By Ned Simons
Labour’s student wing has voted to back a referendum on the Brexit deal and slammed the 2016 result as being “built on lies”.
Jeremy Corbyn has all but confirmed he will order his MPs to vote against whatever deal Theresa May manages to agree with the EU.
But the Labour leader has been lukewarm on backing a so-called People’s Vote on the deal.
Current party policy states that Labour might only throw its weight behind another referendum should it fail to secure a general election.
On Friday evening, the Labour Students National Committee added to the pressure on Corbyn to push harder for another vote.
The 23-strong body agreed a statement that said: “The Tories’ Brexit deal will fail Labour’s six tests, but only the people, not politicians, can reverse the decision of June 2016.
“A referendum built on lies, in which so many of us couldn’t vote, must not single-handedly damage the rest of our lives. This is why we are demanding a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.”
It added: “A large number of today’s students could not vote in the 2016 referendum, never consenting to leaving the EU.
“Those students who did vote overwhelmingly backed Remain, standing up against a Leave campaign built on lies, scaremongering and far-right rhetoric. Now, the truth about Brexit is clear.
“Britain is facing either a hard-Brexit or no deal at all. The economy, Irish border, rights of EU citizens here, workers’ rights, and the freedom to travel and study abroad all remain at risk.”
Ellie James, who represents Yorkshire & the Humber on the National Committee, said given the “overwhelming majority” of Labour students supported another vote it was right that the representative body did as well.
“Brexit is bad for students and it’s bad for Britain – it will not solve any of the problems of the working class in this country – only a radical Labour Government will, inside the European Union,” she said.
The decision comes after campaign groups, including the For our Future’s Sake organisation, pushed Labour at its conference to agree remaining in the EU should be on the ballot in any referendum.
The party’s current position on Brexit, carefully agreed at its conference to try and bridge the divide between those who want another referendum and those who do not, states: “If we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”.
The UK is currently due to leave the EU next March, leaving just five months to complete a workable Withdrawal Agreement and have it ratified by national parliaments.
London mayor Sadiq Khan today urged the EU to begin preparations to delay Brexit to allow time for a second referendum on membership or a change of government to negotiate a “good deal”.
Khan was among the politicians who attended a march by hundreds of thousands of people through London, thought to have been the biggest anti-Brexit demonstration since the referendum.