Labour’s Angela Rayner fuels Brexit infighting by warning another referendum would be political ‘failure’ and voters don’t want one
- Labour in the midst of civil war on whether to support another Brexit referendum
- Angela Rayner said national vote would be ‘failure’ and people don’t want one
- Jeremy Corbyn desperately trying to avoid being pinned down on Brexit issue
Angela Rayner risked fuelling Labour’s Brexit civil war today by warning holding another referendum would be political ‘failure’.
The shadow education secretary said she did not believe the public wanted a fresh national vote on the issue – despite dozens of her colleagues demanding one.
The intervention comes as Jeremy Corbyn desperately tries to avoid being pinned down over how he would handle Brexit.
The veteran left-winger was a Eurosceptic for decades, and is believed to be deeply resistant to the idea of another vote.
But he has been forced to keep the possibility on the table as party activists and large numbers of MPs – including in the shadow cabinet – support it.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner (pictured on Sky News today) said she did not believe the public wanted a fresh national vote on the issue – despite dozens of her colleagues demanding one
A Labour amendment tabled in the Commons this week says a referendum could be held if Parliament endorses a Brexit deal.
But Remainer MPs pulled a cross-party bid to force an immediate recognition after Labour declined to endorse it – effectively condemning the plan to defeat.
Speaking on Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday, Ms Rayner made clear she does not favour a referendum unless all other options have been exhausted.
‘I think if we end up with a second referendum then us as politicians have failed the public, we have failed to be able to do our job,’ she said.
‘I will see that as a really difficult situation for us all to be in. I don’t think that people want to see a delay in Article 50, I don’t think that people want to see a second referendum’
Ms Rayner, MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, said she would ‘probably’ vote Remain if a second referendum were staged.
‘I would probably vote Remain and the reason is I’ve seen over the last 2.5 years all the analysis we have got at the moment,’ she said.
‘We’re in the EU, we get benefits from being part of the EU and I believe that to be the right thing for the UK.
‘I believed that at the start of this process when I made my first vote and I still believe that to be the case.’
Ms Rayner also delivered another broad hint that Labour will back an amendment this week paving the way for Brexit to be delayed.
The intervention comes as Jeremy Corbyn (pictured on a visit to Middlesbrough last week) desperately tries to avoid being pinned down over how he would handle Brexit
She said: ‘Labour will do whatever it takes to avoid a no-deal Brexit, so if that’s the only option we have it’s something we will seriously consider.’
If the plan, pushed by Yvette Cooper, is passed by MPs on Tuesday it would pave the way for law ordering a nine-month extension to be considered on February 5.
Amendments are also tabled intended to rule out a no-deal Brexit, and stage a series of ‘indicative’ votes to work out what approach would gain a majority in the Commons.
The government seems to be pinning its hope on changes tabled by senior Tories that would demand a rewriting of the controversial Irish border backstop – something she could take to Brussels as concrete evidence of the will of MPs.