UK’s Corbyn signals Labour could be open to 2nd Brexit referendum


LONDON • UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn hinted that he could be open to holding a second referendum on Brexit as the consequences of leaving the European Union (EU) become clearer.

Asked if he was prepared to rule out a second vote after meeting with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa in Lisbon on Saturday, Corbyn said his party hasn’t fixed its position on the issue.

“We’ve not made any decision on a second referendum,’’ Corbyn said at a European Socialist Party conference in the Portuguese capital. “What we’ve said is that we would respect the result of the first referendum.”

Britain’s main Opposition party is trying to portray itself as a government-in-waiting after gaining seats in June’s general election and stripping Prime Minister Theresa May of her majority. Since going into that vote with a Brexit strategy similar to May’s Conservatives, Labour has diverged in recent months, saying it would keep open the options of remaining in the single market and customs union, both of which May has ruled out.

“If we were in government, we would immediately legislate to guarantee British residence to all EU nationals that live and work in Britain, and the right to bring their families to Britain as well,’’ Corbyn told reporters. “We will negotiate the issues of relations with Europe on the basis of a free-trade relationship with Europe.’’

Corbyn met with Costa in Brussels in October, when he also held meetings with the Italian and Swedish leaders and EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.