Labour conference: Corbyn faces showdown over Brexit policy

Mr Corbyn is calling for a neutral Brexit stance

Monday, September 23, 2019

Jeremy Corbyn is facing a showdown at his party’s conference today as members vote on Labour’s position on Brexit.

The opposition leader has called for a neutral position going into a general election – saying that as Prime Minister he would negotiate a new exit deal with the EU and then put that agreement forward to a referendum, along with the option to remain.

However, grassroots activists at the conference in Brighton are opposing Mr Corbyn’s standpoint and calling for the party to campaign to remain in the EU – even if that means rejecting against a deal negotiated by Labour.

In a sign of the party's deep split over Brexit policy, a behind-closed-doors meeting at the conference, which began over the weekend, reportedly failed to agree on a single form of words for a motion at the conference.

Instead separate motions are expected to be put to a vote, one calling for Labour to back remain and another endorsing a policy of neutrality.

Labour's ruling National Executive Committee - pushed by Mr Corbyn - said the party should only decide how to campaign in a referendum at a special conference held after a general election.



WATCH: Lord Andrew Adonis on Labour's Brexit stance

Speaking to talkRADIO'S Julia Hartley-Brewer, former Labour Transport Secretary Lord Andrew Adonis, urged delegates to vote in favour of backing remain.

He said: "I think even if we go for the second option, we will end up campaigning for remain because I don’t think there will be a viable leave option which remotely meets labour objectives."

Menawhile, Andrew Lewin, founder of Remain Labour, said the motion to back remain is “a huge step forward” and Mike Buckley, director of Labour for a Public Vote, said it “reflects the opinion of the vast majority of our members and voters”.

However, Unite union boss Len McCluskey, a key ally of Mr Corbyn, urged the party's senior figures to fall in behind the policy or "step aside".

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