David Miliband demands Labour 'bravery' to stop 'wrecking ball' Brexit

Labour civil war rages as David

David Miliband demands Labour 'bravery' to stop 'wrecking ball' Brexit

Labour civil war rages as David Miliband demands 'bravery' to block 'wrecking ball' Brexit - but Caroline Flint warns the party risks losing DOZENS of MP and vows to back No Deal if necessary

  • Jeremy Corbyn has been desperately dodging being pinned down on Brexit  
  • David Miliband demanded the party shows 'bravery' by backing a referendum 
  • But Caroline Flint said it could cost Labour dozens of MPs in northern heartlands

Labour's civil war was raging today as former Cabinet minister David Miliband 'bravery' to block a 'we wrecking ball' Brexit

The ex-foreign secretary heaped pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to come out full-heartedly for a second referendum, saying the public must be given a chance to change their minds.

But Caroline Flint, who represents Leave-backing Don Valley, warned that the party risked losing 40 MPs to the Brexit Party and Tories if it failed to honour the result from 2016.

And she made clear she will vote in favour of No Deal if necessary rather than allowing the Brexit process to be cancelled.

The Labour leadership has been desperately trying to avoid being pinned down on its EU policy, as it pits supporters in strongly Leave northern heartlands against those in overwhelmingly Remain cities.

David Miliband (pictured on the BBC's Andrew Marr show) heaped pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to come out full-heartedly for a second referendum

David Miliband (pictured on the BBC's Andrew Marr show) heaped pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to come out full-heartedly for a second referendum

Caroline Flint, who represents Leave-backing Don Valley, warned that the party risked losing 40 MPs to the Brexit Party and Tories if it failed to honour the result from 2016

Caroline Flint, who represents Leave-backing Don Valley, warned that the party risked losing 40 MPs to the Brexit Party and Tories if it failed to honour the result from 2016

Mr Corbyn, a lifelong Eurosceptic, has been crawling towards endorsing a second referendum since the European elections saw the party caught in a pincer movement between the Brexit Party and Lib Dems.

But he was accused of trying to muddy the waters again last week when a shadow cabinet meeting failed to decide whether a so-called 'People's Vote' should include an option to Remain.  

Mr Miliband, once hotly tipped as a future PM but now living in the US, described Brexit as a 'wrecking ball at the constitution of the country'.

He told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show: 'In the end we're in this mess because each party has tried to calculate what to do about Brexit according to internal party politics, that's how David Cameron ended up in the referendum in the first place, that's why Jeremy Corbyn is sitting on the fence.

'The Brexit issue is now a wrecking ball at the constitution of the country, at the political structures of the country, because each of the main parties has been thinking about its own sectional interests.'

He said some MPs representing Labour seats in the North East, he added, had 'bravely' said: 'Look, because the Brexit that you were promised in 2016 is not available, because no-one ever thought a no-deal Brexit was the issue, you deserve the right for democratic reasons as well social and economic reasons to have a final say on whether we go ahead with this.'

Mr Miliband said he had not 'given up on Britain', adding he voted Labour in the European elections.  

He went on: 'The arguments that you're making against a second referendum that it will prolong the agony, that it will fuel the far right, that it will divide the country, those are precisely the arguments against the deals that are on offer now.'  

But Mrs Flint pointed out that polls showed Labour could lose 40 seats in the North if it came out for Remain.

'We would be losing in our heartlands,' she told the Marr show. 

Asked if she would vote for a no-deal Brexit or staying in the EU, Mrs Flint she said: 'I won't be voting to revoke Article 50.'

Pressed on whether that meant she would back No Deal, Ms Flint said: 'If that is where we end up, that is where I will be.' 

Shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne admitted Labour was attempting an incredibly difficult' balancing act.

'It's an incredibly difficult message because, at the end of the day, we put a question to the people and we got an answer in 2016, and Parliament has tried to negotiate its way through the mess that Government has created,' he told Sky News.

Mr Corbyn (pictured at an education rally yesterday) has been crawling towards endorsing a second referendum since the European elections saw the party caught in a pincer movement between the Brexit Party and Lib Dems

Mr Corbyn (pictured at an education rally yesterday) has been crawling towards endorsing a second referendum since the European elections saw the party caught in a pincer movement between the Brexit Party and Lib Dems

'We set out what we thought could be reasonable terms for a Brexit deal that would command a majority in the House of Commons, but that time's passed.'

He added: 'We are not going to get Labour's Brexit deal presented by prime minister Johnson or prime minister Hunt, and so the realisation is that whatever they come back to Parliament with between now and October, we have to go back to the people and we have to say 'is this really the Brexit that you want?'' 

Shadow international development secretary Dan Carden said he would vote to stay in the EU in a second referendum if no deal was the other option.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics: 'It's a really difficult question to answer when you don't have the leave option negotiated so we don't know what the leave option is.

'If there was a referendum and no deal was an option and remain was an option, then I would be voting to stay in the EU.'

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