The Bermondsey and Old Southwark Labour Party narrowly did not back a second EU referendum motion on Thursday night – instead reaffirming the current Labour party policy on Brexit.
A motion passed by the constituency Labour party (CLP) restated current Labour Party policy on Brexit, which does leave open the prospect of a public vote – if the party cannot secure a general election.
Jon Lansman, chair of Labour’s left-wing faction, Momentum, said: “Bermondsey & Old Southwark CLP votes against the People’s Vote and in support of the party leadership on Brexit.”
Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP, Neil Coyle, who supports a People’s Vote, said: “I’m in touch with many of the almost 2,000 Labour members in the constituency and thousands more local people.
“I know I represent the vast majority of their views. If there is no election, we need a new referendum to demonstrate people’s views in 2019 and that is Labour policy.”
However, at the same time, the Dulwich and West Norwood Labour party narrowly backed a People’s Vote motion in a break with the Labour party leadership’s current policy.
At the general meeting, members backed a second referendum motion by 61 votes to 58, labelling current circumstances “a national emergency.”
The motion said: “We urge all Labour MPs to support a public vote at the earliest opportunity and where necessary work to build cross-party numbers to achieve this objective.
“We also believe that the situation has changed radically since our policy was set at our September conference.”
It urged the party leadership to “take the initiative” on a referendum with an option to stay in the EU, arguing that many of Labour’s own members supported a second referendum.
Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, has previously publicly added her support to a second referendum.
“The distress amongst residents of Dulwich and West Norwood about Brexit is largely undiminished from 24 June 2016,” she said in December.
“I still receive letters and emails every single day from constituents who are profoundly concerned and anxious about Brexit; including from a majority of constituents who simply want the UK to stay in the EU.”
A Liberal Democrat bid to get Southwark Council to back a People’s Vote failed in November, after Labour councillors were whipped against supporting it.
Two Labour councillors – James Coldwell and Eleanor Kerslake – broke their party whip to support the referendum motion at full Council Assembly, but it did not pass.