Raab Urges U.K. Labour to Clarify Stance on New Brexit Vote

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Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab accused the main opposition Labour Party of weakening the government’s negotiating position with the European Union by refusing to rule out a second referendum on Brexit.

In a letter Wednesday, Raab asked Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer to explain how his party intended to extend Article 50 -- the mechanism by which Britain exits the bloc -- in order to allow time for a fresh vote.

His letter comes after Labour’s Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, became the latest senior party figure to suggest deferring Britain’s departure from the bloc.

Under leader Jeremy Corbyn, Labour has been trying to tread a middle path on Brexit, recognizing that while most districts the party represents backed leaving the EU, the majority of its supporters nationwide voted to remain. But U.K. labor unions have pressured the leadership to change its stance and back a second vote. So far, Corbyn and his colleagues have said only that they’re keeping the option on the table.

“Labour’s approach would invite the worst deal and take the country back to square one,” Raab wrote. “More than two years on from the referendum, with the right deal within our reach, the vast majority of British people will see that instead of trying to make Brexit a success, Labour are only interested in trying to frustrate the process.”

Labour said in a statement it “respects the result of the referendum,” and isn’t calling for a second vote. “With only weeks of Brexit negotiating time to go and no progress in sight, people would expect Dominic Raab to be getting on with the job of negotiating for Britain -- not wasting time writing letters to the opposition.”

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