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Backing a second referendum before an election 'hands the next 10 years to the right,' LeFT campaign warns

LABOUR backing a “confirmatory vote” on a Tory Brexit deal would “hand the next 10 years to the right,” the Leave Fight Transform (LeFT) campaign warned today.

And MP Laura Smith said Labour would be foolish to “push the country into a divisive second referendum while offering nothing to those opposed to EU membership.”

Jeremy Corbyn yesterday “cautioned” Labour MPs against backing a new referendum on a deal Boris Johnson might put to Parliament — distancing himself from shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, who said on Saturday: “If Boris Johnson does manage to negotiate a deal, then we will insist that it is put back to the people.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry have also backed a second referendum ahead of an election, contrary to party policy.

But Mr Corbyn said on Sky’s Sophy Ridge that Labour in government would seek to negotiate its own exit deal.

“Within three months we would hope to reach agreement with the EU ... along the lines we’ve set out,” he said.

Crewe and Nantwich MP Ms Smith said it was “vital we provide a voice for those who want to leave the EU but don’t want to support Johnson and the Tory race to the bottom. Labour can be a vehicle for change and a beacon of hope for held-back communities – but we cannot afford to alienate swathes of working-class people.”

Shadow cabinet member Jon Trickett said he would like to campaign for ‘a Labour Brexit’ in any second referendum, and that Labour had to offer a Labour-negotiated exit deal to its Leave-voting supporters.

LeFT spokesman Paul O’Connell said Labour had already been manoeuvred away from respecting the 2016 referendum result.

“Now these same factions are pressing the leadership to prioritise a referendum over a general election and getting a Labour government.”

But “if Labour continues its slide towards being a party of Remain it sets its face against the biggest democratic vote in our history.”

And he branded bids to capture Lib Dem votes by embracing Remain “only tenable if Labour jettisons its broader transformative agenda — sounding the death knell for the Corbyn moment and handing the next 10 years to the right.”

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