Wales politics

Brexit: Wales' first minister refuses to back another vote

Mark Drakeford

Wales' first minister has refused to back a promise to hold another Brexit referendum as part of Labour's manifesto for May's European elections.

Labour is redrafting European election leaflets after accusations of ignoring a pledge to hold another vote on leaving the EU, the BBC has been told.

About 100 Labour MPs and MEPs want such a promise in the party manifesto.

Mark Drakeford said he thought a confirmatory referendum should "remain part of a mix" in the manifesto.

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Labour's ruling body would make a decision on Tuesday about backing a public vote on any deal.

There has been growing calls within the party, wanting Labour to make a "clear commitment" to a public vote on any Brexit deal.

It had been reported that Labour's leaflets for the 23 May European Parliament elections do not mention pushing for another referendum.

The updated Labour European election leaflets will now refer to the party's preparations for a general election, with a referendum if necessary to avoid what it calls a "bad Tory deal".

Two Welsh Labour AMs warned the party was in danger of handing victory to Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party unless it pledges to campaign for a further referendum.

Speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics Wales, Mr Drakeford said whether the vote would be on any deal was a different question "and I think that debate needs to be allowed to happen".

Labour agreed a policy at its conference in September that if Parliament voted down the government's deal or talks end in a no-deal Brexit, there should be a general election.

But if it cannot force one, it added, the party "must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote".

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Media captionAlastair Campbell said would be a catastrophic error for Labour not to pledge a Brexit referendum

Mr Drakeford said the Labour manifesto would be "far wider than whether there should be a referendum or not".

"The idea people are hanging on every nuance of the position that parties take, I don't think that is how the public is engaged with Brexit," he added.

"People are very, very fed up with it and they want to see this over.

"The Labour party will put a prospectus in front of people that is far wider than whether there should be a referendum or not.

"It will talk about all of those things that we have got as a result of our membership of the European Union and the wider idea of what Labour will bring."

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