Pro-Remain MP Peter Kyle told the Labour leader the party’s message on a second referendum was too complicated and had left voters perplexed. He told Mr Corbyn: “I urge you to simplify our policy so people realise we are speaking with absolute sincerity.” Labour Brexiteer John Mann called on Mr Corbyn to give his MPs a free vote on Brexit issues to reflect the divisions within the party and the country.
Mr Mann told the party leader: “Labour voters are divided in a very big way.
“If you don’t get this right you cannot be Prime Minister.”
Mr Corbyn acknowledged MPs’ “frustrations” and said he understood the need to simplify their message, telling them: “I get that.”
A Labour source said: “Our message is about bringing the country together. That means people who voted Leave and people who voted for Remain.”
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and Labour deputy leader Tom Watson threw their weight behind calls for any Brexit deal to be put to a second referendum – something Mr Corbyn has so far resisted.
Mr Watson described Labour as a “Remain and reform party” while his leader is sticking to his line that a People’s Vote is one of a number of options available in the event of a “bad” Tory Brexit.
Opinion polls ahead of the May 23 European Elections appear to back up the theory that the mixed messages are costing support with Labour voters in strong Leave areas switching to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party while Remainers pledge to vote for pro-EU parties such as the Lib Dems and Greens.
Cross-party Brexit talks have again ended with “no substantive progress” being made, according to sources.
A compromise deal with Labour is still Theresa May’s preferred option but its has emerged that MPs will be offered a series of “definitive votes” on a range of Brexit options if talks with Labour break down without agreement.
The Government wants to reach agreement with Labour on a list of Brexit options which MPs would be asked to vote on in a bid to ensure the process commands the support of a majority in the House of Commons.
But ministers will proceed with the definitive votes even if Labour does not agree the terms.
Downing Street said: “Ideally we would have Labour support in order to go ahead with those votes.”