The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has issued a dramatic call for another referendum on EU membership, insisting that the people must be given the chance to reject a Brexit deal that will be bad for the economy, jobs and the NHS.
Writing in the Observer, Sadiq Khan says that, with so little time left to negotiate, there are now only two possible outcomes: a bad deal for the UK or “no deal” at all, which will be even worse. “They are both incredibly risky and I don’t believe Theresa May has the mandate to gamble so flagrantly with the British economy and people’s livelihoods,” he writes.
Khan says that backing a second referendum was never something he expected to have to do. But so abject has been the government’s performance, and so great is the threat to living standards and jobs, he says, that he sees no alternative than to give people a chance to stay in the EU.
“This means a public vote on any Brexit deal obtained by the government, or a vote on a ‘no-deal’ Brexit if one is not secured, alongside the option of staying in the EU,” he writes. “People didn’t vote to leave the EU to make themselves poorer, to watch their businesses suffer, to have NHS wards understaffed, to see the police preparing for civil unrest or for our national security to be put at risk if our cooperation with the EU in the fight against terrorism is weakened.”
The intervention from one of Labour’s most powerful politicians will put yet more pressure on the party leader Jeremy Corbyn to throw his support behind another referendum at Labour’s annual conference, which opens in Liverpool next weekend.
More than 100 anti-Brexit motions, and motions backing another referendum, or people’s vote, have been submitted by constituency parties – believed to be a record for any single issue in the party’s recent history.
A large number of the motions are from the left of the party, and call for a commitment to a people’s vote to be inserted into Labour’s next general election manifesto.