Jeremy Corbyn would back a second EU referendum if Labour party activists support it

Second referendum – Jeremy Corbyn would be prepared to back a second EU referendum if Labour activists support it (Picture: PA)

Jeremy Corbyn would be prepared to back a second referendum on the European Union if Labour activists support it.

The Labour leader insisted he was not calling for a public vote and believed a general election would be a better way to resolve the political crisis over the nature of the UK’s departure from the EU.

But, as the Labour conference began in Liverpool, a march of MPs, MEPs, union leaders and activists put pressure on the party to throw its weight behind a so-called People’s Vote.

More than 100 constituency parties have submitted motions calling for the issue to be put to a vote, with many activists believing that the aftermath of the rejection of Theresa May’s Chequers proposals by EU leaders is the right time to call for a fresh vote.

Mr Corbyn told the Sunday Mirror: “What comes out of conference I will adhere to. But I’m not calling for a second referendum. I hope we will agree that the best way of resolving this is a General Election.

“But I was elected to empower the members of the party. So if conference makes a decision I will not walk away from it and I will act accordingly.”

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And Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson told The Observer: “Jeremy and I were elected in 2015 to give the Labour Party back to its members.

“So if the people’s party decide they want the people to have a final say on the deal, we have to respect the view of our members and we will go out and argue for it.”

Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson agreed that the party would have to respect the views of its members (Picture: PA)

Their comments came as a YouGov survey of more than 1,000 Labour members for The Observer found 86% support a referendum on the outcome of Brexit talks, against just 8% who oppose it.

Even in the North and Midlands, where many Labour constituencies voted Leave in 2016, there was overwhelming support – 86% and 88% respectively – for a second vote.

Tory chairman Brandon Lewis said: “The last pretence that Labour ever respected the democratic decision of the British people is rapidly disappearing.”