Labour Brexiteer: Leave Voters Will ‘Punish’ Corbyn at the Polls, Will Not Accept Second Referendum

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A Labour Brexiteer has warned Jeremy Corbyn’s U-turn on respecting the outcome of the 2016 referendum is “total nonsense” and will see the party punished by voters, particularly in the north and Midlands of England, which would rob Mr Corbyn of the chance to become prime minister.

John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw in England’s East Midlands region — part of a belt of traditionally left-wing voting areas that stretches out from Liverpool and Manchester to Hull — has warned that by reneging on his manifesto promise to respect the outcome of the United Kingdom’s 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, he risked becoming the next Nick Clegg.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Clegg made a manifesto promise to scrap student tuition fees, but when in government with the Conservatives raised them three-fold. Voters thanked him for this U-turn by reducing his number of seats from 57 to just eight in the next general election.

The comments come after Jeremy Corbyn announced at a closed party meeting Monday night that Labour would back a second referendum, directly contradicting the 2017 manifesto his Members of Parliament were elected on. The sudden change of direction has been interpreted as an attempt to stem the tide of defections from the party of anti-Brexit MPs, who have largely gone on to join a new anti-Brexit ‘Independent Group’.

Speaking to British broadcast television and radio Tuesday, Mann warned this course of action would be the “end of the Labour Party in the north and the Midlands”, explaining that Labour was now largely controlled by Remain-supporting London activists, which ignored the interests of pro-Brexit Labour voters in the north of England.

Despite this imbalance, the Labour Party heavily relies on northern and Midlands MPs to make up numbers in Parliament, and without them could be reduced to a minor political force. Mann explained: “Seventy per cent of my constituencies voted to leave… let’s be quite clear, in the north and the Midlands the overwhelming majority of Labour voters, voted to leave. London is entirely different…”

The Pro-Brexit Labour MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Tuesday: “The voters won’t have it. The last person to renege on their manifesto was Nick Clegg, and that didn’t go end well for him on tuition fees. Our manifesto was unambiguous, that we’d accept the referendum and a second referendum doesn’t do that. Voters in very large numbers will not accept that so I’m calling on Jeremy Corbyn to reverse this absurd decision.”

“He prided himself on being the politician who would do what he said. ‘Here’s our manifesto, that’s what I will do, I will abide by it’, and he’s reneging on it. That’s catastrophic for Labour in the Midlands and the north.”

Mann accused Jeremy Corbyn himself of being a hypocrite. When he was elected to the leadership of the Labour party, the hard-left veteran activist had promised to usher in an era of new, better politics by being honest and doing what he said he would do. Pointing out the degree to which he was breaking this promise, Mann told Sky News anchor Adam Boulton: “Jeremy Corbyn said he was going to be a different kind of politician, who said if he stood on a manifesto, would stick by that manifesto, and increased his popularity a lot by saying it.

“Now he’s doing exactly the opposite. If we were going to support a second referendum, we should have said so at the election. It’s dishonest politics… it’s a question of principles.”

While a number of Labour MPs seemed prepared to rebel against Mr Corbyn on the issue of ignoring the British voting public, some top party figures congratulated him for the move. Die-hard Europhile Tottenham MP David Lammy said: “Jeremy Corbyn is today taking the first step to reunite our party by showing he is listening to our voters and members on this, the biggest issue of our time.”

Others outside the party were critical. In a statement seen by Breitbart London, UKIP leader Gerard Batten was scathing of Mr Corbyn’s decision to ignore the 2016 referendum. He said: “This is a cynical move by Corbyn. He’s been a Leaver for his entire political life, and now he bows to the Remainers in Labour to prevent his parliamentary party fragmenting and disintegrating. But even this cannot hold the Marxists and anti-Semites together in a common cause with his Europhile MPs.

“A second referendum is a betrayal of the original referendum. Every EU referendum that has gone against the EU’s integrationist agenda has been either forced to a second vote and set aside or just ignored.

“If Parliament legislates for a second referendum it will be a betrayal of democracy unparalleled in our history.”

Oliver JJ Lane is the editor of Breitbart London — Follow him on Twitter and Facebook


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