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Labour conference rejects motion to commit to campaign to stay in the EU

LABOUR delegates voted in favour of a motion for a special one-day conference after a general election where the party would decide how to campaign in a second referendum on Brexit. 

During a lively debate over its Brexit policy today, delegates at the party’s conference in Brighton rejected calls to explicitly back campaigning for Remain.

A statement by the party’s governing national executive committee (NEC) said: “The NEC believes it is right that the party shall only decide how to campaign in [a referendum on Brexit] — through a one-day special conference, following the election of a Labour government.”

The statement was also reinforced by composite motion 14, that said Jeremy Corbyn’s position on Brexit was “abundantly clear”, which was voted through.

Moments earlier, delegates narrowly rejected composite 13, that called on the party to “campaign energetically for a public vote and to stay in the EU.”

The issue has severely divided delegates with Unite and Momentum backing the NEC statement and Unison voting for composite 13.

Urging delegates to reject composite 13, Sheffield Hallam delegate Sophie Wilson said: “I represent a proud, northern ex-mining community of committed Labour voters and people who share our vision of a country that works for the many.

“Like so many of our heartlands, they also voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU.

“We cannot disregard the 2016 referendum, or attempt to leave behind our heartlands in the same way the Tories have done.

“I urge people to support composite 14 for the good of our people, to unite our electorate, and to ensure that we win a general election and deliver the radical Labour policies so desperately needed.”

Batley and Spen delegate Cath Pinder said: “Since the referendum the Tories have deliberately tried to widen the divide. Theresa May shut out all the 48 per cent who voted Remain as though they did not matter.

“Now Boris Johnson wants to make out it is the public against Parliament when it comes to Brexit.

“Labour will give the people the final say on any Brexit deal — unlike the Tories and the Lib Dems who won’t.”

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