Labour Demands Second Referendum as EU Consults on Brexit Delay Request

Brexit
ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images

(AP) — The opposition Labour Party’s Brexit spokesman has re-emphasized his party’s support for a second referendum on Britain’s divorce deal with the European Union.

Keir Starmer told the BBC on Sunday that “whatever deal gets through, it should be subject to a referendum.”

His comments come a day after Parliament forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek an extension to the Oct. 31 deadline for Britain to leave the EU. That, in turn, led to the postponement Saturday of a vote on the Brexit deal that Johnson agreed upon with EU leaders on Thursday.

Starmer says what Labour is seeking now is that “this deal in particular but any deal is put up against Remain in a referendum.”

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has met with EU ambassadors to discuss the consequences of the letter sent by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking for a Brexit extension.

Asked Sunday after the meeting in Brussels whether EU leaders would be open to granting a new Brexit delay, Barnier just said EU Council President Donald Tusk would hold consultations “in the next days.”

Barnier said it was “a very short and normal meeting” to “launch the next steps of the EU ratification of the agreement.”

Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union late Saturday seeking a delay to Britain’s impending Oct. 31 departure from the bloc, as required by British law. But he followed it with a signed letter indicating that he does not favor another Brexit extension.

Johnson very much wants Britain to leave the bloc on Oct. 31 but British lawmakers have not yet voted on his new Brexit plan.

A German minister is calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek a cross-party solution to the Brexit standoff and says he wouldn’t have a problem with delaying Britain’s departure from the European Union for a few weeks.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, was quoted Sunday as telling German daily Bild that “a good and orderly solution is still possible if Boris Johnson now reaches out to Parliament and seeks a cross-party solution.”

He says Britain’s continued political “power poker” game over Brexit endangers jobs and prosperity, and “if an extension by a few weeks is necessary, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.”

The European Union has not yet responded to Johnson’s grudging request late Saturday to extend the looming Oct. 31 deadline for Britain to leave the bloc.

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