A group of 26 Labour MPs have told Jeremy Corbyn a commitment to a second referendum risks “driving a wedge” between traditional Labour voters and the party.
The letter, signed by MPs including Sir Kevin Barron, Caroline Flint and Sarah Champion, said embracing a second referendum would give the “populist right an even greater platform” in Labour heartland.
“Labour has a vital role to play fighting for a Brexit for the many, not the few. But this is a battle best fought in stage two, after the UK has left,” they said.
“Rejecting any Brexit in the hope of securing a perfect deal risks the worst outcome - a no-deal Brexit. This would further alienate many who backed Labour in 2017.”
Labour performed poorly in the European election, and achieved a narrow victory over the Brexit Party in the Peterborough by-election.
Today Mr Corbyn told his shadow cabinet a second referendum ballot paper would need to feature “real choices” for Leave and Remain voters.
He has reiterated his belief that any Brexit deal must be put back to the voters, despite the chance of a backlash within his party.
“We have committed to respecting the result of the referendum, and have strongly made the case for an alternative plan for Brexit as the only serious deal that could potentially command the support of the House,” he said.
“It is now right to demand that any deal is put to a public vote. That is in line with our conference policy which agreed a public vote would be an option.”