Lord Andrew Adonis has urged the Labour party to unite to bring about the option of a second referendum in parliament to break the Brexit “impasse”.
He described Jeremy Corbyn as “not the most wild enthusiast about the European Union", but said the party should campaign for there to be a second vote including an option to Remain.
"Labour would have to campaign to remain in the EU because we would have called [it]," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer on the talkRADIO breakfast show.
"There isn't going to be a second referendum unless Jeremy Corbyn and a united Labour party vote for it, and we'll vote for it on the basis of there being a Remain option."
He went on to say that the Prime Minister's plan was not moving the situation forward. “The strange thing at the moment is nobody can work out what Theresa May’s strategy is,” he said.
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“What she seems to be saying is that she won’t put her deal to a vote in the House of Commons because she knows she’s going to lose it, she is refusing to allow the vote to happen this week, parliament goes off for its Christmas break this Thursday and doesn’t come back until the second week in January.
“By then the clock is really ticking, because we’re leaving the European Union at the end of March.
“She also won’t allow any of the alternatives to get an airing either. The thing about the referendum, is that in a sense, we’ve moved beyond the debate about whether it’s a good thing or not. Nobody has a better idea about how to break this impasse.
“At least putting it back to the people provides a way of resolving it.”
Theresa May 'ostrich-like'
“Everyone I’ve spoken to who wants a second referendum insists that Remain needs to be on the ballot paper,” said Hartley-Brewer.
“A referendum on a deal or no deal, Norway Plus, Canada Plus - that I can understand the argument for.
“But that’s very different from what you want, what Tony Blair wants, what Philip Hammond wants - a vote to force us to Remain.”
Lord Adonis said it was about giving the public “credible choices”.
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“There are three - Theresa May’s deal, staying in the EU which is clearly credible because we’re there, and there may be a credible choice of some harder Brexit,” he said.
“But no one has been able to say how doing that would be compatible with the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.”
He added that he thought the current situation was impacting people’s faith in the political system.
“The point which we keep coming back to, which is why there’s going to be a massive crisis in parliament this week, is that if Theresa May says that can’t happen, what is she proposing to do?” he asked.
“At the moment she seems to be ostrich-like, putting her head in the sand, and hoping some miracle will happen.
“She’s letting the clock run down in the hope we’ll all be forced to vote for her deal because there’s nothing else.
“The public is looking at parliament with real horror, because what they’re going to do is all at stake. This is doing the reputation of politics enormous harm.”