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  1. ITV Report

Labour members vote to be neutral on Brexit until after a general election

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks

Labour members have voted to support Jeremy Corbyn's plan to stay neutral on Brexit until after a general election is held and a deal with the EU has been negotiated.

At the Labour Party Conference in Brighton delegates saved Mr Corbyn from humiliation when they voted to allow Brexit policy to be decided in a special conference at least three months after the election of a Labour government.

It came after a day of debate with passionate arguments being made both in favour of Mr Corbyn's policy, and supporting a grassroots motion which would have forced the party to campaign to remain in all circumstances.

After the vote calling for a Remain position was rejected, Labour members supporting the motion of neutrality began chanting Mr Corbyn's name.

  • ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston says many in the party will see the result as hard to sell at a general election

Amid stormy scenes in the hall, Labour delegates then approved so-called composite motion 14 - which again supported Mr Corbyn's Brexit position while not committing the party to pursue a particular view at a second Brexit referendum.

The result means Labour campaigners will face a challenge on the doorstep when voters in a general election seek clarity on Brexit.

It puts the party in a confused position, because, as ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand says: "Labour’s Brexit policy is an England-only one. In Scotland and Wales the party is unapologetically Remain."

As ITV News Political Correspondent Robert Peston says it was "three wins out of three" for Mr Corbyn.

Len McCluskey, leader of Britain's biggest union Unite, told Peston he was "thrilled to have just won three Brexit votes out of three".

He added: "I am pleased because I think you've seen huge support for Jeremy Corbyn.

"The media have been trying to say that he's under all kinds of pressure - it's been palpable to me in all of the fringe meetings I've been to that people support Jeremy."

Despite jubilation in the conference hall following the vote, there were dozens of upset Remain supporters.

Remain-backing shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said he was "disappointed" by the result.

At a conference fringe event he said: "I don't think there is a deal that's going to be as good as the deal we've got."

One Labour Remainer told ITV News: "I am beyond p****d off."

Another claimed the bid to campaign for Remain was lost in meetings held Sunday evening which decided the issue of Brexit policy should be split into two motions.

Both Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry used their keynote speeches to speak out in support of remaining in the EU. Credit: PA

The vote came after shadow cabinet ministers Emily Thornberry and Sir Keir both used their keynote conference speeches to say they would back Remain.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, whose anti-Brexit party hopes to benefit from Labour's neutral stance, said: "Jeremy Corbyn has again shown a total lack of leadership on Brexit and settled on yet another fudge on the biggest issue facing our country."

She added: "By refusing to say how the Labour Party would campaign in a second referendum, Jeremy Corbyn is letting down the millions of people who want to see the UK remain in the EU."