Tom Watson Says Labour Can Not Rule Out Backing A Second EU Referendum

Tom Watson has said Labour can not rule out backing a second referendum on EU membership.

The party’s deputy leader said on Sunday it was not “likely” that Labour would push for another vote.

But he told BBC Radio 5′s Pienaar’s Politics “when you are in complex negotiations on behalf the nation you shouldn’t rule anything out”.

“We have not said we want a second referendum. What we actually want is a negotiated settlement,” he added.

Shadow Home Secretary @HackneyAbbott tells @MarrShow that she does not want second #Brexit referendum for electorate #Marr — BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) December 17, 2017
In November, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott told constituents she would “argue for the right of the electorate to vote on any deal that is finally agreed”.

Pressed on whether that meant she backed a second referendum, Abbott told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme it did not.

“The Labour Party does not support a second referred and we’ve never supported it and we don’t support it now,” she said. “We think the electorate should have a say via their elected representatives.”

Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner, asked for a yes or no answer to whether Labour could back a second referendum, told Sky News: “The Labour Party not said we will have second referendum. We will honor the referendum result.”

Questions over Labour’s precise Brexit position came as Theresa May looks set to avoid a humiliating second Commons defeat after a compromise deal was reached within Tory ranks over plans to write the Brexit date in law.

Behind-the-scenes efforts to prevent a revolt appear to have resulted in a situation which will see March 29 2019 written into the government’s Brexit legislation as the prime minister promised, but with flexibility allowing the date to be changed if negotiations with Brussels look set to stretch beyond that date.

Rebels who helped inflict May’s first Commons defeat on Wednesday lined up behind the compromise, which has been put forward by prominent backbenchers on both sides of the EU referendum divide.