A cross-party Brexit deal will not pass through the Commons unless it is subject to a fresh public vote, senior Labour figures have said.
The shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Tom Watson have warned a deal will not get sufficient support unless a referendum is included as part of the package.
The comments come as compromise talks between Labour and the Tories enter their seventh week, with key figures from both sides, including Sir Keir and John McDonnell, Chancellor Philip Hammond, Theresa May’s de-facto deputy David Lidington and Environment Secretary Michael Gove, all to be involved.
Despite the warnings from the Labour camp, Downing Street remained firm in its opposition to a second referendum on Monday.
Mrs May’s spokesman said: “She has said on many occasions that she is focused on delivering the result of the first referendum.”
The spokesman acknowledged that “we need to get on with it” but declined to put a deadline on the talks process or the publication of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
“If we were able to make progress with Labour then we would look to bring the bill before the House of Commons before the European elections,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of holding further indicative votes, they added that Mrs May had made clear before the cross-party talks began that she would look at asking MPs to vote again on a range of options if the two sides failed to reach an agreement.
The spokesman added that while “ideally we’d like Labour to support the process”, it was possible that indicative votes could be held without Jeremy Corbyn’s backing.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he remained optimistic the talks could make progress, but said a referendum would a “betrayal of what people voted for” in 2016.
Speaking outside the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, he said: “We are talking to the Labour leadership and have had very detailed discussions.
“People have been pessimistic that these discussions won’t go anywhere but they have continued. This is a crunch week.”
DUP leader Arlene Foster, whose party is in a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with the government, claimed a confirmatory Brexit referendum would place democracy at risk.
Ms Foster, who was attending the launch of her party’s European election manifesto in Belfast yesterday, said: “What people want to see is democracy being respected.
“Unfortunately it hasn’t been respected and we have a remain Parliament, therefore Parliament has not been able to deliver on Brexit in the way it should have been delivered upon.”