Jeremy Corbyn used two interviews this morning to once again reject demands that he throw his weight behind calls for a second EU referendum.
On the Sunday shows for the Conservatives today, Business Secretary Greg Clark suggested the Brexit transition period could be extended beyond 2021 and told his Cabinet colleagues to act “professional” amid furious rows.
Corbyn was out of the country last weekend and missed the People’s Vote March against Brexit. However speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Politics it seemed clear he would not have attended had he been in London.
“I was always planning to visit refugee camps in Jordan. And it’s not our policy to have a second referendum, it’s our policy to respect the result of the referendum,” he said.
In an earlier interview with Ridge on Sunday on Sky News, he said much the same thing. “We don’t see a second referendum as on our agenda,” he said.
Asked to rule it out, the Labour leader did leave a bit of wiggle room. “We are not supporting a second referendum,” he said. As always when asked this question, note the present tense in his answer.
It comes after 57% of members of the Unite union, Labour’s biggest financial supporter, said they backed another vote - compared to just 30% against.
Barry Gardiner stuck to the party line on Pienaar’s Politics on BBC Radio 5 Live. Labour’s Shadow International Trade Secretary said while he campaigned for ‘Remain’, the pro-EU side had to accept defeat.
“We lost that argument,” he said. “One of the fundamental things about democracy is that when you lose the vote, particularly when it’s a vote as overwhelming as that was, you have to accept it.”
The senior government figure on the morning shows was Business Secretary Greg Clark.
Speaking to Ridge on Sunday on Sky News, he interestingly suggested the Brexit transition period could be extended. “Any reasonable person would have to be guided by the facts and the evidence,” he said.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox last Sunday hinted at the same.
Ahead of Friday’s crunch Cabinet meeting at Chequers amid intense internal-arguments, Clark also took a swipe at Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson for their attacks on business. “I very strongly disagree with those statements,” he said.
“It is perfectly reasonable for business, just as anyone else in the country, to set out their views.”
He added: “I think its important to respect the discipline of being part of a team to take a professional approach.
“I think the collective responsibility that we have is there for a reason,”
Chequers should be fun.
Over on Marr, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire acknowledged there are, to put it mildly, “strong views on either side” in the Cabinet over what Brexit deal to pursue.
“But equally I remain confident that we will come out from that meeting with that clear direction, the White Paper that will follow, and actually setting out our vision for our future with our EU partners,” he told Marr.
In his two interviews, Corbyn was also asked about a range of other policy areas.
On cannabis, the Labour leader told Sky News he thought “criminalising” people for possession of small amounts of cannabis was “not a good idea”. But he said the health impact of taking the drug had to be looked at before any move to decriminalising it across the board. “No drug is without consequences,” he said.
On prostitution, he said women who work in prostitution should not be criminalised. “I do think there are women who are being criminalised because they have been into prostitution and grotesquely exploited. They aren’t criminals, they are victims,” he said.
On the World Cup, the Arsenal fan told Sky News “football is poetry”. And he told the BBC while “anybody can win the World Cup” it was “going to be very hard to see” England winning.
But he added: “Let’s be hopeful.”