UK's Labour party backs call for second Brexit referendum

Britain's opposition Labour Party said on Monday it would back calls for a second referendum on Brexit if parliament rejects its alternative plan for leaving the European Union. 

UK's Labour party  backs call for second Brexit referendum

 With just over a month until Britain is due to leave the bloc on March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking changes to her exit deal in order to break an impasse in parliament. 

 Labour's decision could damage her hopes of winning support for a revised deal in a vote she has promised by March 12, by attracting those who would have backed her agreement in order to avoid a no-deal exit but who would prefer a second referendum.

 Parliament is due to debate and vote on Wednesday on the next steps in Britain's tortuous departure from the EU, and lawmakers are set to offer proposals, or amendments, which could include demanding the exit deal is put to a public vote.

 Labour said it would put forward an amendment calling on the government to adopt its Brexit proposals, which include a permanent customs union with the EU and close alignment with the bloc's single market.

 "If Parliament rejects our plan, then Labour will deliver on the promise we made at our annual conference and support a public vote," Labour's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said. 

 Parliament is not expected to back Labour's Brexit plan and it remains unclear whether there is a majority in parliament in favour of holding a second referendum. 

 "We're in a very volatile situation.

 We are in the middle of a political crisis and a constitutional crisis... It's difficult to say at any one point what feelings are going to be two or three weeks down the line," a Labour spokesman told reporters.

 Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been under pressure for some time to support a second referendum.

 Last week, eight referendum-supporting lawmakers quit the party, in part owing to frustration over his failure to back another vote. 

The prospect of holding a second vote poses a dilemma for Corbyn: while many of the party's members and supporters fervently back a so-called People's Vote, others simply want Britain to leave the EU as soon as possible.

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