As many as two-thirds of Labour MPs, including several shadow cabinet ministers and frontbenchers, could refuse to back a deal without a people’s vote, senior sources within the party have revealed.
Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May will resume talks over the Brexit impasse this week, with early indications suggesting an agreement between the two leaders could be in the offing.
Tory Cabinet minister, Rory Stewart, said: “We agree on 99% of this stuff” ahead of the meeting, suggesting leaders could compromise on key issues to break the deadlock.
But even if May makes a big offer on a customs union and workers’ rights it may not be enough to drive her deal through – with a vast majority of the Labour Party saying they will refuse to vote for any Brexit deal without a confirmatory referendum.
I am one of the reportedly two-thirds of @UKLabour MPs who won’t vote for any Brexit deal without a confirmatory referendum. Why? Because what we all know now is that every possible Brexit deal will leave our country worse off & why would anyone sensible want that? https://t.co/xABzcSmiQf— Gareth Thomas (@GarethThomasMP) May 5, 2019
More than 100 opposition MPs, including 66 from Labour, said at the weekend they would not tolerate a “Westminster stitch-up” on a Brexit deal without a second referendum.
A number of MPs close to the People’s Vote campaign believe there could actually more like 150 to 180 Labour MPs out of 229 who will refuse to back a deal struck with May unless there is a confirmatory vote.
One shadow cabinet minister told The Guardian: “Jeremy cannot be sure he has the numbers – even if he whipped it – so he cannot do a deal without a confirmatory vote.”
Several MPs talked of more colleagues quitting the party, frontbench walkouts and a “catastrophic split” if the leadership were to pursue a policy of a deal without another referendum.
May is opposed to offering a second referendum but parliament could decide to back one if the talks collapse and the government proceeds with a plan for binding votes on what MPs would prefer as an outcome.