Labour will help deliver a “sensible British compromise” over Brexit, John McDonnell has said, amid uncertainty over how many MPs could be prepared to defy the leadership and vote against triggering article 50.
The shadow chancellor said Labour would aim to defend jobs, pay and living standards when the formal trigger for leaving the EU is finally brought before the Commons.
Jeremy Corbyn faced repeated questions yesterday over his vow that Labour would not block Britain’s departure from the EU but his refusal to confirm he would impose a whip on MPs to vote for Brexit.
The debate over MPs’ response to article 50 will intensify tomorrow when the Supreme Court rules on the government’s appeal against the High Court judgement that ministers must give the Commons a vote on triggering Brexit.
Yesterday McDonnell, Corbyn’s closest political ally, said Labour would not back a “kamikaze” departure from the EU which hit the economy.
“Jeremy Corbyn has taken a rather courageous position in that he recognises that you have to bring the country together at some stage and it will be over a traditional British compromise,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.
“Somewhere along the line there will be a sensible compromise and it will be Labour that is driving that compromise.”
Both McDonnell and Corbyn have said Labour will seek to amend the government Bill which takes Britain out of the EU.