The shadow Brexit secretary, who took part in cross party talks with Mrs May’s team before they collapsed on Friday, called for a “confirmatory vote” in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) which will be put before MPs for a fourth time in early June. While the prime minister has promised the new package will have a “new, bold offer” and include an “improved package of measures”, Mr Starmer said unless a second public poll on Brexit was one of the measures she has in mind, lawmakers will once again shoot the deal down. He told Sky News: “We’ve had two years of people saying this is the sort of deal I desire.
“It’s the numbers that matter and so whatever it is it’s got to be something that gets through parliament and there an increasing number of people now who want to see a confirmatory vote to break the impasse.”
Mr Starmer suggested that Mrs May is shying away from a second Brexit referendum not because she wants to deliver on the June 2016 result but because she is not confident British voters would back her deal if given a choice.
He said: “We said clearly there [party manifesto] that if we couldn’t get changes to the deal, and couldn’t get a general election, then we support the option of a public vote, and Jeremy Corbyn has said in terms that if the prime minister is confident that she’s got the right deal for the economy and communities she shouldn’t be afraid of putting that to the public.”
Last week Mr Starmer told the Guardian up to 150 Labour MPs would vote against the WAB if it lacked a confirmatory vote.
Mrs May hit back at critics who slammed her for reaching across the aisle and meeting with Jeremy Corbyn and his team in a bid to break the Brexit impasse.
Writing in The Sunday Times, she insisted “holding the talks was the right thing to do” even if they ended without any breakthrough.
Mrs May is standing her ground and refusing to budge on the issue of a so-called “People’s Vote” – an idea which she said many Opposition MPs were “wedded to”.
The Prime Minister wrote: “While many Labour MPs genuinely do want to deliver Brexit, a large number of others are wedded to holding a second referendum with the aim of reversing the decision of the first.
“That is not a course I have ever supported. We had a people’s vote in 2016 — and the people are still waiting for their decision to be implemented.”
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