No, Corbyn didn’t say Labour backs a new Brexit referendum on Marr (video)

Commentators claim Corbyn interview signalled ‘significant shift’ in Labour’s position on new referendum
Jeremy Corbyn talks to Andrew Marr in Liverpool

Social media, fuelled by media commentators, have been claiming that a Jeremy Corbyn interview broadcast on the BBC’s Marr programme signals a ‘significant shift’ in Labour policy: a move to complete backing for a new referendum.

This is untrue.

Personal preference

Corbyn told Marr that,

I want us to get a good deal and then have a decision in the public after that

However, he was answering a question about his personal preference – and does not appear to have been referring to an in/out referendum at all.

Corbyn’s comment quoted above – not shown on the programme but included in the transcript of the interview – was in response to Marr’s question, “Do you personally want to leave the EU?

Corbyn’s response must be understood in that context – and his reference to a “decision in the public” understood in the context of the rest of the interview, where he explains what kind of ‘decision’ he was talking about:

‘Not a re-run’

Corbyn is explicit that he was not referring to an in/out referendum:

You present the whole thing as though it’s a re-run of 2016. It’s not. What it is is a situation we now face of what we do, of the new relations with Europe in the future.

Corbyn makes it clear that any new public vote – if one happens at all – would be on the nature of the UK’s new relationship with the EU, not a ‘re-run’ of the 2016 ‘leave v remain’ referendum.

Deal or no-deal

Corbyn then goes on – throughout the rest of the relevant section of the interview, as shown above – to contrast a potential ‘good deal’ with the no-deal, disastrous Brexit of hard-right Tories. One in which the aim would be a fire-sale of public assets to the US under Trump and a bonfire of our rights.

In context, the issue discussed on Marr – but not presented as that by the wider media – was a potential ‘deal or no-deal’ public vote; one about how the UK leaves and what the future relationship with the EU will be – not about whether the UK leaves.

This fits entirely with the information available from the Labour Party today, which indicates that Labour’s position is unchanged – the party continues to prioritise a general election, but is keeping the option of a public vote open if Labour can’t secure either a general election or a Brexit deal along the lines of Labour’s plan.

Highly-placed Labour sources went further, confirming that any kind of new public vote is still only an option and that Labour’s
next preference, if a general election can’t be secured, is a “sensible” compromise to break the deadlock, prioritising the protection of jobs, rights and living standards.


Yet again, the waters are being muddied by a combination of people hearing what they wanted to hear in today’s interview – and some seizing on it for their own purposes.

Labour’s position is unchanged – and Labour activists need to focus on reminding people that Corbyn and his team are trying to unite people across the Brexit divide. Only Labour is in a position to do that – and only Labour is even trying to.

Whether you’re from Bolton or London, the real issues are the same – leaving or remaining will not solve those fundamental problems in the way our society works.

A change to a Labour government will – and a message to people reminding them how Labour speaks to the issues they face every day in real life will endure long after Brexit is a page in a history book.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. The fact that JC changing his mind several times within the space of a few minutes during an interview can be classed as ‘Labour’s position is unchanged’ is the problem.

    1. For me the key part is when Jeremy Corbyn states that the British media are defining people in how they voted in the referendum.

      Defining people by how they voted creates a barrier. Ask yourself who is creating the barriers and who benefits?

      When I vote in any election whether it is local general or European I vote for my children’s future, my moral values and equality.

      1. Heart12 19/05/2019 at 9:59 pm

        “When I vote in any election whether it is local general or European I vote for my children’s future, my moral values and equality.”

        Me too – But I find that an essential part of reaching an informed decision on this is to know what I’m voting for.

      2. ” an essential part”

        … it’s actually *the* essential part. Coffin-dodgers like me will have a brief time to contemplate the debris. The kids and grand-kids will have to pick up the pieces in perpetuity.

  2. I don’t think he changed his mind at all. Simply rephrasing Labour policy. – unchanged – to a man who deliberately misconstrues when he is allowed to.
    Hardly rocket science.
    Hardly even news.

      1. I watched it all and Andrew Heenan is absolutely right.

      2. OK, I didn’t see the full interview on Sunday morning but now I’ve read the transcript, thanks SteveH.
        “AM: You would have seen probably some briefing in the papers this morning, the Saturday papers suggesting that Theresa May is going to come back to you with various offers”
        suggests a recording on Saturday.

        What I took from the programme was that Marrdy had had dinner with May and she’d asked him as he passed the port to tie Corbyn down on a second vote so she could alienate half of Labour’s voters with a massive MSM smear campaign so she’d gain in the polls and try a last chance snap election.
        Probably offered him a knighthood before he got “overtired” and groped her.
        Same old bollocks, nothing to see here.

    1. It’s a pity : he’s wrestling with what would always be an inconsistency : that there is no such animal as ‘a good deal’, and time is ticking. Only the status quo offers that as a starting point for advance, and there is no percentage in inadvertantly facilitating Tory policy.

