Labour Divided On Brexit As Deputy Leader "Storms Out" Of Shadow Cabinet Meeting

30 April 2019, 15:11 | Updated: 30 April 2019, 15:13

Mr Watson reportedly left the meeting when he wasn't shown the EU election manifesto.
Mr Watson reportedly left the meeting when he wasn't shown the EU election manifesto. Picture: PA

Labour's deputy leader has walked out of a shadow cabinet meeting on Tuesday after not being shown their EU election manifesto.

Tom Watson left the meeting after Jeremy Corbyn refused to allow shadow cabinet members to see a draft policy on a fresh Brexit referendum.

Shadow cabinet members were only shown the document on a big screen, rather than being handed hard copies of the text, the Independent reported.

Mr Watson wants the party to explicitly commit to a second referendum ahead of next month's ballot.

Hitting back at reports that he "stormed out", Mr Watson tweeted: “I politely asked if the shadow cabinet were going to see the draft words and was told ‘no’.  

“So I left to walk to the NEC where the document will be available and the decision will be made.”

So far, leader Jeremy Corbyn has only said a fresh public vote on Brexit must remain among the options.

Watson had called out on social media for party members to write to the NEC and demand a second, so-called, Final Say Vote on any Brexit deal.

Speaking to broadcasters as he arrived at the meeting, Mr Watson said his colleagues on the NEC had been inundated with thousands of emails from Labour members saying the only way to break the impasse in Parliament is a people's vote on any deal that parliament can agree. 

"We have to listen to members, we have to listen to our European parliamentary candidates who support this, but there will be a debate at the shadow cabinet and the NEC - we’ll see what comes out of it," the Labour Deputy leader said.

GMB general secretary Tim Roache called on the Labour NEC to abide by party policy. "Any final Brexit deal must be put to the people for them to decide whether or not it’s acceptable. A tradition that has always applied in our movement," he said.