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John McDonnell 'prefers' general election over second referendum

John McDonnell warned against a second referendum. Credit: Peston on Sunday

John McDonnell would opt for a general election over a second referendum, he has revealed.

The shadow chancellor told Peston on Sunday another referendum would cause further divisions and described an election as a "better route".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has not ruled out calling for a second referendum once the Brexit terms are known.

Mr Corbyn insisted last month that he was not calling for a new national poll on withdrawal, but sidestepped questions on whether he could change his stance in the future.

Mr McDonnell warned that such a move would "divide the country again".

Jeremy Corbyn has not ruled out a second referendum. Credit: PA

The shadow chancellor cited "right wing xenophobia" as a potential probelm with a fresh referendum.

But he insisted Labout would "not turn our back on democratic engagement".

"Well I think better we have a general election. Better we have a general election On the issue, and all the other issues, because you then have a wider debate as well," Mr McDonnell said.

Mr Corbyn told Peston last month: "We are not supporting or calling for a second referendum. What we have called for is a meaningful vote in Parliament."

When it was put to Mr Corbyn that he was not saying he would never support another referendum, the Labour leader said: "We are not calling for one either".