POLITICS
20/09/2019 22:00 BST

People's Vote Backers Will Try To Amend Boris Johnson's Brexit Deal

Labour MPs revive plans for "Kyle-Wilson" amendment for a "confirmatory" referendum, setting up a parliamentary showdown in October.

Second referendum supporters will push for a parliamentary showdown with Boris Johnson next month to make any Brexit deal he brings back from Brussels subject to a “confirmatory” public vote.

Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson will announce at a People’s Vote rally on Saturday that they will revive their “Kyle-Wilson” plan to try and force a second Brexit referendum.

If MPs back the proposal it will pit the prime minister’s deal as a “credible” Leave option versus Remain in a referendum designed to settle the Brexit crisis once and for all.

People’s Vote sources admit this would mean another delay to Brexit and Johnson being forced to break his pledge to take Britain out of the EU “do or die” on October 31.

A similar plan was first proposed as an amendment to Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, to break the Brexit impasse by getting opposition MPs to back the deal in return for a referendum. 

But the plan never came to fruition.

SIPA USA/PA Images

The revival of the Kyle-Wilson plan will put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn now that he has committed to a People’s Vote on any Brexit outcome.

Corbyn’s desire is to hold a general election first to give him the chance to negotiate his own Brexit deal before putting it to the people.

But the Kyle-Wilson plan is likely to be supported by Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who wants a referendum before an election. 

It would mean giving conditional backing for Johnson’s deal in return for a public vote.

A People’s Vote source stressed: “No Labour MP should vote for what we believe to be frankly a right-wing agenda.

“That said, a confirmatory ballot is different, because you’re saying what we’ve always said, which is saying to voters: You can see what Brexit actually is – in our view a pretty hard Brexit and nothing like what was promised in 2016 – but if you want that, you are the people, that’s your prerogative.”

Kyle said: “Our proposal secured the most votes (280) of any in the previous indicative votes process in parliament, whilst falling short of a majority. 

“But the Brexit crisis has moved on since then, and now all opposition parties support a confirmatory referendum as a solution, as do a large and growing number of Conservative and Independent MPs, including several former ministers.

“No one can trust Boris Johnson to solve this Brexit crisis either with no deal or a deal. 

“If he tries to force his vision for a destructive Brexit through parliament, we will seek to amend it so that it can only proceed if the people get the chance to have the final say.”

Wilson added: “If Boris Johnson is so confident that his version of Brexit is what the people want, he should have the confidence of his convictions and let the people be the ones to decide.

“A confirmatory referendum also has the advantage over other democratic solutions, because it would provide a clear answer to the Brexit question. A general election, for example, runs the risk of confusing the issue further and merely prolonging the crisis. Holding a confirmatory referendum will answer the question once and for all – where do the public want the country to go on Brexit?”