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Abbott ‘worries’ about Labour Brexit policy puts pressure on Corbyn

The shadow home secretary has questioned whether Labour has got its policy right amid calls for the party to back a second referendum.

Diane Abbott (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Diane Abbott (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Diane Abbott has become the latest senior Labour figure to express concerns about the party’s policy on Brexit.

The shadow home secretary – one of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest allies – said she was “beginning to worry” whether the party had got its strategy right.

Her intervention will add to the pressure on the Labour leader to fully embrace a second EU referendum – something he has so far resisted.

It follows a reportedly fractious shadow cabinet meeting on Tuesday when Mr Corbyn again delayed a decision on whether the party needed to change course.

Following Labour’s dismal showing in last month’s European elections, deputy leader Tom Watson and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry have both publicly called for the party to come out in favour of another public vote.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, another of Mr Corbyn’s close allies, is also reported to have voiced frustration at the continuing stalemate on the issue.

Responding on Twitter to a tweet expressing concern about Labour’s stance, Ms Abbott said: “Like you I have supported Labour’s Brexit strategy so far. But like you I am beginning to worry…”

But with many voters in Labour’s traditional heartlands strongly supporting Brexit, a party source said there were “no easy answers” as to the way forward.

“Jeremy is trying to bring the whole movement together around a common position on this deeply polarising issue,” the source said.

“No-one should pretend there are any easy answers.”

PA

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