Labour frontbencher Owen Smith backs another European Union referendum

Jeremy Corbyn at Labour’s local elections campaign launch in Manchester

Jeremy Corbyn at Labour’s local elections campaign launch in Manchester

The report's authors attribute the sharp rise over the past two years to a combination of controversy over the Brexit referendum and negotiations as well as the more left-wing domestic agenda embraced by Labour under Corbyn.

Labour's shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer has said the party was "not calling for a referendum at this stage".

'On May 3, people across England will have the chance to send an unmistakable message to this Government that enough is enough, ' the Labour leader said. "Because the economic border that a hard Brexit would impose on Ireland would be the hardest ever".

But she warned Jeremy Corbyn's party could not guarantee those votes again if they continued to refuse to put "clear blue or red water" between themselves and the Tories on the Brexit issue.

Conservative Brexit Minister Steve Baker accused Labour of "trying to frustrate the Brexit process".

After the announcement of his appointment to the Northern Ireland post, he said: "As we leave the European Union, ensuring there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is of paramount importance and this will be my number one priority".

"We want a strong relationship with the single market with no drop-offs in rights, standards or protections", he added.

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When the PT ran its original article, a Labour spokesperson said: "The Labour Party does not comment on internal selection matters", but after the story was today picked up by the Jewish Chronicle it emerged that the party has now suspended Mr Bull, meaning he will no longer be able to stand for the party in the local elections. My focus is on ensuring we are challenging the government appropriately on the negotiations with the EU.

Mr Smith had also called for the United Kingdom to remain in the single market and for the British people to be given a vote on the final withdrawal deal struck with Brussels - neither of which are Labour Party positions.

Labour's deputy leader, Tom Watson, did not rule out a second referendum, in a December 2017 interview with BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics, but added: "What we actually want is a negotiated settlement".

He said in a tweet that his concerns about Brexit, which he outlined in a Guardian article, were shared by other supporters and members of the Labour party.

However, Smith rejoined Labour's top team after the challenge and is understood to have had good relations with the leadership since.

"We have the right to ask if Brexit remains the right choice for the country".

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