Labour to stay neutral on second referendum as Corbyn wins conference vote

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Labour to stay neutral on second referendum as Corbyn wins conference vote

Delegates voted on the three Brexit motions – one saying Labour should campaign for Remain in another referendum, one neutral motion, and one saying there should be a special one-day conference to decide its position after an election.

Jeremy Corbyn’s policy on Brexit has triumphed at Labour conference, as members endorsed his stance to stay neutral while negotiating a new deal.

The party voted against a motion which would have seen Labour backing Remain in any future referendum.

But there was confusion as the votes were called, as the chair of the proceedings faced calls for a recount.

Labour’s position on Brexit has dominated the conference agenda, with huge disagreements over the issue.

The party’s draft plan for its Brexit policy, put forward by Mr Corbyn, suggests that, if Labour wins power in a general election, it would remain neutral while negotiating a new deal with the EU within three months.

It would then hold a referendum within six months, and the party would decide which side to back ahead of that at a special conference.

Some Grassroots activists at the conference have been pushing for an unambiguous stance, tabling a motion calling for Labour to campaign “energetically” to remain.

But this motion was rejected in a show of hands while a motion setting out the leadership’s official position and another endorsing its handling of Brexit were overwhelmingly passed.

After the results were announced by trade union official Wendy Nichols, there were charged scenes in the conference hall.

Several delegates called for the votes to be counted individually, suggesting the outcome of the remain motion was much closer than officials had suggested.

One delegate said there had to be an official card vote as “this is one of the most important decisions Labour is going to take in the next decade”.

The result is a major boost for Jeremy Corbyn, who was backed by the majority of Labour’s 12 affiliated unions, including Unite and the GMB.

Unison had broken ranks with other unions to back the Remain motion.

 

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