The Government has been in Brexit talks with the Government for over a week after the Prime Minister reached out to Jeremy Corbyn to help deliver the UK’s exit from the EU. Speaking as he came out of the talks, Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell insisted that a referendum “is always on the table”. Mr McDonnell also said the prospect of a confirmatory public vote at the end of the Brexit process was “raised at each meeting”.
When asked about a confirmatory vote, Labour’s Mr McDonnell said a referendum “is always on the table, we raise that at each meeting”.
He said: “The talks that are going on are constructive, so we are hopeful. Positive.
“We are working out a timetable, there is a fair amount of detailed work that will go on over the next week to ten days, then we will see where we are at.”
He added: “I am not going to go into the detail of it, we are trying to be as constructive as we possibly can on all sides and be as positive as we possibly can.
“But, we will see by next week how far we have got.”
The talks have been led by Mrs May’s de facto deputy, David Lidington, and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer.
The Government is still hoping they can get a deal through Parliament in time to avoid the need for Britain to vote in elections to the European Parliament on May 23.
It comes after the European Union agreed to extend Britain’s departure date until the end of October.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday, the Prime Minister told MPs it was their “national duty” to agree to a Brexit deal.
She said: “We need to resolve this. So that we can leave the European Union with a deal as soon as possible.
“So that we can avoid having to hold those European Parliamentary elections. And above all, so that we can fulfil the democratic decision of the referendum, deliver Brexit and move our country forward.
“This is our national duty as elected members of this House – and nothing today is more pressing or more vital.”
Responding to the Prime Minister, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Yesterday EU leaders agreed to grant the United Kingdom an Article 50 extension until the 31st of October.
“This means Britain will now have to start the process of holding European elections in the extraordinary situation of not knowing whether the new MEPs will take their seats, or for how long.
“This has come just three weeks after the Prime Minister has told the House she was not prepared to delay Brexit any longer than June 30.
“The second extension in the space of a fortnight represents not only a diplomatic failure, but it is another milestone in the Government’s mishandling of the entire Brexit process.”