'British workers never voted to be poorer' - Brendan Howlin backs calls for UK to hold second EU referendum

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin has said that he hopes that there will be a second referendum in the UK on Brexit.

It comes as Mr Howlin prepares to attend the three-day British Labour Party Conference in Liverpool where MPs, MEPs, union leaders and activists will attempt to put pressure on the party to throw its weight behind a so-called People's Vote.

The party's leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has said he would be prepared to back a second referendum on the European Union if activists at his party conference forced a change in Labour policy.

Mr Howlin said: “I warmly welcome statements by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, that they would acquiesce if a majority of Labour members voted in favour of a second referendum on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union.

“Let’s face it, two years ago, few people knew much about how the EU’s customs union or single market operate, never mind the more obscure agreements underpinning air transport or radioactive materials often used in our medical devices.

“In any democracy, people should always have the right to deliberate and vote again when they have gained access to new information or had a chance to understand more clearly the implications of a decision.

A recent poll found 86% of Labour members in the UK think voters should have the final say on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, and 90% would now vote to remain in the EU.

Mr Howlin said: “British workers certainly never voted to be poorer. And recent opinion polls suggest that there has been a major shift in people’s views, with the vast majority of Labour members in favour of a second vote, and indeed in favour of remaining inside the European Union.

“From an Irish perspective, there is no such thing as a good Brexit, only damage limitation, as Ireland’s economy is so closely bound up with the UK’s."

"Also, a hardened border in Northern Ireland would profoundly disrupt social and economic wellbeing there.

“Ireland would warmly welcome an outcome where the British people voted to remain in the EU, and I am confident that other European countries would likewise welcome such a vote.”

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