Scottish Labour declares support for Brexit deal vote and campaign to remain

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard
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Scottish Labour has confirmed it will call for a public vote on any Brexit deal and campaign for Remain in another referendum.

Labour’s Scottish Executive Committee (SEC) backed shifting the party’s Brexit policy to one of unequivocal support for a confirmatory vote on the terms of leaving the European Union.

Richard Leonard, who announced his backing for a clearer stance on Brexit following “an incredibly bad result” in the European election, pledged to “wholeheartedly campaign for a Remain victory”.

Following the decision, Mr Leonard said: “I am pleased that Scottish Labour’s Executive Committee has endorsed my call for the party to back a confirmatory vote on any Brexit deal, with Remain as an option on the ballot paper.

“Scottish Labour will wholeheartedly campaign for a Remain victory in such a vote.

“Only Scottish Labour is building a radical platform for investment in people and communities, our industries and our public services.”

A statement from Scottish Labour said that “there have been significant developments in the Brexit process” since their previous position was decided at the party’s conference in Dundee in March, adding: “Theresa May’s deal is dead.”

“Scottish Labour will therefore campaign for any Brexit deal to be automatically put to the people in a confirmatory vote.

“We will campaign for that vote to have a clear option to Remain.

“Scottish Labour will campaign in the confirmatory vote to Remain in the European Union,” the statement added.

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Approximately 62% of Scottish voters backed remain-supporting parties in the European election, won in Scotland by the SNP, which secured 37.8%.

The SEC decision to officially support a referendum on any Brexit deal, and campaign to remain in the EU, was made during a meeting in Glasgow on Saturday in response to the loss of both MEPs in May’s election, when they slumped to fifth place with 9.3% of the vote.

On the day after the results were announced, Neil Findlay MSP, an ally of Mr Leonard, announced he was stepping down as Labour’s Brexit spokesman due to party infighting.

He was followed by justice spokesman Daniel Johnson, who resigned blaming “the current direction and leadership of the party”.

Commenting on the announcement of support for a confirmatory vote, Ian Murray, the people’s vote-supporting Labour MP for Edinburgh South, said: “This is a very welcome decision by the SEC.

“I applaud Richard Leonard for listening to voters and acting so swiftly to change party policy.

“These words must now be turned into action and we must get out there and campaign vociferously for a final say on Brexit and for the UK to remain in the EU.”

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