The general secretary of Labour Leave has warned the party against supporting a second referendum, saying such a move would alienate working class voters.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell hinted on Wednesday that the party would “consider” pushing for a second Brexit vote, and at the annual conference earlier this year, the party supported the prospect, despite Jeremy Corbyn himself not endorsing it.
But Brendan Chilton told Julia Hartley-Brewer that it could be an electoral mistake.
“If the Labour party goes down the road of supporting a second referendum, it will lose the support of millions of Brexit voters and it will cease to be the party of labour, it’ll be the party of capital,” he said.
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“[If that happens] frankly, we can kiss goodbye to the next general election because the anger out there in working class communities is simmering.
“If we have a situation where the parliamentary party ignores their wishes, I think that would be pretty devastating for Labour.”
Brexit deal 'disaster'
Mr Chilton appeard on talkRADIO as Theresa May headed to Argentina for the G20 summit. Speaking to reporters from on board the plane to Buenos Aires, the Prime Minister reiterated her confidence in her Brexit deal and ruled out the possibility of a Canada or Norway-style deal - which is preferred by some Brexiteers.
“I’ve been very clear about my position, we won’t be in the customs union What you see in the political declaration is what would be a deal for the United Kingdom that is not Norway, it is not Canada, it is a more ambitious free trade agreement than Canada, and it ends free movement – which Norway doesn’t do,” she said.
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There will be a ‘meaningful vote’ on the deal on December 11. The DUP, which currently lends its support to the Conservatives, has said it will vote against it, while Labour and the SNP will whip against the draft agreement.
The Telegraph reported on Friday that 100 MPs have confirmed they will vote against the deal, while the Spectator has the list at 101.
“I spoke to a lot of cabinet ministers at a bash the other night, and none of them think it’s going to go through,” said Hartley-Brewer. “What is the point of the vote?”
“It is a bit like the charge of the light brigade, going full steam ahead knowing it’s going to lead to absolute disaster,” said Mr Chilton.
If there is a majority vote against the deal, he added, “there’ll be some aesthetic tinkering, some sort of emergency meeting in Brussels and one or two tweaks here and there, then she’ll come back and it’ll be sold as a great triumph for her.
“Then the pressure will pile on MPs to vote for it as we get closer to the March deadline.”