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Pressure grows on Labour leaders to back second 'People's Vote' on Brexit deal

Credit: PA

Pressure is mounting on Labour leaders to change their official position on Brexit, as more MPs broke ranks to join a campaign calling for a second referendum on the deal put forward by government.

Sixteen more Labour MPs, this time all from London - which voted to remain - joined forces with Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and two other Lib Dem MPs to warn that a bad deal risks damaging the capital for generations to come.

They said they were not seeking to overturn the Brexit decision, but to ensure the public got a say in what the UK's exit from the EU should look like.

It comes despite party leader Jeremy Corbyn repeatedly insisting that Labour does not support a second referendum, and firing Owen Smith as shadow Northern Ireland secretary for proposing one.

The open letter, published in the Independent, said:

We accept that the country as a whole voted narrowly to leave. The government has a mandate to negotiate a Brexit deal.

What the government absolutely does not have is a mandate to force a bad Brexit deal on our city that could damage London for generations to come.

So much of the economy of London relies on being in the single market and the customs union, and on freedom of movement. From the tech sector to finance, from construction to culture, London benefits hugely from being part of a larger European market.

Outside of this European market, our city will suffer.

– London MPs

The letter - signed by MPs including Mike Gapes, Wes Streeting, Stella Creasy and David Lammy - goes on to state that the terms of Brexit have never been put to the public, and would not be known until Prime Minister Theresa May returns to the House of Commons to present it later this year.

"It cannot be right that 650 MPs alone decide whether to accept the deal, without any say for Londoners or people across the country," the letter adds.

"That’s why we think it’s essential that there is a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, so that 65 million people can have their voices heard as well."

It follows in the wake of similar letters from Labour MPs in Wales, the Northeast and Merseyside.