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Unions tell Labour to back Remain in second EU vote

Call for action: John McDonnell PICTURE: PA

UNION bosses have thrown their weight behind a second referendum and will back Remain if a Conservative prime minister negotiates a new Brexit deal to put to parliament.

After meeting in London, the unions also backed another public vote — and announced support for staying in the EU — if Britain is set for a no-deal Brexit.

But if Labour manages to gain power after a general election, the party would still try to negotiate a new deal and present that to another referendum, with Remain on the ballot paper.

While yesterday’s announcement does not officially change Labour party policy, it suggests Jeremy Corbyn ally and Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has fallen in line with Remain-backing unions such as Unison and the GMB.

The common position will now be presented to Mr Corbyn and is likely to be agreed when the shadow cabinet meets today.

It came as John McDonnell called on MPs to ‘occupy’ the Commons if Boris Johnson, favourite to be next prime minister, tries to suspend parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.

He suggested MPs could simply refuse to leave the chamber in the run-up to October 31 if Mr Johnson tries to go ahead with taking Britain out of the EU without an agreement.

The shadow chancellor said: ‘If Johnson undemocratically tries to force through a no-deal Brexit by proroguing I don’t see why MPs would have to set up alternative when the obvious solution is to occupy the Commons.’

His comments came as Remain-backing MPs prepared to launch their latest bid to stop a disorderly Brexit. Tory former minister Sam Gyimah told Sky News that ‘30 plus’ Conservative MPs are looking at various legislative options.