In a major shift in policy Britain’s main opposition Labour Party announced support Tuesday for a new referendum on a Brexit deal.
Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the new Prime Minister of Britain should have the confidence to put their European Union deal, or No Deal, back to the people in a public vote.
His announcement came after a meeting Tuesday of Corbyn’s front bench team of shadow ministers, which followed a meeting Monday of leaders of some of Britain’s biggest trade unions.
Corbyn said in a statement that Labour accepted the result of the 2016 referendum when people in Britain voted by a 52-48 margin to leave the EU.
But he said Labour, in its 2017 election manifesto also committed to opposing a no-deal Brexit and the Conservative Brexit plans.
Political commentators said the policy statement by Labour was likely to cause a rift with Labour MPs representing constituencies, mainly in northern England, who backed leaving the EU by large majorities.
Corbyn said Labour would campaign for Remaining in the EU against either no-deal or a Conservative deal that does not protect the British economy and jobs. He also repeated his calls for a snap general election.
The clarification of Labour’s stance on Brexit comes after months of wrangling among Labour supporters demanding clarification on the party’s view on Brexit.
Veteran Labour politician Hilary Benn who chairs the House of Commons Brexit committee described the new move as a significant step forward.
Benn said: “We can now see there is nothing that can be better negotiated that is better for jobs, that is better than the deal we currently have.”