James Forsyth

How long can Corbyn hold out against a second referendum?

How long can Corbyn hold out against a second referendum?
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Jeremy Corbyn is no enthusiast for a second referendum. He wants to, as his speech today suggested, hold further motions of no confidence in the government to try and force an election rather than have to decide on what other option he is going to support.

But having tried and failed in one confidence motion, this is a more difficult position for him to maintain. Vince Cable has now said that Corbyn can’t rely on Lib Dem support in future confidence motions and has suggested that other opposition parties will soon take the same view. The aim of this tactic, to make clear that Labour can’t force a general election and so Corbyn needs to decide on a second referendum.

Now, Labour are already attacking the Lib Dems for being prepared to prop up the Tories. But the question for Corbyn is how long can he hold out against a second referendum without Labour’s splits on this issue becoming more visible. Indeed, I suspect that if Brexit happens, a Labour split is almost inevitable as there are Labour MPs who would conclude that time is right for a new party and that they need to stop Corbyn from becoming PM.