By Muhammad Mussa
Britain's opposition Labour Party has called on the parliament to hold a vote on whether or not a second Brexit referendum should be held in an amendment submitted on Monday evening.
The amendment marks a significant shift in the party’s policy regarding a second vote and also aims to rule out a no-deal Brexit and give parliament the power to consider alternative plans proposed by MPs on Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal deal.
The proposal includes “an alternative Brexit deal that protects jobs, living standards and workers’ rights and environmental standards, including through a comprehensive customs union with a UK say and strong single market deal”.
Furthermore, “the option of a public vote on a deal or proposal on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union” should be considered by parliament in breaking the Brexit impasse, it said.
The amendment highlighted Labour’s policy of a “Jobs First Brexit” that prioritizes workers’ rights, trade standards and environmental protections that are harmonized with the EU. It also upholds Labour’s conference policy of “keeping all options on the table” including a public vote.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition, said: “Theresa May has shown today that she has no Plan B after the comprehensive rejection of her botched Brexit deal by MPs last week. The prime minister is both refusing to change her red lines or take the threat of a no deal exit off the table. MPs must now act to break the deadlock”.
“Our amendment will allow MPs to vote on options to end this Brexit deadlock and prevent the chaos of a no Deal. It is time for Labour’s alternative plan to take centre stage, while keeping all options on the table, including the option of a public vote” Corbyn added.
The proposed amendment highlights the leadership’s attempt at closing the divisions among senior officials who are at loggerheads such as Corbyn who is skeptical of a second referendum and shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, who is open to the idea of a people’s vote.
Last week, 71 Labour MPs and 13 MEPs declared their support for a second referendum adding pressure on Corbyn and the leadership to support one. Corbyn, however, has made clear that holding of a general election is his top priority.
Labour Party is now working on an alternative Brexit deal that would command cross-party support in Parliament after losing the vote of no confidence in its attempt at ousting May Wednesday last week.
After suffering a historic defeat in parliament last week after MPs voted in an overwhelming 432-202 majority against her Brexit deal, May will present her ‘Plan B’ to parliament on Jan. 29 which will face a vote by MPs.
The U.K. is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.