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The Catch-up: Jeremy Corbyn ‘wants Tory Brexit so he can wash his hands of it’

What happened?

Labour party sources have claimed Jeremy Corbyn is working to push through a Tory Brexit so he can ‘wash his hands’ of it. The leader of the opposition wrote a letter to the Prime Minister last week setting out the demands she would need to meet in order command the support of Labour MPs for her deal. It has now been claimed Mr Corbyn removed a paragraph at the last minute which said there would be a second Brexit referendum if his demands were not met.

What does it mean for Brexit?

If Mr Corbyn’s letter had included the threat of a second referendum, it would have been the closest the Labour leader had come so far to endorsing another vote. So far the official Labour policy has keeping the possibility of a so-called People’s Vote ‘on the table’. The fact that Mr Corbyn removed the reference indicates he doesn’t support the idea. Without the official support of the opposition it’s unlikely that a second referendum could ever take place.

One Labour member accused Mr Corbyn of backing a Tory Brexit, suggesting Labour MPs could be whipped to vote through Mrs May’s deal. However this looks unlikely unless significant concessions are made.

The move points to deep splits within Labour over Brexit. According to ITV political editor Robert Peston, Mr Corbyn removed the text about a People’s Vote without telling shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, who is said to be ‘less than happy’ with his party’s leader.

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