Norwich MP Clive Lewis backs second referendum as prime minister faces crushing Brexit defeat
Archant Norfolk 2017
Norwich South MP Clive Lewis has spoken out to back a second referendum just hours before Theresa May puts her Brexit deal to the Commons.
While Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn declined to support calls for a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday, shadow Treasury minister Mr Lewis said on Monday night that “a public vote is something that the Labour Party should be getting behind”, the Huffington Post reported.
Speaking at the Final Say event in London, organised by Hope Not Hate, the union TSSA, and Another Europe Is Possible, he said: “My message to Chuka and to Anna Soubry and the others who have been making the case for a people’s vote is: You have done what you think is right, well done, but if you do get your way, you need to step aside and make way for those who can communicate with the very people that we need to convince.”
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Mr Lewis said even though he supported official Labour policy of forcing a no-confidence motion in Mrs May, he was not sure Conservative MPs would back a general election.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said that if she loses the meaningful vote, Mrs May should make a statement to the Commons “about what her plan B is”.
He told Today that Labour was readying a vote of no confidence in the government, but declined to say exactly when, adding: “The timing will be down to Jeremy Corbyn but he has already indicated that it will be soon.”
Mr Lewis added: “This campaign, if it should fall upon us, for a public vote, it needs to have less Tories, less men, less Londoners, more northerners, more women, more diversity and more of the left.”
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On Tuesday Sir Keir reiterated the Labour position that it wanted the Meaningful Vote to be followed by a general election, adding: “In the end it comes down really to: is there going to be a general election? That is one option. Is there some form of deal that people can coalesce around or should there be a public vote or a second referendum?
“We need to create the space for that discussion about the credible alternatives.”
Pressed on his preference, he added: “We can’t have no-deal and therefore we need to find a majority for something else.
“Our party conference set out the option of a public vote, a second referendum, and obviously that has got to be discussed.”