TOM WATSON yesterday warned Brexit could destroy Labour as he demanded they become the party of Remain.
Tom Watson has defied Jeremy Corbyn and urged that Labour back a people’s vote[/caption]
And the Labour deputy leader warned that if the party refuses to shift position, “there will be a very high electoral price to pay”.
He said true British patriots would back remain – as he suggested the godfather of British theatre William Shakespeare would oppose Brexit.
Speaking in Westminster, he stormed: “Brexit is not a brake on Labour values. It is an existential threat to them.”
He added: “Labour is the party of democracy – so we must ask the people.
We are the party of socialism – so we must campaign for Europe. The patriotic choice is to remain
“We are the party of socialism – so we must campaign for Europe. The patriotic choice is to remain.”
He blasted his colleagues for being too “scared” to sing the praises of the EU.
And he warned Labour must quickly change its position now Britain is staring “down the barrel of a Boris Johnson premiership”.
He also hinted that Shakespeare would be on his side – saying the bard’s imagination “was as broadly and deeply European as it was English”.
Mr Watson – leader of the Remainer rebel ring of the party – said Labour voters were “in tears” in the Euro elections as they felt they could not back the party because of its Brexit stance.
Ignoring the 17.4m leave voters isn’t politically smart nor indeed particularly democratic
And throwing down the gauntlet to his leader, he said he is “confident” Labour will change its policy at its conference this September, but called for policy to be changed sooner.
He said: “I think we will have a harder position. My great fear is that it will be too late.”
Mr Watson has led the Remain side in the shadow Cabinet Brexit war and is one of Mr Corbyn’s fiercest critics.
In an interview with the BBC, he admitted that “I wonder whether the Labour Party is leaving me” under its hard-left leadership. But he vowed never to quit.
His astonishing attack immediately sparked a fresh bout of Labour civil war over Brexit.
Labour chairman Ian Lavery said: “Brexit has turned this country into a toxic nation.
“However ignoring the 17.4m leave voters isn’t politically smart nor indeed particularly democratic. Is it?”
Mr Corbyn has so far refused to fully back a second referendum, despite a fresh onslaught from his MPs demanding him to in the wake of their dismal performance in the Euro elections.
Labour MP John Mann – who backs Brexit – slammed Mr Watson. He raged: “This is going to lose Labour the next general election.
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“Some MPs who have been speaking in private who have never ever rebelled are up in arms about this.
“They know that in the north and in the Midlands its Labour voters who voted Leave and this would be catastrophic for whoever wants to be a Labour government.”Mr Corbyn held showdown talks with a group of his anti-Brexit MPs last night.
Labour sources said the leader will also meet with the pro Brexit wing of his party as he decides whether to throw his full weight behind the Remain camp.
Ian Lavery has said that Brexit has turned the UK into a ‘toxic nation’[/caption]
John Mann warned that backing Remain would cost lose Labour a general election[/caption]
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