Sky Views: Corbyn has good reason to resist a second referendum Political News

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Beth Rigby, political editor

Elected as a leader who was about to rebuild Labor as a grassroots movement, you can see why Jeremy Corbyn is unable to swallow activists for his second Brexit referendum.

Nearly three in four members of the Labor party want another Brexit vote, yet the Labor leader, along with his allies in the national executive committee, has rejected this request.

When the EU campaign flyers come out next week, there will be no great job offers as Remain's party or a second referendum.

There will not even be a tough promise to support a confirmatory vote on a Brexit agreement drafted under this government.

Instead, Mr. Corbyn's work will maintain a policy of supporting a soft Brexit, which maintains the "option" of a public vote on the table, if Labor is unable to make changes to the Brexit deal of the government, or to force general elections.

It's not even remotely what the deputy leader Tom Watson and shadow secretary Brexit Keir Starmer hoped for.

Tom Watson
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Tom Watson came out of a meeting with the shadow cabinet this week

It is far from what the People's Voting campaign wanted – at least the clear promise of a confirmation ballot on an ugly Tory Brexit.

It goes against the demands of a large part of the Parliamentary Labor Party and the band of candidates for the European Parliament.

There was a bit of a backlash on Tuesday night.

An activist cut his cards and posted the photos on Twitter. An adviser told me that they could refuse to campaign in the upcoming European elections.

But on the whole, the misunderstanding has given those on every side something to turn to their respective audience.

The pro-remained Labor MP Wes Streeting has led Labor's reaffirmation of the conference's position as confirmation "a public vote will be in our manifesto for the European elections".

Gloria De Piero, who is deep in the Vote a Leavefield area, near Nottinghamshire, tweeted the exact opposite, insisting that the party's position was not to hold a second Brexit referendum.

The fact that two parliamentarians can draw such different conclusions from the leader's position is a reflection of the shameless way in which Mr Corbyn is facing both fronts on Brexit.

Many in your party are furious, but their leader has good reasons to be clumsy about a second referendum.

Because the misunderstanding works. He created a situation in which his MPs in the Leave Leave may demand that Labor deliver Brexit while those in the Remain areas may indicate the prospect of a public vote.

The ancient Roman god Janus is depicted with two faces
Image:
The ancient Roman god Janus is depicted with two faces

Parliamentarians, MEPs, councilors, members could be irritating, but indignation is not shared by the public that does not see the Labor Party as pro-Brexit.

In fact, a YouGov poll showed Tuesday that more people believe that Labor is an anti-Brexit party (42%) than Change UK (38%).

As long as this is valid, it is difficult to understand what benefit the job will get from becoming more openly pro-EU. He's already winning that support.

It is also difficult to see Labor postponing the party and recovering with Change UK in large numbers after the separatist political movement – which has had a promising start – cannot break loose.

The fact that two parliamentarians can draw such different conclusions from the leader's position is a reflection of the shameless way in which Mr Corbyn is facing both fronts on Brexit.

Beth Rigby

So they will stay and fight from the inside until they believe that a second referendum is on the table, however tenuously.

There are many Labor people who distrust Jeremy Corbyn and his Brexit management team and see this self-proclaimed Democrat as an autocrat when it comes to the EU.

They believe he has always been a Eurosceptic who sees the EU as a capitalist worker club with a neo-liberal program he cannot accept, regardless of what its members might want.

But the most benevolent view of Corbyn's tactics is this: that he borrows none other than the Tony Blair playbook that won the election and triangulates on Brexit in an attempt to maximize his chances of entering n. 10.

This means sticking to a soft Brexit as a way to respect the vote to leave the EU, while recognizing the legitimate economic concerns that inmates have made to leave the club.

It is a position that the hopes of Corbyn's team will hold together a coalition of Remain and Leave voters and maximize the chances of winning a general election if the Tories implode; and that is why the Labor leader is doing the sensible thing trying to keep riding those two horses for a while yet.

Sky Views is a series of articles commented by editors and correspondents of Sky News, published every morning.

Previously on Sky Views: Hannah Thomas-Peter – Weinstein's shocking story may soon take another turn

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