The House of Commons will vote on a raft of amendments this evening, including one put forward by The Independent Group and the Liberal Democrats. Amendment H calls for an extension to Article 50, allowing enough time to hold a referendum on Theresa May’s Brexit deal or remaining in the European Union. However Sir Keir has confirmed Labour will vote against the amendment when voting begins at 5pm this evening.
Speaking in the Commons, the MP for Holborn and St Pancras referenced the official People’s Vote campaign, who have said they do not back the motion tabled by independent MP Sarah Wollaston.
After reading out their objections he added: “Those pressing this amendment seem to be out of step with the vast majority of co-campaigners, campaigning for exactly the same push.
“They may genuinely have a difference of opinion but we will not be supporting H tonight.”
Former Conservative minister Anna Soubry, a leading backer of a second referendum, shouted “shame on you” at Sir Keir.
Ms Soubry had asked Mr Starmer asked about his party’s official Brexit policy in the Commons, arguing it has “now changed again”.
She said Labour had agreed at last year’s conference to push for their own version of leaving the EU, then a general election, and if neither happened then back a public vote.
“Now it seems his party’s policy is to compromise with the Government to facilitate Brexit,” Ms Soubry added.
“Will Labour be voting for a People’s Vote, abstaining or voting against?”
Sir Keir said he has previously spoken in favour of going back to the people, but said “today is about whether Article 50 should be extended”.
Independent Group MP Chris Leslie, who recently left Labour, tweeted: “So now we know it. Labour frontbench won’t support a £PeoplesVote. Long suspected, now confirmed. Thankfully there are principled backbench MPs who won’t always jump to the @jeremycorbyn dictat. Email your MP today – vote will be at 5pm.”
Best for Britain, a pro-second referendum campaign group, have also called for MPs to vote against the amendment.
A spokesperson said: “Best for Britain, like a majority of the country, believe that giving the people the final say is the only credible solution to the Brexit mess we’ve been left in after three years of government failure and parliamentary gridlock.
“We believe bringing this issue before parliament today will not truly test the will of the house for a public vote.
“The debate today must focus on the pressing need for an extension to article 50 to confirm parliament’s rejection of a no deal cliff-edge on 29 March and protect the country from a damaging disorderly exit.
“We will continue to build on the strong support throughout the country for parliament to give the people the final say.”