Does he commit to a “confirmatory referendum” or not?
Next week’s Labours ruling national executive committee will be faced with demands to include a clear commitment to a confirmatory public vote on Brexit in its European election manifesto. This is something that has not appeared in draft leaflets that have been circulated within the party and have aroused fury.
Ever since June 24th 2016 Corbyn and his team have managed to deftly avoid pressure from the anti-Brexiteers and have stuck to their pro-brexit position. This is it in spite of the fact that all the polling over the last 3 years has shown that this his approach is not in line with what most Labour voters want.
Until now the Corbyn team has managed to deftly avoid the issue but with the looming European elections requiring the sign off of the party’s position then next week is going to be critical. Does he go with it or not?.
The ITV political editor, Robert Peston, has been tweeting l about Labour MPs and and others within the party signing letters to the ruling NEC calling for an unambiguous commitment to such a vote. Peston described the decision facing the party on Tuesday as “momentous”.
This is probably as big a potential split on Europe that the party has faced since the early days of Harold Wilson’s Premiership in 1974. Wilson got round his difficulties then by holding the first referendum on his re-negotiated terms .
The UK had entered what was then the EEC without any referendum simply on the basis of the decisions of the House of Commons and House of Lords.
Problem for Corbyn next week is that weasel words are not going to suffice. It needs to be one way or the other. If he chooses to stick with his position then I’m sure that the Greens, CUK and the Lib Dems will be delighted to pick up alienated LAB voters.