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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

London mayor backs second Brexit vote

Sadiq Khan has added his voice to a growing movement calling for a further referendum

Sadiq Khan has added his voice to a growing movement calling for a second vote on Brexit. Jack Taylor/Getty Images
Sadiq Khan has added his voice to a growing movement calling for a second vote on Brexit. Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The mayor of London added his voice to the growing calls for another referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union, heaping more pressure on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to come off the fence ahead of his party’s annual conference next week.

Writing in the Observer newspaper, Sadiq Khan, a Labour member, said he hadn’t thought he would back another national vote on Brexit. The Conservative government’s handling of negotiations has been so poor, he said, that now he can’t see any alternative to giving Britons another chance to stay in the EU. He said there are only two options left -- a bad deal for the UK or, worse, no deal.

“This means a public vote on any Brexit deal obtained by the government, or a vote on a ‘no-deal’ Brexit if one is not secured, alongside the option of staying in the EU,” he wrote.

So far, Mr Corbyn and his shadow chancellor John McDonnell have not said they would prefer the public be given a say on Brexit in a fresh general election, although the option of pushing for a second referendum should be left open.

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Today, Mr McDonnell joined protesters outside the Bank of England marking a decade since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the onset of the global financial crisis. He reiterated his party’s call for a financial transaction tax on derivatives that would raise as much as 5 billion pounds ($6.5 billion) to pay for schooling and child care.

Brexit remains virtually the only topic on the UK government agenda. EU leaders will discuss the latest UK proposals at an informal meeting in Salzburg, Austria, on Wednesday. Former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson used a newspaper column yesterday to urge his fellow Brexiteers to shoot down Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan rather than try to oust her altogether.