Democracy might not ‘take the weight’ of second EU referendum, says anti-Brexit Labour MP Stephen Pound

Democracy might not ‘take the weight’ of second EU referendum, says anti-Brexit Labour MP Stephen Pound

A recent YouGov poll of Labour Party members found that 93 per cent of those in London – an even greater proportion than the 86 per cent nationally – favour the holding of a so-called People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal. But although many Labour MPs in the capital support the idea, not all are convinced.

Speaking on the Sunday Politics London this morning, Ealing North MP Stephen Pound raised doubts about the value of a second referendum, though he reiterated that “dear God, I’m anti-Brexit”. Acknowledging that it might be “superficially very attractive”, he said there would be difficulties with deciding what question such a ballot would ask and when it would take place, and asked, “What would happen if it was another 48-52? I’m not sure that democracy or the constitution has broad enough shoulders to take that sort of weight.”

Pound, the shadow minister for Northern Ireland, who was reported in June to have backed the People’s Vote campaign, also appeared to question whether the other 27 EU nations would recognise the outcome of any second referendum that reversed the outcome of the first, “because they are fed up with us.”

Also in the programme, Seema Malhotra, the Labour MP for Feltham & Heston said that “it is time for us [the Labour Party] to be clear about our view on a People’s Vote” and to “have it more definitively as an option that we would draw on in the future” if parliament cannot agree on it. And Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, said he had “no problem” with Sadiq Khan’s recent call for a second referendum, saying that the London Mayor was entitled to do so given his remit under London’s devolved government and “recognises that there is an interest across the whole of the UK that is varied and slightly different.”

Corbyn told the Andrew Marr Show this morning that he would back another referendum if party members vote for one at their annual conference this week in Liverpool, having previously appeared reluctant to endorse the idea. In the last two days deputy leader Tom Watson has appeared to warm to the idea but shadow chancellor John McDonnell, MP for Hayes & Harlington, has expressed scepticism.

Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford, told the Sunday Politics London there is “no need” for a second referendum and accused the EU negotiators as “stalling” in its talks with the government. “They are making things difficult but at the end of the day these things do tend to be decided at the eleventh hour,” he said. He added that he would “absolutely” be happy with no deal being reached, saying it would not be required in order to trade with neighbour nations.



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