Up to 70 Labour MPs are against a second referendum, estimated former minister Caroline Flint. The Labour MP also urged Jeremy Corbyn to allow for a free vote on an improved Brexit deal. Speaking to Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday, Ms Flint said: “I think there is something like 60 or 70 Labour MPs who feel as strongly as I do against a second referendum. But also I think it’s important to recognise that many of those MPs also feel that we have to move on.
“We have to stop a no-deal and if there’s an improved offer on the table, then Labour should engage with that sincerely.”
The Labour MP for Don Valley also urged: “My appeal to John McDonnell, to Jeremy Corbyn, to Keir Starmer, is allow MPs to have a free vote on an improved deal.
“So those MPs who want a second referendum can vote for that but those of us who want to keep our promises to our electorate can also keep faith with those people and vote for an improved deal.”
The comments follow Mr Corbyn announcing the Labour Party will back a second referendum to prevent the UK leaving the European Union with no deal.
The Labour Party tabled an amendment to the government’s Brexit plans but it was rejected by MPs on Tuesday night.
The party wanted Theresa May’s Brexit deal to include a permanent customs union with the EU. The amendment also included a commitment to sticking with the Single Market.
After the results of the vote, leader Jeremy Corbyn announced the party will seek other options as well as a second referendum, such as a General Election.
He said: “We will back a public vote in order to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or a disastrous no deal outcome.
“We will also continue to push for the other available options to prevent those outcomes, including a close economic relationship based on our credible alternative plan or a general election.”
Mr Corbyn has been vocal about his reluctance in supporting another referendum in the past.
However, Mr Corbyn said the party will now back the Cooper-Letwin amendment of a people’s vote if Mrs May’s Brexit deal if voted down by parliament for a second time this month.
He said this will prevent the UK leaving on March 29 without a deal over the future relationship with the EU.
John McDonnell, Labour Shadow Chancellor, told Ridge on Sunday the Labour Party will “respect people’s views and constituency interests”.
Referring to whether the Labour Party will whip the Labour front-bench into supporting a second referendum, Mr McDonnell said: “Well normally we will whip and that will be decide in the normal way by the Chief Whip, the Shadow Cabinet and the Party overall.
“I am sure on an issue such as this we would see a whip, but also you have got to respect people’s views and their constituency interests as well, and the old whipping arrangement will be determined in discussion in due course.
“But I just say this, and I think it will be for all MPs in the House across all parties now, that they have got to look to the long-term interests of the country. They have got to protect people’s jobs, they have got to protect the economy, otherwise we will never be forgiven in the future.”
Speaking at the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting at the start of the week, Mr Corbyn said: “The Prime Minister is recklessly running down the clock, in an attempt to force MPs to choose between her botched deal and a disastrous No Deal. We cannot and will not accept.”
Coral’s odds on Britons going to the polls by the end of the year are now 2/1.
Coral’s Harry Aitkenhead said: “”Labour backing a second referendum has had a profound impact on our odds and the odds of another EU vote by the end of the year are now just 2-1.
“A No Deal Brexit is now out to 4-1, a big drift from just 24 hours before, and there can no doubt that the opposition putting their name to calls for a second vote has mean the chances of the UK leaving with no deal are much less now.”
But Mrs May still believes her revised deal is the best option for the UK and is firmly against a second referendum.
Her spokesman said: “There is a covenant of trust between the electorate and the government of the day and the PM’s firm belief is that it is the government’s duty to act on clearly expressed wishes of the electorate and, obviously, were that not to happen, that wouldn’t be, and shouldn’t be, without consequence.”
Published at Sun, 03 Mar 2019 10:39:00 +0000