The Labour leader is under pressure after Shadow Brexit Secretary Kier Starmer said a second referendum must be part of any exit deal, leaving cross-party talks on the brink of collapse. The Shadow Brexit Secretary warned that “probably 120 if not 150” of the 229 Labour MPs could vote against the deal with the Tory government unless it was linked to a second vote.
The issue of a confirmatory referendum has been an internal battleground within Labour ranks, with Sir Keir and deputy leader Tom Watson pushing for one but shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, also part of the negotiating team, less keen.
Sir Keir highlighted how the party lost 200 lost seats in this month’s council elections, which he said were a sign Labour was losing the trust of Remain as well as Leave voters.
The party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, is also expected to call for a second vote in a speech on Monday.
Mr Watson will reportedly invoke the late Labour leader John Smith, saying the heavyweight would have backed a “people’s vote as a way out of this destructive mess”.
The Sun says Mr Watson will tell the Fabian Society that Mr Smith, who was tipped to become prime minister before his death 25 years ago, saw “anti-EU sentiment” as “wrong-headed”.
The BBC reported that Mr Watson will “plead” with voters to back Labour in next week’s European Parliament elections, despite the party’s Brexit stance.
He will say: “There are only two forces that can win this election – that nasty nationalism of the Farage Brexit Party, or the tolerant, compassionate outward-looking patriotism of the Labour Party.”
Meanwhile, Mr Starmer has warned it is “impossible” to see how an agreement between the Conservatives and Labour could clear the Commons unless it guaranteed the deal would be put back to the public for a “confirmatory vote”.
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8.29am update: May under pressure to follow lead of Brexit Party
Senior Tory ministers including Greg Clark, David Gauke and Amber Rudd are putting pressure on the Prime Minister to move towards Plan B, which is no deal.
A source said: “If we can’t do a deal with Labour we need to throw our weight behind indicative votes.
“How can we campaign against the Brexit Party if their campaign for no deal is our contigency plan. Nothing better sums up the ludicrousness of our situation than that.”
8.10am update: May under pressure to pull out of cross-party talks
The Prime Minister is under pressure by Cabinet ministers to pull out of the talks and move to indicative votes by MPs, according to The Times.
Chancellor Philip Hammond is said to be among those who have lost faith with the plan to strike a cross-party deal, while on Sunday Education Secretary Damian Hinds expressed support for finding a “stable majority” by allowing MPs to vote on different options.
7.58am update: Cross-party talks on brink of collapse as Labour issues warning
Shadow Brexit Secretary Kier Starmer said the Labour Party would have to decide “in the coming days” if it was worth continuing with the talks.
He said: ”I’ve made it clear that at this stage, at this 11th hour, any deal that comes through from this government ought to be subject to the lock of a confirmatory vote.
“If the point of the exercise is to get a sustainable majority, over several weeks or months of delivering on the implementation, you can’t leave a confirmatory vote out of the package.”
Sir Keir signalled that Labour expects movement from the Government this week in order to keep the talks on track, telling the paper it “would be wrong in principle to use up much more time simply exploring each other’s positions”.
He added: “I do think we do probably in the coming days need to make that assessment.”