Jeremy Corbyn faces pressure to back second referendum after losing vote | Politics News

Jeremy Corbyn has lost a vote on his plan for Brexit, meaning the party will now shift to formally backing a second EU referendum. 

The Labour leader had attempted to win a majority for his plan but lost by 83 votes, including his own MP Stephen Hepburn.

Mr Corbyn will now come under pressure to set out exactly how he intends to deliver a second vote.

He will also have to manage the frustration of MPs in the party who do not back another referendum and want to see it fail.

In reality, there is unlikely to be a majority in the Commons for such a proposal, at least at the moment.

Jeremy Corbyn
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The Labour leader must now set out how he plans to deliver a second vote

The Scottish National Party also lost a vote it had tabled on plans to take no-deal off the table, after the prime minister announced plans for a vote on the issue in early March if her plan is rejected.

An amendment by Caroline Spelman was withdrawn before it could be voted on, after the Conservative MP said she had received assurances from the government that MPs would be given a deciding role in the next steps of the Brexit process.

Another amendment which had been drawn up by Alberto Costa, a Conservative junior ministerial aide, was accepted by the government – but that didn’t stop him losing his job over the decision to try and force a vote on it.



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Costa’s amendment ensures protection for EU nationals and British nationals living abroad in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In the end, Labour MP Yvette Cooper decided to call a vote to allow MPs to be given a say on no-deal and on extending Article 50, which the government would then enact with legislation.

This was despite ministers accepting her demands and promising to listen to MPs following the votes on 13 and 14 March.

The assurances were enough for some, including Oliver Letwin – a Conservative MP who had backed Ms Cooper’s plan – but she wanted to ensure a formal vote was recorded to provide a guarantee.

Yvette Cooper
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Yvette Cooper tabled a vote on allowing MPs to have a say over a possible no-deal scenario

She won this vote by a majority of 482 after the government allowed Conservative MPs to support it.

The motion commits Theresa May to a series of steps which she had already set out in a statement earlier in the week.

Following the vote, Ms Cooper tweeted: “Strong support from every party and from across the government too. Shows the support across the House of Commons now for Parliamentary safeguards in case we face no deal.”

Theresa May will now be held to the timetable she set out and a pledge to give MPs more control over the Brexit process, while Mr Corbyn is under pressure to deliver on his promise to support a second referendum.

The next chance for MPs to hold leaders to account on the issue will be in early March when the next meaningful vote will be put to the Commons on 12 March.

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