Yorkshire-based former Labour frontbenchers have demanded a so-called People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, piling yet more pressure on Jeremy Corbyn ahead of the party’s conference which begins this weekend.
The MPs said the risks Brexit poses to Yorkshire are “very high” with a big concentration of steel workers, as well as chemical industries, aviation, financial services, food manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and electronics sectors in which “jobs are threatened by a botched Brexit”.
Mr Corbyn will come under massive pressure to back the People’s Vote campaign for a fresh Brexit referendum tomorrow in Liverpool, as party members, campaigners and activists are joined by MP David Lammy and GMB union general secretary Tim Roache for a march and rally in the city demonstrating support for vote on the final deal.
And the open letter signed by Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, and Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith will only add to the pressure.
In the letter, the MPs say they are not looking to re-run the 2016 referendum on EU membership, which they said Leave won off the back of promising a “massive budget boost for the NHS” and maintaining trade relations with the EU, while signing free trade deals around the world.
“We can now see none of these things are going to happen, the MPs said.
“We have not even left, and prices are rising as the pound takes a hammering on the foreign exchanges, our NHS is in crisis as European doctors and nurses leave and we are having to stockpile medicines.
“Locally, jobs in Yorkshire’s manufacturing, financial services, and engineering industries are under threat as companies cancel investment plans, and contemplate moving to the EU, and we face a £50bn divorce bill which our children will still be paying when they are pensioners.
“It is because none of these things were known about or discussed in 2016 that we think people – and not just politicians in Westminster – should have the right to decide if any Brexit deal the Government brings back is good enough in a People’s Vote.”
Meanwhile, Labour will pledge to “put equality centre stage” as the conference kicks off today.
Among plans to stop millions of people being “held back” by “stubborn inequalities”, Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Dawn Butler is set to tell delegates the party will establish a standalone department for her brief with a Minister at the Cabinet table.
Ms Butler will tell the Labour Women’s conference on Saturday that equality should no longer be an “afterthought”, saying: “So far we have seen seven different Ministers for equality tagged onto four different departments and a budget that’s nearly been halved.
“This proves the Tories are not taking equalities seriously. By establishing a Department for Women and Equalities, Labour will ensure equalities is the common thread running through its government. The next Labour government will put equality centre stage.
”She will also announce plans to introduce a requirement for all employers to have a domestic abuse employment policy and provide 10 days’ paid leave for victims, if Labour came to power.
“Employers have a duty of care to employees experiencing domestic abuse and should put in place a range of workplace policies to help victims,” Ms Butler is expected to say.
“This crucial time will allow women to leave their abusive partners safely, get the help, protection and support they need, knowing their livelihood is secure.
“These 10 days could literally help save the lives of those women.”
And Ms Butler will call for a “localised” approach to tackling domestic abuse, with a “national oversight mechanism to set quality standards for refuge provision and support”.
Labour’s conference - running under the slogan “Rebuilding Britain, for the many, not the few” - will start on Sunday, and close on Wednesday with a major speech by Mr Corbyn.