JEREMY Corbyn has called on the next Tory leader to hold a second referendum before taking Britain out of the EU and made clear Labour would campaign for Remain.

The new policy was agreed at a meeting of the Shadow Cabinet in response to a position adopted yesterday by the country’s main trade unions.

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However, conspicuous from Mr Corbyn’s statement was what would happen if Labour were in government. If this were the case. the unions proposed that there should be a second referendum on the deal Labour negotiated with Brussels and that the option of Remain should be on the ballot paper.

Yet, they stated that Labour’s campaign position under such a scenario “should depend on the deal negotiated,” which theoretically means Labour could campaign against its own negotiated deal.

The Shadow Cabinet’s move provoked a range of responses.

Labour backbencher Hilary Benn, who chairs the Commons Brexit Committee, tweeted: "This is a very significant announcement that will be widely welcomed in the party. Labour supports a referendum on any Tory deal and will campaign for Remain."

Phil Wilson, a Labour former whip who backs the People's Vote campaign, said it was a "positive step forward" but urged Labour to unite with second referendum proponents across the political spectrum.

Miriam Mirwitch, Chairwoman of Young Labour, celebrated the "vital shift".

"The leadership's change in position is incredibly important in the fight to prevent the next Prime Minister imposing their will on the country without a mandate," she said.

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However, the Liberal Democrats were less impressed. Sir Ed Davey, who is challenging Jo Swinson for the party’s leadership, tweeted: "Corbyn's latest weasel words mean Labour would still enable Brexit.”

He said the Lib Dems were the “strongest Remain force in Britain,” adding: "Unlike @jeremycorbyn we've opposed the Tories every step of the way."

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, who is challenging Boris Johnson for the Conservative crown, also took to social media to say: "Jeremy Corbyn has never believed in Britain. In this country we deliver on the will of the people. We will deliver Brexit and make a success of it."

Labour’s latest move follows weeks of wrangling within the party over its position on Brexit - backing a second referendum only in certain specific circumstances - which was widely blamed for its dismal showing in the European elections.

In a letter to party members, Mr Corbyn said Labour would campaign for Remain "against either no-deal or a Tory deal" but did not explain what Labour would do if it won a general election; thus illustrating that tensions and divisions remain at the top of the party.

In the letter, the party leader wrote: "Now both Tory leadership candidates are threatening a no-deal Brexit; or, at best, a race to the bottom and a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump.

"I have spent the past few weeks consulting with the shadow cabinet, MPs, affiliated unions and the NEC[National Executive Committee]. I have also had feedback from members via the National Policy Forum consultation on Brexit.

"Whoever becomes the new Prime Minister should have the confidence to put their deal, or no-deal, back to the people in a public vote.

"In those circumstances, I want to make it clear that Labour would campaign for Remain against either no-deal or a Tory deal that does not protect the economy and jobs," he added.

However, Brexit-backing Labour MP John Mann said the move would lead to the loss of Leave voters.

He told the BBC's World at One: "There's no indication whatsoever that voters in my area and very many other areas in the North and the Midlands, where there are Labour MPs, have changed their mind.

"I've asked repeatedly of Jeremy Corbyn, what will be Labour's policy at a general election? I haven't been clear and I'm not clear now."

The Nottinghamshire MP said the one person who would be smiling at the Labour leader's announcement was Boris Johnson, who would be boosted by it when he won the Tory leadership.

"It makes it slightly more likely that he'll be tempted to call a Brexit election," argued Mr Mann.

"Labour will lose votes of those Labour voters who voted Leave and I know the unions such as Unite have not put this proposal to their members," he added.

Mr Benn admitted it was still unclear what the party's position would be in a general election.

"As I understand it no decision has been taken yet on that. But, look, if we do end up at an election we are going to have to be absolutely clear.

"And my position is this: If Labour goes into that election saying we're going to try and deliver Brexit then I think we'd find it very, very hard indeed to win that general election."

Meanwhile, Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party leader, tweeted: "Typical @jeremycorbyn with a mixed message, the truth is that he has lost the internal battle and that Labour is now a Remain party."

Both Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt have said that, if they won the race for No 10, they would seek to renegotiate the terms of Britain's withdrawal but would leave without a deal if they failed to do so.