Katy Balls Katy Balls

Emily Thornberry’s Marr interview sparks more Brexit confusion for Labour

Today Emily Thornberry appeared on the Andrew Marr show to talk left-wing dictators and Brexit. Following in the footsteps of Jeremy Corbyn, the shadow foreign secretary praised the late Fidel Castro. She spoke fondly of what he had done for Cuba’s national health service — but conceded such benefits ‘came at a price’.

However, the comments most likely to land her in hot water come tomorrow related to Brexit. Ever since the referendum result, Labour have struggled to come up with a coherent position on leaving the EU. While Corbyn previously suggested his party would block Article 50 if single market membership was not a part of the deal, Tom Watson — Labour’s deputy leader — has insisted his party will not ‘hold this up’.

Today there was further confusion. Although John McDonnell has specifically ruled out supporting a second referendum — saying Labour ‘must not try to re-fight the referendum or push for a second vote’ — Thornberry appears to have other ideas. Asked if there could be another national vote, on Britain’s EU membership, Thornberry refused to rule it out:

‘I think that we need to take this in stages and at the moment we cannot even have a debate as to how it is that we are going to leave the European Union because the Government claim they are keeping their cards to their chest but we know they don’t have any cards and they don’t even know what game they are playing.’

This leaves Corbyn’s Labour in a pickle. Many of their supporters voted for Brexit, but judging from the mixed messages both today and since the vote, the party can’t be trusted to successfully communicate with one another — let alone deliver Brexit.

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