      The illogic has always been the elephant in the room, where an apparently reasonable tactic would eventually run into the brick wall of reality, and would undermine Corbyn’s main quality – his difference from many politicians.

      It’s crept up on him and has bitten him on the arse – as warned – and is having electoral consequences. He needs better advisers, I reckon; the transition from honest rebel backbencher to leader requires a more convincing and wider support base – not just neophyte amateurs.

      The upside is that he has managed to survive the most biased partisan media campaign that I have seen. The downside is that he has not found a strategy to get beyond that.

      1. His ‘advisers’ are the membership, via conference. I’m not sure why you can’t get your head around the fact that he doesn’t get to change policy to please recalcitrant interviewers, nor as a knee-jerk reaction to opinion polls, or dissident MPs.
        Nor, strangely enough, does he want too.

      2. Andrew … surely you know what I mean?

        If ‘the membership’ were ‘advisers’ in that sense, unambiguously supporting a second vote. It would be very interesting to actually have an up-to-date poll of the membership.

        Conference isn’t a group of ‘advisors’ – it’s a collection of delegates from membership of various arms of the Party that meets once a year.

        But even given that caveat, the advice is to go for a third referendum now that the other options have been exhausted.

  3. Sorry but his response was not good enough and the party’s attitude with shadow ministers who are promoting a 2nd referendum is also not good enough. The only thing Labour should be saying “on mass” is – We will see what deal the government brings and take in from there because we are not in power and don’t have a say on any other path. They should have been saying that for years.

  4. The interview with Lesley Laird the Labour Party’s Shadow Scottish Secretary was equally ‘well received’. This masterclass of obfuscation will have hurt the Scottish vote no end

    “We watched the whole of the Labour shadow Scottish Secretary’s interview on this morning’s Sunday Politics Scotland, and can confirm that this is a wholly accurate representation of what she said on it with regard to Labour’s position on Brexit.

    So for those of you keeping score: Labour does NOT support a second referendum, does NOT support the current deal, does NOT support no deal, but WOULD vote for the current deal if it included a second referendum, and would INSIST on a second referendum on any alternative deal.

    Honestly, we have no idea why anyone’s still confused

    1. “Honestly, we have no idea why anyone’s still confused”
      There’s a world of difference between being confused and choosing to be confused.

      1. Andrew Heenan 19/05/2019 at 7:07 pm

        Unfortunately if you Google “Marr Corbyn Interview” for today it reveals that practically everyone else is confused as well.

      2. But it’s not surprising. The policy *is* unclear to the general electorate, and has gradually become more so. It’s not helped by Brexiteers trying to argue that black is white, when, following the elimination of the other unviable alternatives, the Party has one clear option left – a further vote.

        It’s impossible to sit on a fence and look comfortable.

  5. The whole of the last nearly 3 years has been about not giving the Tories and the MSM anything to attack other than “Labour won’t give us an answer we can get our teeth into.”
    Nothing wrong with letting them own their own disaster when they’re desperate to share the blame with us – and it’s generally considered a good idea not to show your hand or your wallet to card sharps and crooks.

      1. Use-by date as far as I’m concerned is when the Tories go for no deal, call for Ref2, call a snap GE, or in 2022.
        They’re not gaining ground and the rest of the parties are nonentities as far as a GE is concerned.
        EU elections are a fuck-you-all – a blip.

  6. Did JC do the interview with Marr before or after the rally in the park? Because when in the Park he definitely indicated that we would now go for a confirmatory vote.

    1. This is just a guess but at the start of the full video that I have linked to above the sun appears to be setting behind the Liver Building which is to the NW of the BBC Radio Studios this would indicate that the interview took place late in the day.

      1. Ooops got that one wrong its a spurious reflection on the recording.

      2. Except that wasn’t conducted in the bbc radio murkeyside studios which are on Hanover St in the city centre; it looks suspiciously like the Seadrill office block at Mann Island which is to the south of the ‘three graces’

        As I couldn’t make out any shadows from buildings or other structures I couldn’t discern or estmate what time of day it was.

        No matter. I heard nothing unequivocally confirming any 2nd ref.

      3. The Toffee (597) 20/05/2019 at 12:30 pm

        No matter. I heard nothing unequivocally confirming any 2nd ref.

        I heard nothing unequivocally ruling out a CV, did you?

        It would be advisable for you to confirm that you are correct by checking the full transcript of the interview. We wouldn’t want you to make a fool of yourself again, would we?

      4. ”I heard nothing unequivocally ruling out a CV, did you?”

        Do us ALL the courtesy of reading the op.

        Especially this:

        ”In context, the issue discussed on Marr – but not presented as that by the wider media – was a potential ‘deal or no-deal’ public vote; one about how the UK leaves and what the future relationship with the EU will be – not about whether the UK leaves.”

        Confirmatory vote = A vote on whether we accept/reject any deal reached and LEAVE the EU

        Second referendum = referendum on whether to leave or remain.

        Got that? Good.

