POLITICS
06/11/2018 20:10 GMT

Pressure On Jeremy Corbyn As Momentum Members Back Second Brexit Referendum

"We will not be ignored,” Labour leader told.

Associated Press
Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn faces fresh pressure to get behind a second Brexit referendum after a poll of Momentum members found a majority back the idea.

Just 17% oppose a so-called ‘people’s vote’ while 52% want Labour to push a re-run either in all circumstances or if no general election is called. 

The consultation by Momentum - created to support Corbyn’s leadership - also found a staggering 92% of members want Labour MPs to vote down Theresa May’s deal, 89% think a no-deal Brexit should be rejected entirely and that 82% see Brexit as likely to make things worse for them. 

Labour’s current position is to vote down the deal if it fails to meet the party’s key “six tests” and then demand a general election. Then, if no general election is called, the party says “all options” remain on the table, including backing a second referendum. 

6,500 Momentum members took part in the Brexit consultation

But many of Labour’s pro-remain members want the party to firm up its position and actively campaign for a second vote. 

Alena Ivanova, the east London Momentum activist who started the campaign for a consultation on the issue, said: “These results should finally put to bed the idea that Brexit is just an issue for Corbyn’s opponents. We - the overwhelming majority of Momentum members, and Labour members - back Jeremy Corbyn and want to fight Tory Brexit.

“We are the people who deliver the leaflets, fill rooms and who will put Jeremy into Number 10, and we will not be ignored.”

It comes after some Labour MPs, such as Lisa Nandy and Caroline Flint, have indicated they may be tempted to vote for a deal should May secure terms that protect jobs.

Becky Boumelha, a Momentum spokeswoman, said: “It is not in the national interest to slip through the back door a Tory Brexit that will destroy our communities and crash the economy. Propping up a destructive Tory deal will be kryptonite to Labour members, and any Labour MP who votes with the government will have a hard time explaining themselves back in their constituencies.”  

PA Archive/PA Images
Manuel Cortes, of the TSSA union

The poll of 6,500 members comes after a vote on the Customs Bill in July, when three Labour MPs supported the Government, allowing the Prime Minister to avoid the prospect of a general election. 

The TSSA union, which has come out strongly against Brexit and for a second referendum, has called on Corbyn to take note of the poll.

General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Labour MPs are well aware of the party’s six tests, and if these are not met in full then they know they’d be voting for a deal which would hurt their own constituents.” 

He added: “There is a clear view among members that a popluar vote is needed on the terms of any deal the Tory Prime Minister cobbles together.  

“This is hardly surprising given the dogs’ breakfast the Tories have made of Brexit, but it’s better to listen and learn, and look before we leap.” 

Michael Chessum, national organiser for Another Europe is Possible, added: 
“The evidence can no longer be ignored - the activist base of the Labour left is overwhelmingly in favour of a fresh referendum if no general election can happen.

“The most popular option on the survey was for a referendum ‘in all circumstances’, which is an incredibly strongly worded option.”