Trade union agreement commits Labour to campaign for Remain in any new referendum

Written by Kevin Schofield on 9 July 2019 in News

An agreement thrashed out by trade unions commits Labour to backing a second EU referendum in all circumstances

Jeremy Corbyn Vote Remain - Image credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images

Labour would campaign for the UK to stay in the European Union to stop a Tory Brexit or no-deal, it has been revealed.

An agreement thrashed out by trade unions commits the party to backing a second EU referendum in all circumstances.

The deal was signed off by the leaders of the Unite, GMB, Unison, CWU and TSSA unions after talks in London.

If agreed by Jeremy Corbyn, it would be the first time Labour has explicitly backed the option of staying in the EU since the 2016 referendum.

However, the door has also been left open to the possibility of Labour campaigning for Brexit if it wins a snap election and then manages to negotiate its own deal with Brussels.

A one-page document released after the union meeting contained two possible scenarios.

The first one states: “The Labour Party should confirm that whatever deal is negotiated by the new Tory prime minister or an exit based on no deal should be put to the people in a public confirmatory vote.

“The options must be: 1) accepting the deal or a Tory no-deal in the knowledge of its terms; 2) Remaining in the European Union.

“In this event, the Labour Party should campaign to remain in the European Union.”

However, the second scenario envisages a snap election in which Labour’s manifesto would commit to renegotiating the Brexit deal.

If Labour won and reached a new agreement with Brussels, that would also be put to the people in a fresh referendum.

The options would be to either leave on the terms agreed by Labour, or staying in the EU.

Bizarrely, the trade union document leaves open the option of Labour possibly campaigning against its own deal.

It says: “The Labour party’s campaign position on such a ballot should depend on the deal negotiated.”

A Labour source insisted the party had not agreed on a formal Brexit position.

“Jeremy is working to unite the party and wider labour movement around a common agreed position,” said the source.

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