Up to 10 frontbench Labour MPs have reportedly told leader Jeremy Corbyn that they will resign if he doesn’t back a proposal for a second referendum on Brexit.
Several junior shadow ministers have reportedly told The Guardian that they will resign if Corbyn doesn’t whip his party to vote for a second referendum amendment, which will be launched at the end of the month.
Corbyn is facing rising tensions within his own party as some members and allies of his are prepared to argue for Brexit. Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite union, a close ally of Corbyn, said that stopping Brexit was “not the best option for our nation”.
However, Brexit secretary Keir Starmer worked on the party’s conference policy, which suggests that if it has failed to secure a general election “Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”.
Attention is focusing on plans made by the Labour MPs Phil Wilson and Peter Kyle, under which parliament’s endorsement of a deal would be made subject to the public’s approval, echoing the model pursued for the Good Friday agreement.
“That’s where the action is,” said one backbencher. There could also be a straightforward “people’s vote” amendment when May brings an amendable vote to MPs on 27 February.
Several frontbenchers, including the shadow Treasury minister, Clive Lewis, and the shadow business minister, Chi Onwurah, will speak at a Love Socialism, Hate Brexit rally at parliament before the vote on Thursday. The rally is being promoted by the pro-referendum group Another Europe is Possible.