Labour leadership hopeful Owen Smith has put his pro-EU credentials at the centre of his campaign to dethrone Jeremy Corbyn. The former shadow work and pensions secretary has promised to hold a second EU referendum to ratify the Brexit vote if Labour gain power at the next general election.
The Pontypridd MP, who announced his leadership bid after Angela Eagle launched her own challenge against Corbyn, is hoping to capitalise on the 48% of the electorate who backed Remain, including a vast majority of Labour's parliamentary party.
"A lot of people I know are now saying to themselves, 'It wasn't the right decision.' A lot of people are angry that they were quite clearly misled by the Brexit campaign," Smith told The Guardian.
He added: "We should give them another chance. That does mean a second referendum or a general election when the terms are clear. The Labour government should be committing to that." The comments coincided with Eagle's own speech on the future of Europe, which was overshadowed by Theresa May's reshuffle.
The former shadow business secretary reportedly urged the government to commit to protecting workers' rights, an issue at the heart of Labour's failed pro-EU campaign ahead of the referendum.
"I will demand that the UK government enshrine into the post-Brexit arrangements a commitment to the same labour standards as Europe," Eagle declared, according to Politics Home. "We need to compete on skills and ingenuity, not on sacrificing workers' rights in a race to the bottom."
Smith and Eagle will need to attract 20% of 51 nominations from Labour MPs and MEPs to be put onto the leadership election ballot after Labour's ruling body, its National Executive Council (NEC), decided that Corbyn would be automatically on the voting paper.
The decision was a blow to anti-Corbyn plotters, who were hoping that the NEC would force the left-winger to attempt to attract 51 nominations after only 40 Labour MPs voted against a motion of "no confidence" on the leader. Corbyn, who has the support of the trade unions and attracted almost 60% of the vote in Labour's 2015 leadership contest, is favourite to win the election.