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UK Labour calls for second Brexit vote

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Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says Brexit can only be resolved by taking the issue back to the people, either at a new national election or a public vote.

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“With the Conservatives disintegrating and unable to govern, and parliament deadlocked, this issue will have to go back to the people, whether through a general election or a public vote,” Corbyn said in a statement.

“We will not let the continuing chaos in the Conservative Party push our country into a no-deal exit from the EU. Parliament can and will prevent such a damaging outcome for jobs and industry in the UK.”

After being punished by voters in European elections, which saw both pro-Brexit and pro-EU parties surge at the expense of Labour and the governing Conservatives, Labour said a public vote was the way to reunite the country.

The news comes as ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell, a leading campaigner for a second referendum, was ousted from Labour after backing the Liberal Democrats at European elections.

Campbell has claimed “senior” figures in Corbyn’s office recommended voting against Labour as support for his snub grew.

Campbell said he would appeal the party expulsion and warned Labour faces “oblivion” unless it clarifies its Brexit position.

Meanwhile, leading Conservative figures continue to clarify their positions as they jockey to replace Theresa May, who will step down as PM within two weeks.

May resigned last week after she failed to get her Brexit deal through parliament after months of negotiations with Brussels.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the party would be committing “political suicide” if it were to pursue a no-deal Brexit.

Writing in the Telegraph newspaper late on Monday, Hunt warned against holding snap polls ahead of a new deadline to leave the European Union at the end of October.

“If we attempt a general election before we have delivered Brexit we will be annihilated,” he argued.

“Attacked by the Brexit Party on the Right and the Liberal Democrats on the Left, we will face extinction,” Hunt wrote.

Both parties, which represent so-called leavers and remainers respectively, did well in the recent EU elections.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who has said he would be prepared to leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement, is currently the favourite to become the new prime minister.

Hunt told BBC radio on Tuesday that renegotiating May’s deal with the EU was the “only solution” to the deadlock.

-AAP

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