Emily Thornberry says Labour should back Remain in any new Brexit vote

Labour would be ‘off our bloody rockers’ not to back Remain in ANY second referendum says shadow minister Emily Thornberry in a direct challenge to the party leader Jeremy Corbyn over his Brexit policy

  • She said the UK ‘should take’ any opportunity to stay in the EU over trade fears
  • Her comments appear to put her at odds with her party leader Mr Corbyn
  • He said Labour would back Remain in any vote on a Tory Brexit deal or No Deal
  • But he has not said how Labour would campaign in a referendum on its own deal 

Top Labour MP Emily Thornberry has put herself on a potential collision path with Jeremy Corbyn after she said the party would be ‘off our bloody rockers’ not to back Remain in any second referendum.

The shadow foreign secretary used an interview in Australia to say that if the UK got a chance to stay in the EU ‘we should take it’ because of the potential damage to trade.

Her comments appear to put her at odds with her party leader, who has said Labour will back Remain in any referendum on a Tory Brexit deal, but has remained silent on what it would do if it achieved its own Brexit plan. 

Ms Thornberry has appeared increasingly at odds with Mr Corbyn and his senior team in recent weeks as she has become more outspoken in support of more overt Labour backing for Remain.

She was replaced by Rebecca Long-Bailey last month in her role standing in for the party leader at Prime Minister’s Questions in an apparent demotion.

Appearing on Sky Australia, Ms Thornberry said: ‘When I’ve been talking to people here in Australia…what’s really come home to me is that one of the reasons for the increased success of the Australian economy…is that you increased your trade with your closest neighbours, and yet in Britain what we’re doing is walking away from our closest neighbours and our biggest trading allies.

‘And people that I’ve spoken to here appreciate that, and I have to say practically all of them…have said if we get an opportunity to remain in the European Union, we should take it. Because if we don’t, we’re off our bloody rockers.’

The Labour leader (pictured in Blackpool yesterday) said his party would campaign to Remain in a referendum where the other option was No Deal. But he would not be drawn on how the party would campaign in a referendum on a Labour deal

Appearing on Sky’s Ridge on Sunday at the weekend Mr Corbyn was asked if Labour now supported a second referendum in all circumstances.

He said: ‘What we are saying is, No Deal we oppose and we think people should have a final choice on it.

‘We could have a vote then between Remain or whatever option Boris Johnson decides to put to them at that time.’

Asked the same question again, Mr Corbyn said: ‘There would be a second referendum to make a choice between whatever deal is arranged and what the public want.’

The Labour leader said his party would campaign to Remain in a referendum where the other option was No Deal.

Ms Thornberry told Sky Australia today: ‘if we get an opportunity to remain in the European Union, we should take it. Because if we don’t, we’re off our bloody rockers’

Ms Thornberry has appeared increasingly at odds with Mr Corbyn and his senior team in recent weeks as she has become more outspoken in support of Labour backing Remain

But he would not be drawn on how the party would campaign in a referendum pitching a Labour negotiated deal against staying in the bloc.          

A spokesman for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn recently said Labour is not a ‘Remain party’, adding: ‘We are not in that zone.

‘We have never said that. We have our policy, we have said we will campaign for Remain against a damaging Tory deal or a no deal in a referendum.

‘But there obviously are other circumstances which could occur. And we have said also that we would support a referendum, a public vote, on any deal.’

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