Britain’s Labor Party could reignite the fight over London’s decision to leave the European Union, including another referendum vote in which the country could stay.
Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said in a speech at a conference Tuesday that “nobody is ruling out [remaining] as an option.” He said if the proposed deal isn’t approved by Britain’s Parliament, a new public vote should be held.
“We want a general election to sweep away this failed government,” the shadow Brexit secretary said. “We want to install a radical Labor government capable of transforming this country. And that’s what should happen after two years of negotiations ending in failure.”
The hard line from the Labor Party Tuesday came days after Prime Minister Theresa May said Brexit will happen with or without a deal in place.
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Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell initially didn’t agree with Starmer, saying a new referendum should be “on the deal itself” and not whether Britain leaves or remains with the EU. Later, McDonnnell backed Starmer, saying all options are on the table.
Conservative Chairman Brandon Brnadon Lewis accused the Labor Party of wanting to “take us back to square one on Brexit.”
May has been insistent that she will not undo the largest democratic exercise the country has undergone.
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“It is something I will never agree to — indeed, in my judgement it is something no British prime minister would ever agree to,” May said. “If the EU believe it will, they are making a fundamental mistake.”
Not everyone in the Labor Party is on board with a new vote. Member Caroline Flint said it’s an idea she opposes.
“A new referendum will divide voters again, it will tell Labor voters if they voted Brexit they may as well vote [conservative]. And that cannot be allowed to happen,” she said.