Labour could go into a general election without specifying whether the party would support remaining or leaving the EU in a second referendum, a new draft document has revealed.
The proposal will be submitted to the party’s governing body the NEC at the annual conference in Brighton.
The NEC will discuss the motion on Sunday and, if it passes, pro-EU activists fear it would stop calls by members for the party to back Remain.
Shadow Treasury minister Clive Lewis has slammed the draft statement, branding it ‘plain wrong’ and calling on members to ‘rally on the conference floor’.
In the document, Labour also claims it will secure a ‘sensible’ deal on leaving the EU within three months of coming to power, before holding a second referendum on whether to accept the deal or cancel Brexit three months later.
The party claims it would get Brexit ‘sorted one way or another’ if elected.
Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn and Brighton Council leader, Nancy Platt walk with young party members along Brighton Promenade ahead of the party conference today
The draft statement reads: ‘After three years of shambolic Tory (Conservative) negotiations and parliamentary deadlock, a Labour government will get Brexit sorted one way or another within six months of coming to power.’
The statement, which outlines Labour’s intentions in the event of a general election. has yet to be agreed at their annual conference.
Though the party’s stance on a deal and second referendum is expected to be accepted by members, the decision to remain neutral over Brexit could trigger anger.
Several members, including many high-profile MPs, want the party to officially adopt a Remain stance on Brexit.
Under the draft statement, however, party leadership would resist these calls.
Clive Lewis slammed the plan and said: ‘This move is just plain wrong. How can this be defended?
A draft document highlighting Labour policy on Brexit suggests that the party will not campaign for or against leaving the EU while fighting a general election
Jeremy Corbyn is mobbed by the press as her arrives for the annual Labour Party conference today, held in Brighton
Clive Lewis, the Labour shadow Treasury minister, has slammed the proposal and accused the leadership of shutting down democratic debate
‘We, the left, took over the leadership of this party promising internal democracy, promising a new kind of politics.
‘And yet here we are, with a leadership apparently determined to shut down democratic debate on the crucial issue of the day, probably relying on union bloc votes to outvote the members. It’s not what we signed up for.
‘We now need to rally on the conference floor – if it passes, delegates should mobilise to vote against the NEC statement so the Brexit motions can be heard and democratically debated.’
It comes as a motion to dismiss Tom Watson as Labour deputy leader at the conference was withdrawn.
At a meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee last night, Momentum founder Jon Lansman proposed a motion to abolish the post of deputy leader, currently held by Watson, citing his disloyalty over Brexit.
The move shocked many in the party with former leader Tony Blair blasting it as ‘undemocratic and politically dangerous’.
The motion was withdrawn this morning after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn submitted an alternative proposal which will see the post of deputy leader ‘reviewed’ instead.
Watson admits that he had no prior warning of the motion and said he wasn’t given an opportunity to defend himself.
Speaking with Nick Robinson on BBC Radio 4 this morning, the Labour deputy said: ‘These kind of things happen in Venezuela, not in UK politics.’
Mr Corbyn refused to say when he first knew about the attempt to oust Mr Watson, which began at an NEC meeting on Friday night.
Nor would he say whether he had full confidence in his deputy, instead saying: ‘Tom Watson is the deputy leader of the party and I enjoy working with him.’
He told reporters: ‘The NEC agreed this morning that we are going to consult on the future of diversifying the deputy leadership position to reflect the diversity of our society.’