The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has revealed he is “an optimistic” when it came to stopping the United Kingdom from leaving the European Union.
In an interview with the Guardian, he was asked “if he thinks there is any way we could avoid leaving the EU.” His response was “Yes…I’m an optimist.”
He clarified his position as to how this would come about: “For it to have credibility with the British public, there would have to be a Labour manifesto offer, because the public would say, not unreasonably, ‘Hold on a sec, we voted to leave and you’re now sticking two fingers up at us.’”
Could this be Sadiq Khan signalling that certain Labour MP’s were looking at ways for the Labour Party to potentially offer a second referendum on Britain’s membership?
He further clarified his position: “You’d have to spell out, in black and white, what we’d do if we won the general election. What could trump the referendum result is us having a manifesto offer saying, we would not leave the EU, or we would have a second referendum.”
If this were the case, this would backtrack on the Labour Party’s previous position of it pushing for Britain to leave the E.U while retaining tariff-free access to the single market – a policy that proved popular.
It’s no surprise the London Mayor holds such a position, as both Labour Party Members and Londoner’s voted overwhelmingly for the UK to stay in the European Union.
The topic of E.U has split the Labour Party in the past, as famously in the 80’s, the ‘Gang of Four’ – Labour MP’s who were pro Britain staying in the European Economic Community (EEC – what the E.U was called at the time) split from the Labour Party to form the Social Democratic Party (SDP) as the then Labour leader, Michael Foot, was a eurosceptic – he was anti-EEC and proposed in the Labour manifesto of 1983 for Britain to leave the EEC. The split devastated the Labour Party as it split the vote, and despite Margaret Thatcher losing around 700,000 votes, she increased her majority and won a landslide victory.
by Berk Bektas
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