Feb. 25 (UPI) — British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Monday his party is prepared to support a second referendum on Britain’s potential withdrawal from the European Union as the country closes in on a deadline to agree on how to separate from the bloc.
Corbyn said that if a vote on the Labor Party’s proposed Brexit deal fails, the party would put forward or support an amendment proposing another public vote on leaving the European Union in order to “prevent a damaging Tory Brexit.”
The Labor Party initially was in favor of remaining in the European Union, but after 51.9 percent of the public voted in favor of leaving, the political party pushed for a Brexit deal that includes key workplace and environmental safeguards, and keeps Britain in the EU’s single market and customs union. The party has been staunchly against a no-deal Brexit and Corbyn said Monday he supports an amendment that would take no deal off the table.
British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative Party seek to remove Britain from the single market and customs union, which complicates the border between Northern Ireland — part of the United Kingdom — and Ireland, a member of the EU. Both sides have argued against a hard border between the two countries.
Last week, nine members of Parliament quit the Labor Party in part because the party in recent weeks has appeared to back away from promise to support another referendum if its deal requirements aren’t met. The MPs also made accusations of anti-Semitism within the party.
Meanwhile, May this week delayed a vote on her party’s final Brexit deal amid plans to travel to Belgium on Tuesday to negotiate terms with the EU.
“We won’t bring a meaningful vote to parliament this week, but we will ensure that that happens by 12 March,” she said. “But it’s still within our grasp to leave the EU by the 29 March and that is what we are planning to do.”
“The prime minister is recklessly running down the clock, in an attempt to force MPs to choose between her botched deal and a disastrous ‘no deal,'” Corbyn said Monday. “Last week, after our visit to talk to EU officials and leaders in Brussels and Madrid, no one can be in any doubt Labor’s alternative Brexit plan is serious and credible. We are convinced our alternative, which puts jobs and living standards first, could command support in the House of Commons, bring people who voted leave and remain together, and be negotiated with the EU.”