Len McCluskey tells Corbyn it would be ‘electoral suicide’ to back a second referendum and copying the anti-Brexit Lib Dems will only ‘pump poison‘ into British politics
Union chief Len McCluskey today warned not to make Labour a pro-Remain party as the snaffle their voters and lead in a shock new election poll.
The Unite general secretary said a second referendum would only ‘pump more poison‘ into Britain and a lurch towards one would be ‘electorally suicidal‘.
He also urged Mr Corbyn to ignore ‘Remain zealots‘ after ‘pointless‘ because the party would lose dozens of MPs in the north and Midlands.
Writing for he said: ‘There is absolutely no route to a Labour victory as a Remain party.
‘A further referendum will only pump more venom into the body politic. So then we are left with simply cancelling Brexit. For Labour to embrace such a position would be not just electorally suicidal, it would represent a profound rupture in our movement‘s democratic traditions‘.
He added: ‘There is no way round it – leading the charge for Remain and relying on returning Lib Dem or Green voters, rather than continuing to respect the referendum result, will see Labour losing dozens of constituencies it has held since World War Two and longer, and put key marginals we must win way out of reach‘.
Mr McCluskey recently accused Mr Corbyn‘s deputy leader Tom Watson of plotting to throw him out of office if Labour doesn‘t come out for remain.
Labour and the Tories were hit by an opinion poll bombshell last night in the wake of their EU election humiliation.
A survey of how Britons might vote in a general election showed the main political parties in joint third place – behind the pro-Remain Lib Dems and Nigel Farage‘s Brexit Party.
Barnier: Brexit is about ‘nostalgia‘
Michel Barnier sparked fury yesterday by claiming ‘typically British‘ nostalgia for the Empire was behind the Brexit vote.
The EU negotiator said Britons felt ‘abandoned‘ by cuts, and suggested City figures wanted to leave because they did not like EU rules.
In an interview with the New York Review of Books he said Leavers voted for ‘the hope for a return to a powerful global Britain, nostalgia for the past – nostalgia serves no purpose in politics‘.
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Last night, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith told the Daily Mail: ‘Michel Barnier is fundamentally wrong. If anything, it‘s nostalgia for proper democracy.‘
And Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted that Leave voters stood for ‘self government, audited financial statements and the accountability of bureaucrats‘.
Sir Vince Cable‘s Liberal Democrats garnered 24 per cent – their best showing for years, according to the YouGov survey. Close behind was Nigel Farage‘s Brexit Party with 22 per cent – even though it has only been in existence for six weeks.
However, the Conservatives and Labour were tied on an unprecedented 19 per cent. The Lib Dems came second in last week‘s European Parliament elections after attracting the support of hundreds of thousands of Remain-supporting Labour voters angry at their party‘s equivocal stance on a second Brexit referendum. The Brexit Party came top, punishing Theresa May‘s party for failing to deliver Britain‘s departure from the EU.
Its strong showing in the poll indicates that millions of people would also consider voting for them at Westminster.
The survey for The Times revealed the depth of the crisis the main parties face in the wake of the deadlock over Mrs May‘s Brexit deal.
It was the first time the Lib Dems have topped a poll since 2010, with Nick Clegg as leader. The Greens were behind the two main parties on 8 points.
Anthony Wells, of pollsters YouGov, told The Times it was unheard of for two challenger parties to take the top places in a voting intention poll.
Mr Corbyn deepened Labour‘s Brexit woes last night as he said a second referendum was ‘some way off‘.
Speaking in Dublin, he resisted pressure to begin campaigning for a public vote.
He said the only way to break the deadlock would be a general election or a second referendum after negotiating a softer Brexit deal.
And Mr Corbyn would not say definitively that remaining in the EU would be on the ballot paper in a public vote.
He said: ‘We don‘t back a rerun of 2016. That happened. That is gone. If Parliament comes to an agreement, then it‘s reasonable, and if Parliament wishes it, there should be a public vote on it but that is some way off.‘
The Labour leader is under pressure from John McDonnell and Diane Abbott to back a second vote. But others on the Left oppose it.