Iain Duncan Smith asks the Leader of the Opposition if it is Labour party policy to support a second referendum on Brexit

4th December 2018

During the opening day of the debate on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, Iain Duncan Smith asks the Leader of the Opposition if his party now supports a second referendum.

Will the right hon. Gentleman clarify his answer to the hon. Member for Nottingham East (Mr Leslie)? He says that the Labour party stood on a manifesto that accepted the result of the referendum; he was clear on that. Yet since then, the right hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) has suggested that the Labour party’s position would now be to support a second referendum. Will the Leader of the Opposition now clarify, for the sake of the House: is the Labour party’s position to support a second referendum, or is it that it accepts the result of the first referendum and will not support a second referendum?

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman read the Labour manifesto with great caution and detail. [Interruption.] Oh, he did. We were quite clear that we respected the result of the referendum. In our conference motion we discussed the whole issue at great length, and at the largest Labour party conference in our history, our party agreed unanimously to back the composite motion that we put forward. That motion opposed the process that the Government are bringing forward, and suggests that if the Government cannot govern—and it looks increasingly like they cannot—they should make way and have an election. That is our priority.