Jeremy Corbyn will come round to supporting a second Brexit referendum by the time the final terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union are agreed, Labour peer Lord Adonis has predicted.
Mr Corbyn last month insisted that Labour was “not advocating” a public vote on the withdrawal terms secured by Theresa May.
But Lord Adonis, a vocal opponent of Brexit, said he expected the Labour leader to move slowly and in a “crab-like” way towards a shift in position over the course of 2018.
Asked on Channel 4 News whether he expected Mr Corbyn to switch to support for a second referendum, the former Cabinet minister said: “I do, because what will happen over the course of the next nine months to a year is that increasingly the terms on which we leave the EU will become associated with Theresa May and the hard-right of the Conservative Party.
It is vital to fight Brexit NOW, not at some magical future moment when the stars are aligned & the polls favourable. The Great Man did not say, âwe will fight them on the beaches, when YouGov allow me & we know what the interim phase is going to be after March 2019â!— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) January 1, 2018
“I don’t believe that Jeremy can associate himself with a hard-right Conservative approach to Brexit.
“That’s why I think, crab-like and in stages, Labour will get to supporting a referendum on those final terms.”
Lord Adonis, who last week quit as Theresa May’s infrastructure tsar in part because of her position on Brexit, said that a second poll was justified because of signs that the public mood on Brexit was shifting.
“For many months now, the opinion polls have shown a majority in favour of staying in the European Union,” he said. “Opinion does appear to be moving.
“My view as a democrat is that the right thing is for the country to have a say on the final terms.”
For the fourth month in succession, a regular YouGov poll in December found a majority of voters believe that the UK was wrong to choose to leave the EU – by a margin of 45% over 42% who thought the decision was right.
However, the same company found little appetite for a second referendum in a separate poll in October, when just 18% said they wanted a vote on the terms of withdrawal and 14% thought the Brexit decision should be overturned without a vote, against 52% who thought the Government should press ahead with pulling the UK out of the EU.