16th January 2019

Keir Starmer speaks in the House of Commons, the house bubbling with a mutinous energy.


Mr. Speaker, the prime minister yesterday made history, suffering the largest defeat for a sitting government ever achieved in British politics. A defeat of some 432 votes to 202, rejecting her deal governing our new relationship with the European Union. Quite an achievement in the mother of all parliaments. And yet, Mr. Speaker, even after this humiliating moment for our prime minister, we see not a shred of contrition.

We still see no recognition of the trouble that her government is in. No understanding of the complications this has caused, let alone the reputational damage our country has endured throughout this long drawn out parliamentary process, a series of defeats that have left the very fabric of Britain almost torn beyond repair.

Where is her self-reflection? Where is her introspection?

She lacks a strength so few have in politics; the ability to know when to stop.

So, Mr. Speaker, I now state that our position must change. Labour is a thriving party of half a million members. We are a democratic party, whose leadership is dedicated to carrying out the will of its membership.

At our conference, in September, we passed a motion that bound our leadership to call for a second referendum, if a general election was impossible.

It is now painfully clear to anyone paying attention that Mrs. May does not have the strength to call a general election. If she did not call one after those cataclysmic results were announced yesterday, what could possibly prompt her to in the future?

So the Labour Party must change its position. We now call for a second referendum through an opposition motion, and invite any member from other parties who feels we must put this decision back to the people, to join us through the lobbies.

The Labour party does not abandon its members, and will not abandon our country.


He sits down, to a cacophony of noise, and to flung papers, as some SNP members walk across the chamber to congratulate him. Jeremy Corbyn looks on ahead, at a similarly inert Theresa May.