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Labour MPs demand party backs public vote on Brexit

Seventy-four Labour MPs and 14 of its MEPs have demanded the party officially backs a public vote on any Brexit deal.

The politicians have added their names to a letter urging Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) to throw its weight behind such a vote as part of the party's European election manifesto.

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It comes after Labour grassroots hit out over a leaked draft of a campaign leaflet on Thursday which made no mention of another referendum.

Instead, the mailshot pledges a Labour government would seek "a better deal with Europe" without mentioning the possibility that Brexit may still not happen.

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Now, the Love Socialism, Hate Brexit group of MPs has decided to act, stressing that polls are clear that the European elections in late May are a two-horse race between Labour and Nigel Farage's Brexit Party.

Brexit letter
Image: Nearly 90 Labour MPs have co-signed a letter demanding a public vote on any Brexit deal

The letter, co-signed by MPs including Hilary Benn, Angela Eagle and Owen Smith, outlines plans to defeat the former UKIP leader with "a message of hope and solidarity", ahead of a key NEC meeting on Tuesday.

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"Labour has already, rightly, backed a confirmatory public vote," the letter states.

"The overwhelming majority of our members and voters support this, and it is the democratically established policy of the party.

"We need a message of hope and solidarity, and we need to campaign for it without caveats."

According to the group, polls suggest the overwhelming majority of Labour's members, supporters and potential voters want a public vote on any Brexit deal with an option to Remain, and failing to offer this risked the future of the Labour movement.

"To motivate our supporters, and to do the right thing by our members and our policy, a clear commitment to a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal must be part of our European election manifesto," the letter states.

"We understand the many different pressures and views within our movement, but without this clear commitment, we fear that our electoral coalition could fall apart."

Earlier this month, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson said the party must back a second referendum on Brexit in order to defeat Mr Farage's "backward-looking brand of politics".

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