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  /  Politics   /  Corbyn’s Brexit policy likely to be challenged at Labour conference
Momentum Puts Pressure on Corbyn

Corbyn’s Brexit policy likely to be challenged at Labour conference

More than 150 constituency Labour parties (CLPs) have been considering mounting a challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit policy at conference this autumn, with an apparent rise in support for a referendum on a final deal among some of his key allies.

A handful of the local parties, some of them in leave-voting constituencies, have already agreed to adopt a motion for a public vote on Theresa May’s deal with an option to remain in the European Union. Others were expected to decide in the coming weeks.

Support for a fresh vote has also been quietly growing in Momentum, the Corbyn-supporting grassroots group which played a crucial role in preventing activists at last year’s conference from getting a vote on the party’s Brexit stance.

Meanwhile, there has been increasing pressure from within the unions, including Unite, to join the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) – whose leader, Manuel Cortes, firmly backs Corbyn – in giving the public a final say.

Some of the Labour leader’s closest political allies, including John McDonnell, were understood to have advised him to leave the prospect of a second referendum “on the table”, although they have said they would prefer a general election.

Senior Labour insiders have expressed concern about the scale of feeling among the party grassroots, and in particular young Labour voters, on the leadership’s opposition to a second referendum on an eventual Brexit deal.

However, Corbyn has repeatedly said that it was not currently Labour policy to back a fresh vote. He said earlier this month: “It’s not our policy to have a second referendum, it’s our policy to respect the result of the referendum.” But when asked to rule it out in all circumstances he has been more equivocal.