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But counter-protester Les Thomas, a self-described socialist, highlighted Corbyn's quandary, saying "the working class people I know, they've joined the Labour party but are firmly in the Brexit camp".

Labour will vote on a Brexit motion which will put a second referendum behind a call for a general election.

Corbyn will likely stick to his tried-and-tested method when he delivers his keynote speech on Wednesday, according to experts, prioritizing efforts to bring down the government rather than trying to stop Brexit.

British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn appeared on the BB'C's Andrew Marr Show this morning and said he hoped there would be a general election soon.

Deputy leader Tom Watson was even firmer.

They also chanted "Hey Jeremy, take a note, for the many, People's Vote".

The aides say another general election is "the only way" to save Mrs May's premiership.

Fellow MP Ruth Smeeth added: "I can't believe we ended up here but we will win this fight".

These centrist MPs now find themselves on the sidelines and battling for their political lives in the face of aggressive attempts by Corbyn's supporters to de-select them, another issue that could raise tensions during conference.

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