Looks like the Labour party has already backed out of its second referendum promise 8 months ago

Looks like the Labour party has already backed out of its second referendum promise

Jeremy Corbyn made no reference to a second referendum after Theresa May's Brexit deal was defeated

It's beginning to look a lot like the Labour party has abandoned its pledge to pursue a second referendum on membership of the European Union, not two weeks after it became its default position.

On Tuesday evening Theresa May's Brexit deal suffered a second historic defeat in the House of Commons. Already having suffered the ignominy of the largest ever defeat, the prime minister's draft withdrawal agreement was again rejected the second time of asking.

The result of this "meaningful vote": only the fourth largest ever defeat in the democratic era, a margin of 149 votes.

After that outcome, 242 for the deal 391 against, was announced, Theresa May made a statement to the house. She said: "I profoundly regret the decision this house has taken tonight. I continue to believe that the best outcome is the UK leaves the EU with a negotiated deal. The deal we've negotiated is the best and only one available."

The prime minister also said she would give Conservative MPs a free vote tomorrow on whether the House supported leaving the EU without a deal.


It was, however, Jeremy Corbyn's statement that was most revealing. Labour's preferences for resolving the Brexit deadlock have been a general election, their withdrawal proposition and a second referendum - in that order.

After the first two choices proved unachievable, Labour's leadership found itself supporting a second referendum. An uncomfortable position that alienates Leave-voting Labour supporters and is unpalatable to Corbyn as lifelong Eurosceptic.

But when Corbyn stood at the despatch box, he made no reference to a second referendum. Indeed, of the two main party leaders, it was left to Theresa May to do so.

Corbyn said: "The prime minister has run down the clock and the clock has been run out on her.

"It’s time that we have a general election and the people can choose who their government should be."

Indeed, he made little reference to the concept in his earlier speech in the Commons. Only going so far as to say: "If this deal narrowly scrapes through tonight – I don’t think it will – we believe the option should be to go back to the people for a confirmatory vote on it."