Corbyn backs soft Brexit and says second referendum ‘some way off’ – The Guardian

  • Speaking in Dublin, the Labour leader said the only way to break the deadlock would be a general election or a second referendum after negotiating a softer Brexit deal with Brussels.
  • Corbyn said there must not be a repeat of the 2016 referendum on Britain’s EU membership, and argued that Labour could strike a better agreement with Brussels that would include a customs union, which would then be put to a public vote.
  • Corbyn’s remarks leave open the option of Labour campaigning in favour of a Brexit deal in any second referendum, rather than for the option of remaining in the EU, which is favoured by many shadow cabinet ministers.
  • Labour’s preference is still for a general election but Corbyn’s tone on a second referendum shifted earlier this week to say he would back a poll on any deal.
  • Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, is campaigning for Labour to get fully behind a second referendum.
  • On the other side of the debate, the shadow cabinet ministers Ian Lavery and Jon Trickett have opposed a second referendum, along with Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite.

Philip Hammond considers running for Conservative leadership – The FT

  • Philip Hammond has announced he could run for leadership of the Conservative party if none of the other eleven candidates take a pragmatic approach to resolving the Brexit deadlock.
  • The chancellor, once seen as a Eurosceptic, also hinted he could support a second Brexit referendum if it reaches a point where “parliament has to admit it cannot resolve this issue”.

Pressure grows for Labour U-turn on Alastair Campbell’s expulsion – The FT

  • Labour’s shadow attorney-general has suggested the party’s decision to expel former spin-doctor Alastair Campbell, after he admitted to voting Liberal Democrat in last week’s European elections, should be “reviewed”.
  • Shami Chakrabarti’s comments came after scores of Labour members took to social media under the #expelmetoo hashtag, daring the UK’s main opposition party to carry out a mass purge of those who voted for parties that want the UK to remain in the EU.
  • Asked if Labour would back Remain in a future referendum, Baroness Chakrabarti told the BBC it would depend on the deal with the EU that was on offer.