Emily Thornberry: Second EU referendum remains on the table

Emily Thornberry insisted the option of campaigning for a second referendum remains on the table while also denying Labour is pursuing a 'fantasy prospectus' over Brexit.

The shadow foreign secretary claimed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was explaining a referendum occurred in 2016 and his party were “democrats over and above everything else” when he replied that Brexit could not be stopped during an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel.

Ms Thornberry added the 2016 referendum result “ought to be abided by” but added an “injection of democracy” is needed via a “meaningful vote” for Parliament.

Appearing on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, Ms Thornberry said: “Theresa May is simply giving us a devil in the deep blue sea - she’s saying you can either fall off a cliff or get on this bridge to nowhere, and you’re going to have to vote on that.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry speaking during the The Andrew Marr Show. Picture: BBC/PA Wire


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“That’s not a meaningful vote, that’s not an injection of democracy.

“So, we say if you’re going to give us that, we refuse to play that sort of game and, frankly, if you can’t come up with a decent suggestion then we should have a general election, if we don’t have a general election then yes, of course, all the options remain on the table and we would campaign for there to be a people’s vote.

“There are several stages before we get there.”


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Ms Thornberry was pressed on how Labour would secure its preferred Brexit deal and asked if she has had a “serious conversation” with a senior EU official who has suggested the UK could get the exact same single market and customs union benefits post-Brexit.

She replied: “Oh, no, no, no, no, of course not.

“But what we’ve had are discussions and they know what it is that we want, and they know we are democrats and if they were in our position they’d be trying to negotiate exactly the same way as we are.”

Told it was a fantasy prospectus, Ms Thornberry replied: “It is not a fantasy prospectus.”