Keir Starmer, U.K. exiting the European Union spokesman for the opposition Labour party, arrives for cross-party Brexit talks at the Cabinet Office in London, U.K. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

Starmer Says Brexit Deal Needs Public Vote to Get Parliament Backing

(Bloomberg) --

Keir Starmer, the U.K. Labour Party’s Brexit secretary, said a referendum may have to be part of any package agreed with the Conservative Party in a cross-party deal, and that up to 150 Labour lawmakers would reject an agreement that didn’t include one.

“A significant number of Labour MPs, probably 120 if not 150, would not back a deal if it hasn’t got a confirmatory vote,” he told the Guardian in an interview. “If the point of the exercise is to get a sustainable majority, over several weeks or months of delivering on the implementation, you can’t leave a confirmatory vote out of the package.”

Starmer said that both sides are serious, but that if Prime Minister Theresa May sets a near-term date to leave the role, it could damage progress in the talks. Labour should, in “the coming days,” make an assessment whether talks are progressing, he said.

May is battling to get a Brexit deal approved by Parliament, and has said she will step down once a deal is reached. The government is set to resume talks with Labour this week.

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