St Helens MP Conor McGinn backs People’s Vote on Brexit

Conor McGinn
Conor McGinn
Share this article

St Helens North MP Conor McGinn has backed a People’s Vote on Brexit after admitting that a general election is now “unlikely”.

Speaking at an event in Newton-le-Willows on Friday night, the Labour MP said he has “reluctantly reached the conclusion” that MPs may have to go “back to the people”.

Mr McGinn said he will campaign to remain if a new referendum is called, but said his focus is ensuring the UK does not crash out of the EU on March 29 without a deal.

Mr McGinn said: “I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we may need to go back to the people.

“And I don’t do that to attempt in any under-hand way to get us to stay in the European Union by the back door or by default.

“If we have a second referendum there should be an option to remain and I will be very vociferously championing for that.”

Mr McGinn said a general election is now “unlikely” after the government survived a no-confidence vote last week.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled the no-confidence motion after MPs voted overwhelmingly against Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Mr McGinn told members of the public at the Pied Bull Hotel that he voted against the deal because he believed it would leave his constituents poorer.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Service, Mr McGinn said he is open to other alternatives to a referendum, but said he feels this may be the only option if Parliament cannot reach a consensus.

Mr McGinn said: “I think the only way to resolve this is to have a second referendum, if we can’t get a general election.

“I’m open to persuasion about what the options on the ballot paper should be.

“Theresa May’s deal vs remain, that’s one of the options that’s being considered at the minute.

“But if it gets to the stage where we are 24 hours away from crashing out then I’ll have to look at how we can prevent that because my absolute priority is avoiding crashing out with no deal.

“So, I support a second referendum, after that to be honest with you.”

Mr McGinn’s comments come just days after it was revealed he was one of 71 MPs to sign a letter calling on Jeremy Corbyn to back a second referendum.

The Labour MP acknowledged there is a risk in taking this new stance, as 58% of voters in St Helens said they wanted to leave the EU in the first referendum in 2016.

“There are some people who are more enthusiastic about it than others,” Mr McGinn said.

“I would consider myself part of a group of MPs, like Graham Jones in Hyndburn, like Phil Wilson in Sedgefield and Bridget Phillipson in Sunderland.

“We represent leave seats.

“We’re working class Labour MPs and we understand the huge challenges around it, and we understand the huge risks around it as well.

“But we’ve come to the conclusion that if Parliament can’t sort it out then you’ve got to go back to the people about it.”