What would need to happen for Labour to back a second Brexit vote?
By Joe Harker
The countdown to Brexit ticks ever closer to the end and the UK's direction is still unclear. Theresa May's deal was rejected by parliament, the Malthouse Compromise was adopted then swiftly ditched and Labour have offered to support the prime minister if she'll agree to five changes to the withdrawal agreement.
Jeremy Corbyn's offer has caused splits in his own party as some of his MPs don't support offering to collaborate with the Tories on Brexit. They are also unhappy that
Corbyn has said his party could still support a second referendum if May doesn't accept his five demands that would secure Labour's support, reports ITV News.
The Labour leader accused the prime minister of being "utterly cynical" and running down the clock to Brexit to increase the threat of no deal.
If his five demands are not accepted then Corbyn will revert to his plan of pushing for a general election and if that doesn't work considering other options on the table, of which a second referendum is one.
However, other figures in the Labour party including deputy leader Tom Watson have gone further and said they will definitely be calling for a second referendum if May rejects Corbyn's offer, rather than just considering it as one of the potential options.
This is not official policy but Corbyn has faced a backlash from his party for offering to help May with other senior figures including shadow chancellor John McDonnell saying they would have "to go back to the people" on the matter of Brexit. He said it would be the only alternative to accepting Labour's offer, ruling out another election.
The Counter Claim:
Corbyn has denied that he would have to back a second referendum if May did not accept his offer, contradicting a claim made by shadow Brexit minister Matthew Pennycook, who said there were "no other credible options" left to try and prevent a no deal Brexit.
The Labour leader said there "must be a general election" if May didn't agree to accept his deal, it is still his primary focus contrary to Pennycook's suggestion .
When he wrote a letter to the prime minister urging her to support his deal there were two major omissions, first was the requirement that any Brexit deal secured would bring the same benefits as being in the single market. Second was a mention of Labour's commitment to keeping a second referendum on the table.
Backing another referendum if May doesn't accept Corbyn's offer is not official party policy and the Labour leader has always seemed unwilling to embrace the idea if he cannot get a general election.
Other senior members of the party have been more vocal on the matter and at the Labour party conference where the promise to keep a second referendum on the table was made there was a lot of wrangling and debate over the wording.
Labour have tabled an amendment that would force May to hold a vote on her revised Brexit deal by February 26, reports the Daily Mirror. If the amendment passes and the prime minister does not accept Corbyn's demands then she would be expected to lose the vote. Attempts to secure "alternative arrangements" have failed.
If May loses the vote then Corbyn's intention is to call for another election, something he attempted in January after the prime minister's deal was defeated by the largest parliamentary margin in history.
If he cannot get another election then Labour will consider other options on the table, including a second referendum. However, Corbyn has denied this would be the default option and continues to champion a general election.
That's a lot of "ifs" to get past and it depends on the Labour leader changing his mind. For it to become official policy for Labour to back a second vote much would need to happen and minds would need to change. There isn't a lot of time to make that a reality, nor for there to be any chance of effectively enforcing it.
Even with official support from Labour a second referendum may not have enough political clout in the House of Commons to pass. Two Labour MPs have proposed that parliament approves the prime minister's deal on the condition that it be put to a second referendum against revoking Article 50 and staying in the EU.
According to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act an early election can only be triggered by a successful vote of no confidence or if two thirds of the House of Commons votes for a motion. The prime minister could face another vote of no confidence in her government if her deal is defeated