Labour to push for commons vote on new Brexit referendum

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Labour will push for a new EU referendum when the government brings its Brexit plans to the commons in the coming days.

And shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer insisted that any agreement approved by parliament needed to be put to voters in a referendum and the party would back an amendment calling for one.

The Labour heavyweight told BBC‘s Andrew Marr Show:

We need an amendment to say that whatever deal gets through, it should be subject to a referendum.

We have already voted, I think, three times as a party for a second referendum with a three-line whip behind it.

The position we have adopted is whatever the outcome, whether it’s Boris Johnson’s bad deal or a better one which could be secured, it has got to go to a referendum up against remain.

Read on...

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Asked if Labour could back the government’s deal if it came with the pledge of a new referendum, Starmer said:

Well, we’ll see what that looks like.

What we are trying to achieve is that this deal in particular, but any deal, is put up against Remain in a referendum.

And we will have to see tactically how we get there.

Starmer also said Labour would also push for a customs union explaining:

We have been arguing for a very long time now for a customs union with the EU and for single market alignment.

As Starmer said, the “fight against Boris Johnson’s Brexit is a fight for the future of our country”:


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  • Show Comments
    1. It’s difficult to fathom why any reasonable person inside or outside Parliament would object to a plebiscite for ratifying an agreement reached with the EU for UK withdrawal. Indeed, current shambles is such that the sensible thing to do would be start from scratch with a cascade of advisory referenda, thusly –

      1. Option 1, stay in EU (and perhaps seek reforms) v Option 2 leave/disengage from EU under agreed terms.

      2. If Option 2 above then rank preference for nature of disengagement
      (a) Complete political withdrawal to a timetable of, say, two years.
      (b) Else retain one or more of the following:
      – customs union;
      – free movement of UK and EU nation citizens for residence, work, and recreation;
      – EU trade agreements with other nations;
      – joint policing arrangements;
      – agreements on common work safety, food quality, and environmental standards, with UK having equal say with other EU nations on changes and extensions;
      – UK and EU citizen entitlement to healthcare reciprocal arrangements to stay in place;
      – joint funding arrangements for various scientific and cultural programmes/projects;
      – etc.

      If Referendum 1 leads to Referendum 2, then Referendum 3 to approve agreement reached with the EU.

      From the time when Cameron proposed an EU referendum and up to the present, we have before us the kind of débâcle only ‘professional’ politicians are qualified to conceive. Few members of this, and of many previous governments, would manage not to run a whelk stall on Brighton pier into the ground in weeks. Not all are stupid by any means but ‘professional’ politicians live in constant cognitive dissonance.

      On the one hand, there is logic, critical thinking, and associated skills, all grounded in good general knowledge and sense; admittedly, graduates of the Oxford PPE (and the B.Sc. in Social Sciences from the University of Bradford in the case of Gavin Williamson) may be expected light on those attributes.

      On the other hand, there is the art of getting things done. Representative democracy, and any other form dependent on universal franchise, requires operating in a non-rational realm which nevertheless is not wholly irrational. It contains threads of valid reasoning but these are predicated upon sets of assumptions which differ to the point of being contradictory. It is a realm in which ersatz rhetoric and bombast thrive well. Unfortunately, operating in this manner is a ‘game’; it has its own skills and pig ignorance of reality beyond is no bar to success.

      This ‘non-rational’ mode of thought dominates in ‘professional’ politics because aspirants serve apprenticeship in low level political office e.g. town councils, county councils, regional assemblies, campaign groups, and trades union activities. Mind numbing such that it is hard to grasp how the handful of long serving politicians of real merit (e.g. Wedgwood-Benn, Enoch Powell, Norman Tebbit, and Jeremy Corbyn) stick it out. From the beginning would-be career politicians must climb a greasy pole seeking approbation from those above and votes from people they might rather not give the time of day to. Upon reaching political position conferring authority most shall have lost such capacity for original thought they started out with. Thus the innate tragedy of democratic politics: pandering to lowest common denominator thinking and cultural aspirations. No wonder, cocked-up Brexit along with a host of other disasters such as belligerent foreign policy, almost regardless of party in power, and inept control of NHS resources resulting from desire for headline grabbing ‘reforms’.

      Inefficiency and corruption cannot be purged entirely from politics as currently conducted. However, even under ‘democracy’ there is scope for huge improvement. That rests upon the calibre of people sent to Parliament and on how they decide to bring parliamentary procedures, together with means of engaging with the electorate, into the 21st century.


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