      5. The Marr show is broadcast Sunday morning 10am so to avoid the possibility of being overtaken by events I’d guess they’d want to avoid shooting it the day before.
        I believe pre-recording would be normal but I imagine their ideal would be earlier the same morning.
        Possibly also a greater likelihood of busy people being available early mornings?
        No inside knowledge whatever, just theorising.

      6. David McNiven 20/05/2019 at 1:49 pm

        I concur that what you describe would be normal practice but on this occasion Andrew Marr clearly states in his intro that the interview took place the previous day in Liverpool where JC was giving a speech.

      7. Yep, something else I missed… still, the logic was sound and that’s the important thing.
        Anyone can come up with the right answers if they cheat and do actual research ‘~’ 🙂

    1. I think the description of “illuminating” is stretching it a bit and it would be difficult to describe her as a fan of Labour or JC.

    2. It only illuminates the fact she’s a fuckin’idiot – the hijacking of democracy has been happening for centuries and if words used by Erdogan are similar to words used by real democrats that just proves they all use democracy as cover for doing what they want.
      Making value judgements about “remaniacs” based on a few word associations is puerile.

    3. ” the similarities between the current despot of Turkey and those demanding a second EU referendum:”

      The proposition is totally bizarre and idiotic. All you can glean from it is that the individual making the claim has nothing to say.

  7. Jeremy made his position quite clear, it’s such a pity that so many people are brainwashed by the establishment and cannot read beyond what they are fed on a daily basis!

  8. Some interesting results from the latest Survation Poll (the accurate one, apparently)

    Q4. Which party will you vote for in the May 2019 European Parliament election? Base: Respondents Likely to vote

    Conservative – 12%
    Labour – 21%
    Liberal Democrats – 10%
    Scottish National Party – 3%
    Change UK (TIG) – 2%
    UKIP – 3%
    The Brexit Party – 23%
    Green Party – 4%
    Sinn Féin – 0%
    Democratic Unionist Party – 1%
    English Democrats – 1%
    Plaid Cymru – 1%
    Scottish Green Party – 0%
    Others – 1%
    Undecided -17%
    Refused – 0%

  9. Skwawkbox: “Whether you’re from Bolton or London, the real issues are the same – leaving or remaining will not solve those fundamental problems in the way our society works.

    A change to a Labour government will – and a message to people reminding them how Labour speaks to the issues they face every day in real life will endure long after Brexit is a page in a history book.”

    I agree completely, obviously.
    I’d ask one question though – will leaving the EU make it easier to give our whole attention and adequate funding to solving those fundamental problems or will it take a lot of our attention and treasure away from that?

    1. Your last question is the key one. And, given that any speculation on future outcomes is about assessing the odds, I wouldn’t be going down to BetFred to put money on the viability of Brexit. Not with the winded nag looking like it does to anyone who keeps an eye on form.

      The actuality is that the whole shambolic plot will be a continuing distraction from those ‘fundamental problems’.

      1. Y’all get that my question was rhetorical, right?
        How could anyone doubt it, given the billions already spent on this rained-out shitshow?

  10. The S*N: “Even Mr Farage’s fiercest political allies defended his right to free speech after the incident in Newcastle this afternoon.”

    Huh? You mean… what?

    1. Ex-PM Mr Blair, a passionate anti-Brexiteer, told LBC that attacking your opponents is “horrible and ridiculous and people shouldn’t do it”.
      He added: “I can’t stand this, I really feel very strongly about this. The guy is entitled to his point of view.
      “We’ve got to get out of this situation where if you disagree with someone you can stop them speaking, you can disrupt their meetings, you can throw things over them.”

      1. I feel quite ill.

        I actually agree with Bliar…

      2. Terrible isn’t it?
        But at least you’ve had the courage to acknowledge it.

      3. I just tried Googling “Blair comment on Corbyn assault”
        Not one result. Good to know how even-handed his sympathy for victims of violence is.

        Tony Blair joins condemnation of Corbyn for REFUSING to hold Brexit …
        Tony Blair says Labour is different party under Jeremy Corbyn | Metro …
        Tony Blair launches most critical attack yet on Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit
        Jeremy Corbyn hits back at Tony Blair’s criticism of his Labour Party …
        Tony Blair says Jeremy Corbyn was wrong to snub Theresa May’s …
        Tony Blair: Even if you hate me, please don’t take Labour over the cliff …
        Jeremy Corbyn reacts to Tony Blair criticism – BBC News
        Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘confusing’ approach to Brexit | The …

      4. David McNiven 20/05/2019 at 7:25 pm

        Of course I agree with you, the scales of justice are not weighted in his favour. I was simply making the point that not everything he believes in is wrong.

  11. SteveH, I wasn’t disagreeing with your comment – and of course people shouldn’t be assaulted and of course not everything anyone believes is wrong – I was just pointing out that he made no similar condemnation (that a quick Google could find) of the guy who assaulted Jeremy recently.
    I think we’re on the same page here.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: