Labour party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer has said another Brexit referendum is “on the table,” if parliament rejects Theresa May’s final deal to break ties with the EU, or in the face of a no-deal Brexit, according to The Independent. The party’s official position is that they are not yet calling for such a vote, however, some shadow cabinet members believe a new referendum may already be a certainty, according to the Independent report.
A number of documents recently released by the government demonstrate the economic repercussions that would come from a no-deal exit, including increased business taxes and higher credit card charges.
Starmer signaled that he does not feel MPs should support May’s Brexit deal “however bad it is,” signaling a willingness to vote against it when it reaches the House of Commons this fall.
While clarifying that his party was not yet calling for a new referendum, Starmer explained:
“I do think there needs to be a democratic check. I don’t think the prime minister can simply decide for herself what the future of this country looks like. I have focused on the vote in parliament, and the meaningful vote…if that vote is to reject the article 50 deal, parliament must decide what happens next. In those circumstances, it seems to me, all options should be on the table.”
Labour MPs who are pushing for a new referendum took the comments as a positive sign in the gradual shift of the party’s official stance toward the prospect of a new vote.
According to former shadow chancellor Chris Leslie: “I’m increasingly confident that we are seeing the Labour Party move towards giving the public a final say.”
Even if May is able to negotiate a deal, it appears increasingly unlikely it will meet the demands of parliament, with opposition from both Labour and pro-Brexit Tories.
More shadow cabinet members also seem to be warming toward the idea of a new referendum, and while Jeremy Corbyn would prefer a new election, observers say Tory MPs are unlikely to allow this to happen sooner than 2022. In addition, pressure has been building from unions for a new referendum.
One shadow cabinet member told The Independent:
“In the end when the government can’t decide, and when parliament can’t decide, it feels like it might be the only way out.”