Labour Party Leader, Under Pressure, Backs a New Brexit Referendum – The New York Times
Labour failed to bring down the government through a confidence motion last month but has been slow to move toward a second referendum. Mr. Corbyn has been accused of keeping in the background on Brexit, preferring to criticize and oppose Mrs. May’s Brexit plan, rather than stopping it, as long as he can avoid blame for its consequences.
On Monday David Lammy, a lawmaker who favors another referendum, welcomed Mr. Corbyn’s statement backing a second vote.
“This is a big step toward uniting our party and most importantly our country,” he wrote on Twitter. “No Brexit deal meets the fantasy promised in 2016. So the only way any specific form of Brexit can be made legitimate is through ratification in a #PeopleVote which includes the option to remain.”
Richard Corbett, the leader of Labour’s lawmakers in the European Parliament, described the move toward a second vote as a “very important step.”
“Given that we don’t want a catastrophic no deal, we don’t want Theresa May’s disastrous deal, and as it becomes clearer that she won’t go for an alternative deal, the only option left is stopping Brexit via a public vote,” he said.
One analyst said Mr. Corbyn’s shift on the issue was more about internal Labour Party politics than securing a second vote.
“It was always likely Corbyn would edge toward supporting some kind of referendum as the Brexit endgame approached,” said Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham. “But he has not done this in the expectation that the Commons will support a referendum — it won’t. This is him trying to keep a divided party united and shoring up a decline in his poll numbers.”