Real ‘People’s Vote’ on Brexit would be general election - McDonnell

Jeremy Corbyn and Dawn Butler

Jeremy Corbyn and Dawn Butler

His comments came as a poll for The Observer found 86% of Labour members think voters should have the final say on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, and 90% would now vote to remain in the EU.

With over half a million people on its books Labour has one of the most representative memberships in United Kingdom politics, and according to recent polls, some 85 per cent of them back a vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

"The time has gone for sitting on the fence", said Mike Buckley of campaign group Labour for a People's Vote.

Brexit is one of the fault lines, dividing even normal allies.

Responding to claims that both wings of parliament are discussing an Autumn general election, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme the claims were "for the birds - it's not going to happen".

At Labour's annual conference in the northern city of Liverpool, Corbyn, who in 1975 voted "No" to Britain's membership of the then-European Community, said he would act on the result of a debate in Labour on a second Brexit vote.

Britain's Labour Party kicked off its annual conference on Sunday hoping to prove it was ready to unseat the embattled Conservative government despite its own splits on Brexit and rows over anti-Semitism.

"Labour party members must now ask themselves how much they wish to remain loyal to Corbyn, how much they want to risk further tarnishing the party's already sullied reputation for fighting racism, and how much they want a Labour government".

"It was then agreed that if we can not get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote".

"We could well be looking towards a general election, and - do you know what? - we're ready for it".

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He said that if the United Kingdom exited the European Union without an agreement, it would be "disastrous for Northern Ireland" and could see a return to the way borders were operated during the Troubles with armed checkpoints. Obviously I am bound by by the democracy of our party'.

These centrist MPs now find themselves on the sidelines and battling for their political lives in the face of aggressive attempts by Corbyn's supporters to de-select them, another issue that could raise tensions during conference.

And if Labour's Corbyn does come out with clear support for a second referendum, the pressure on the Conservatives to get any deal through parliament will only grow. It calls for Britain to leave the EU but remain in the bloc's customs union with "full access" to the EU's huge single market.

Corbyn's close ally, Len McCluskey, leader of Britain's biggest trade union Unite, told the BBC any such second referendum "shouldn't be on: 'do we want to go back into the European Union?'" as that had been answered in the 2016 referendum.

Pro-EU supporters are due to hold a large march as the conference opens on Sunday, calling for a second vote.

One of these advisors said during a telephone call: "What are you doing in November - because I think we are going to need an election".

Her comments were criticised by senior peers and fellow MPs in a further indication of the divisions within the Parliamentary Labour Party.

McDonnell's caution is likely to disappoint Labour members pushing for a second referendum.

Labour waverers - people who would now vote Labour, but could change their mind, 28% feel the party has a problem with antisemitism, and from that group, 26% say if the problem isn't addressed, they would be much less likely to vote Labour.

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