DEBATE: Is Labour’s sudden support for second referendum a good political move?
Is Labour’s sudden support for second referendum a good political move?
Finn McRedmond, staff writer at Reaction, says YES.
It is no secret that Jeremy Corbyn is a longstanding eurosceptic. It is also no secret that vast swathes of Labour’s support base are Remainers. So the challenge facing the Labour leadership is this: how do we get Brexit, while looking like we tried to stop it?
Corbyn knows that Theresa May will not commit to the changes that Labour has demanded. But the potential of a second referendum might spook MPs in the European Reform Group and the DUP into supporting May’s deal.
The other options facing these hard Brexiteers involve either a lengthy extension of Article 50, or a messy repeat referendum with the potential consequence of no Brexit at all.
The fall-out of the less-than-perfect deal can then be cast as the Conservatives’ making. Labour can appease its Remain-leaning support base with the narrative that it tried for a second referendum, but the Tories got in the way again.
Corbyn can walk away from the entire mess with what he wants, and with his hands looking at least partially clean.
Brendan Chilton, Labour councillor and general secretary of Labour Leave, says NO.
Labour’s decision to support a second referendum will cost the party dearly in our heartlands and marginal seats.
There is no appetite in the country for another vote. It is a complete U-turn, and breaks a fundamental commitment that Labour made in our manifesto to “accept the outcome of the referendum”.
Labour should be focusing on bringing the country together as one. A second referendum will open up the wounds of the past and divide rather than unite our fractured nation.
Electorally, this move will damage Labour in seats such as Dudley, Ashfield, and Stoke. It is all very well building up mountains of votes in London, but most of the seats we need to win to form the next government voted Leave, as did the majority of our marginal seats.
The decision to support a second referendum places Labour against the wishes of the British people, and essentially hands the keys to Number 10 to the Tories in the next General Election.