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Labour MPs in Leave seats warn Jeremy Corbyn against backing second referendum

The shadow cabinet are meeting to discuss the party’s Brexit stance.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is discussing the party’s Brexit stance with his shadow cabinet (Jacob King/PA)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is discussing the party’s Brexit stance with his shadow cabinet (Jacob King/PA)

Labour MPs in pro-Brexit seats have warned Jeremy Corbyn that backing a second referendum would be “toxic” to the bedrock of the party’s supporters.

Twenty-six MPs have signed a letter urging the Labour leader to “put the national interest first” and back a deal before October 31, warning a no-deal outcome would “alienate” many who supported the party at the last general election.

The letter follows poor results for the party in the European and local elections, and a narrow victory in the Peterborough by-election.

The shadow cabinet are expected to discuss the party’s Brexit stance during a meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

Rother Valley MP Sir Kevin Barron, Burnley’s Julie Cooper, Don Valley’s Caroline Flint, and Rotherham’s Sarah Champion are among the signatories to the letter.

They wrote: “A commitment to a second referendum would be toxic to our bedrock Labour voters, driving a wedge between them and our party, jeopardising our role as a party of the whole nation, and giving the populist right an even greater platform in our heartlands.

“Labour has a vital role to play fighting for a Brexit for the many, not the few. But this is a battle best fought in stage two, after the UK has left.

“Rejecting any Brexit in the hope of securing a perfect deal risks the worst outcome – a no-deal Brexit. This would further alienate many who backed Labour in 2017.

“We urge the party to put the national interest first, to back a deal before October 31.”

It comes after reports that Mr Corbyn may change his party’s Brexit policy and support a second referendum in all circumstances.

However a Labour Party spokesman said: “As Jeremy said after the EU election results, he’s engaging in a process of consultation on our Brexit position and that will continue this afternoon at shadow cabinet.”

PA

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