'Army Of Volunteers' Backing Second Referendum To Target Labour MPs Who Support Chequers

Charities and unions to apply pressure amid reports a Brexit deal is close.
Caroline Flint is among the Labour MPs who has indicated she could vote with the Government on Brexit
Caroline Flint is among the Labour MPs who has indicated she could vote with the Government on Brexit
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Groups campaigning for a second referendum warn they are plotting a massive ground operation against Labour MPs tempted to support Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

HuffPost UK has learned Hope Not Hate, an anti-racism charity, has joined forces with Best for Britain, Another Europe Is Possible and a a string of unions to apply pressure on Labour MPs.

An army of volunteers is planning to door-knock remain supporting postcodes in around 50 Labour seats to ask people to write to their MP.

The campaign will also target up to 25 Tory MPs that could vote against the government when May puts her deal before Parliament.

A campaign source said around 250 people signed up as volunteers after the People’s Vote demonstration saw an estimated 700,000 people march on Westminster last month.

In four weeks of action leading up to Christmas, the campaign will also use targeted Facebook ads, connect with remain-backing businesses and launch a new Final Say app that will make it easier for constituents to contact their MP.

It comes amid reports that a Brexit deal with the EU is close to being struck, with the PM thought to be seeking an agreement based on her Chequers accord – which includes customs arrangement, a common rule book on goods and joint jurisdiction with the European Court of Justice.

Labour MPs Caroline Flint, Lisa Nandy and Gareth Snell have hinted they could vote with the government on Brexit should May secure a strong customs and single market deal with Brussels.

Remain-backing Tory MPs, such as Nicky Morgan and Dominic Grieve could also feel pressure.

Polling which has tracked diminishing support for Brexit in an array of areas will also be used. A source said: “We are going to be targeting those Labour MPs tempted to vote with the Government.

“But with the Tory MPs it is more about bolstering them and making them feel pressure from their own constituents. We want to show them that someone is in their corner, saying: we are behind you and want you to vote down this total shitshow.”

A Momentum consultation on whether the Jeremy Corbyn-supporting organisation should back a re-run of the Brexit referendum is also due to close in the coming weeks.

“The ending of the Momentum consultation should feel like the Sword of Damocles hanging over Labour MPs’ heads,” the source added.

Around 700,000 demonstrators marched on Westminster in support of a so-called people's vote last month
Around 700,000 demonstrators marched on Westminster in support of a so-called people's vote last month

Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope Not Hate, told HuffPost that Brexit is “failing voters” in “some of the poorest constituencies in the UK”.

He added: “From our research it’s clear that people’s views on Brexit have shifted since the 2016 vote, and they want people, not politicians, to have the final say on Brexit.

“Politicians need to understand that public opinion has changed and that’s why Hope Not Hate has joined forces with Best for Britain.

“With the clock ticking we’re really ramping up our efforts by using highly detailed postcode level research that means we can really tailor our message street by street across the UK.

“With the money we could save from staying in the EU we could rebuild our broken communities, invest in our crumbling national infrastructure and properly equip the next generation with the skills and support they need to succeed.

“We will be asking politicians of all parties to make sure they let the biggest decision in a generation be taken by the people.”

Eloise Todd, chief executive of the pro-second referendum group Best for Britain said the campaign was driven “hyper-localised messaging developed by our in-depth research”.

She said: “The only way we can secure a vote is through reaching out to communities the length and breadth of the UK, talking to them about the issues they care about and why the best way out of this Brexit quagmire is through a public vote on the deal, with the option to stay.

“This is crunch time. The time for people across the country to speak up for a final say on the Brexit deal is now.”


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