Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour is “not advocating” a second Brexit referendum.

The Labour leader faced claims from the pro-EU Liberal Democrats that his party has “shirked their responsibility” to oppose the Government after outlining the position.

Mr Corbyn also denied Labour’s Brexit stance is confusing, explaining it involves accepting the UK is formally leaving the EU while wanting to develop a good economic relationship with Europe.

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Nine backbench Labour MPs earlier this month supported a Lib Dem amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which transfers European law into UK law, which sought a second referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal.

The same unsuccessful amendment was opposed by two Labour MPs.

A group of 70 London-based Labour councillors have also reportedly written a letter asking shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer to commit to provide the opportunity for “people to change their mind”.

Reminded that deputy leader Tom Watson had previously said nothing should be ruled out, Mr Corbyn told the i newspaper: “He did indeed say that, but our position is that we are not advocating a second referendum.”

He added: “We have had a referendum which came to a decision. The negotiations are still ongoing, albeit well behind schedule, and we’ve set out the kind of relationship we want to have with Europe in the future.”

On Labour’s Brexit stance, Mr Corbyn said: “I don’t think it’s confusing. What we are saying is … we are formally leaving the European Union of course – that is the position – (but want to) develop a good economic relationship with Europe and recognise the interdependence of our industries.”

Former minister Tom Brake, the Lib Dem Brexit spokesman, said: “The Labour leadership has constantly played a game of smoke and mirrors over their Brexit position. But here they are nailing their colours to the mast in support of hard Brexit.

“The party of opposition has again shirked their responsibility to oppose Theresa May’s Government.

“The public need to be given a say on the final Brexit deal. With Labour and the Tories marching together over the cliff, the people must be given the opportunity to exit from Brexit.”

Meanwhile, the UK Government has played down a report which suggested Brexit Secretary David Davis is being sidelined in the negotiations with the EU.

The Times cited “senior figures in Brussels” as saying that Oliver Robbins played an increasingly influential role after leaving his role as Department for Exiting the European Union permanent secretary to become Prime Minister Theresa May’s EU adviser in the Cabinet Office.

A Government spokeswoman said: “This characterisation of the negotiations is wholly and wilfully inaccurate.

“The Brexit Secretary meets with his counterpart Michel Barnier at regular intervals to oversee the negotiations.

“In November they agreed their officials would maintain a constant dialogue so it should be of no surprise that senior British civil servants press the UK’s case as set by the Prime Minister and Brexit Secretary.”