Jeremy Corbyn faces battle with Labour members over Brexit policy

Jeremy Corbyn faces a battle over Labour's Brexit policy later as members choose between two competing strategies at the party's annual conference

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn faces a battle over Labour's Brexit policy later as members choose between two competing strategies at the party's annual conference.

Delegates are to decide whether the party should explicitly back Remain in a future public vote, or adopt the leadership's neutral position.

Labour's stance on Brexit has dominated the conference agenda, with many in the party disagreeing over the issue.

It is expected that two motions on the issue will be put to a vote on Monday.

The party's draft plan for its Brexit policy, put forward by Corbyn, suggests that, if Labour wins power in a general election, it would remain neutral while negotiating a new Brexit deal within three months.

It would then hold a referendum within six months, and the party would decide which side to back at a special conference.

But grassroots activists at the conference have campaigned for an unambiguous Remain stance.

It comes amid calls for the party to back remaining in the European Union, including by a number of Labour MPs such as shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry.

Late on Sunday, attempts to find a consensus during a behind-closed-doors "compositing" meeting failed to agree on words for a single Brexit motion.

As a result, members will debate two separate motions on Monday. One would commit the party to campaigning "energetically" to remain in the EU during an expected snap election.

The other - closer to Corbyn's position - would see the party remaining officially neutral and only taking sides ahead of a subsequent referendum.

A statement by Labour's ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) said the party should only decide how to campaign in a referendum at a special conference held after a general election.

Andrew Lewin, of Remain Labour, said the prospect of alternatives being put to a vote was "a huge step forward".

"Labour members will tomorrow have the chance to change party policy - so Labour commits to campaign to Remain in all circumstances," he said.

Michael Chessum, of left-leaning group Another Europe, told the BBC that Monday's vote was not just about Brexit.

"It's about where Corbyn and the unions are really willing to listen to party members," he said.

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