’We Must Leave’: Pro-Brexit Labour Warns Corbyn 2nd Referendum Would Be ‘Toxic’

Brexit
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Twenty-six Labour MPs in marginal and Brexit-supporting constituencies have written to party leader Jeremy Corbyn urging him to strike a deal with the next prime minister to secure Brexit by October 31st, warning that pushing for a second referendum would be “toxic to our bedrock” of supporters.

The letter was sent on Wednesday, reported by Guido Fawkes, as a meeting of the Shadow Cabinet failed to agree on explicitly backing Remain as official Labour Party position, with Mr Corbyn saying however that it is “now right to demand that any deal is put to a public vote”, or second referendum. Other colleagues urged the leftist to support a second referendum now, with the party campaigning on a platform for Remain.

The signatories of the letter urged the Labour Party to stand by its pledge to honour the 2016 referendum and warned that “a commitment to a second referendum would be toxic to our bedrock Labour voters, driving a wedge between them and our Party, jeopardising our role as a party of the whole nation.” The MPs added that the “populist right” and Brexit Party in particular represent a “potent threat” to Corbyn’s party in the traditionally working-class, pro-Brexit, but Labour-supporting heartlands.

“The Peterborough by-election result, with Labour’s vote share down 17%, and the Brexit Party coming so close, gives a stark warning of what could happen in Tory-Labour marginals, the majority of which are Leave seats,” the letter continued, adding that Peterborough canvassers were briefed “to assure voters that Brexit will not be stopped”.

Continuing, the Labour MPs agreed that “Brexit must happen. The UK must leave, and do so without further undue delay,” and urged “the Party to put the national interest first to back a deal before 31 October”.

The Times reports that Mr Corbyn is set to announce the party’s position at its September conference, after consulting with unions. The newspaper also reports internal party documents as saying that Labour supporting a too-pro Remain stance would risk the party holding on to seats in the Midlands or damage its chances of winning other pro-Leave marginal seats across the country.

The Brexit Party lost the Peterborough by-election seat by just 683 votes, the marginal constituency having previously been taken from the Tories in the 2017 General Election by former Labour politician Fiona Onasanya by 607 votes. The Brexit Party also came first in European Parliament elections with the traditional ‘third party’ the Liberal Democrats coming second, while the establishment Labour came third and the Tories fifth, behind the Green Party.

Ahead of the Europe-wide poll, Mr Farage had vowed a “northern attack” on traditionally-Labour heartland constituencies, a strategy the Brexit Party — which topped three YouGov General Election voting intention polls in a row — could employ ahead of 2022’s General Election if the Labour Party betrays its working-class voters over Brexit.

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