A major split among so-called ‘centrists’ has opened up this afternoon after comments by right-wing Labour MP Stephen Kinnock in which he condemned a second referendum – euphemistically referred to by its supporters as a “people’s vote” (PV) – and put forward an alternative that would see the UK leave the EU on ‘Norway plus’ terms, rather than remaining in the EU, as supporters of PV hope.
Kinnock told BBC News that May’s deal is as good as doomed, that he hoped to push a ‘Norway Plus’ option and had a number of Tory MPs onside as well as Labour – and he dismissed the option of a PV as ‘very divisive’:
Tory MP George Freeman then told BBC News that several Labour MPs – as he himself also was – were backing Kinnock’s plan, including Caroline Flint. Flint had previously hinted that she might support May’s deal.
Tory MPs backing it or favourably inclined toward it include, according to the BBC, Amber Rudd and Michael Gove.
Stephen Kinnock confirmed to the SKWAWKBOX last week that he intended to vote against May’s deal.
‘Norway Plus’ is not, of course, a new idea – it was one of the options discussed during the referendum campaign and its aftermath.
But the peeling away of Kinnock and others from any perceived support for PV toward a ‘Norway Plus’ status outside the EU is a clear split among centrists, who have previously fallen into a main ‘stop Brexit’/PV camp and one inclined to back any deal for fear of offending Labour leave voters in ‘northern heartland’ seats.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn continues to steer a calm course of clear opposition to May’s feeble excuse for a Brexit deal and to push for the general election that represents British people’s most realistic hope of achieving a sensible Brexit – one led by a Labour government.
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