Two shadow ministers have defied Jeremy Corbyn and thrown their weight behind a second Brexit referendum.
Clive Lewis and Marsha de Cordova also piled pressure on their boss by demanding the party backs a left-wing “remain and reform” agenda to keep Britain in the EU in any fresh poll.
Lewis, shadow Treasury minister, called for centrists on the People’s Vote campaign, including Labour MP Chuka Umunna, to “step aside” so pro-Corbyn voices could connect with working-class Leave voters.
De Cordova, meanwhile, said Labour must distance itself from a “a right-wing, racist Brexit” and win back Brexiteer “hearts and minds”.
Lewis said that, while he supported Labour policy to force a no-confidence motion in Theresa May’s government, there was a “good chance” Tory MPs would refuse to back the general election Corbyn wants.
“A public vote is something that the Labour Party should be getting behind and I am here to talk about the preparations we need to start thinking about to make that happen,” Lewis told campaigners at the ‘Final Say’ event in central London on Monday, organised by Hope Not Hate, the TSSA union and Another Europe Is Possible.
He added: “My message to Chuka and to Anna Soubry and the others who have been making the case for a people’s vote is: You have done what you think is right, well done, but if you do get your way, you need to step aside and make way for those who can communicate with the very people that we need to convince.”