JEREMY Corbyn has seen off a bid by grassroots activists to get Labour to back an all-out Remain position after the party conference supported his policy of staying neutral on Brexit until after a general election.

The Labour leader has promised a government he leads will negotiate a new Brexit deal and put it to a referendum but he has resisted calls to say how the party should campaign in that public vote. A decision on this will come after a Labour victory at a special conference.

A three-hour session in Brighton was taken up mainly by impassioned contributions on Brexit for and against the leadership position. When the key vote came out in Mr Corbyn’s favour supporting delegates broke out into a chorus of "oh, Jeremy Corbyn".

The result was a clear boost for the Labour leader, who has argued his party is the only one offering the public a genuine choice between Leave and Remain in a post-election referendum.

The conference votes came after Shadow Cabinet ministers Emily Thornberry and Sir Keir Starmer used their keynote speeches to say they would back Remain.

After delegates supported a statement from the ruling National Executive Committee in favour of Mr Corbyn's position, a vote followed on composite 13, calling for Labour to "campaign energetically" for a second referendum and to stay in the EU in the public vote.

Following a show of hands, it was announced this had been defeated.

Wendy Nichols, who was chairing the afternoon session of Labour conference, said there was disagreement in the group on stage looking at proceedings but declared: “Yes, that was lost."

Further confusion followed with Ms Nichols reiterating the motion had been rejected despite appeals for a formal card vote by some members. As dissenters continued to call out she insisted she would not be bullied and the vote declaration stood.

Later, Sir Keir said he was "disappointed" by the result of the vote, telling a conference fringe event: "I don't think there is a deal that's going to be as good as the deal we've got."

Andrew Lewin, of the Remain Labour campaign, said the party now faced going into a general election without a clear position.

"We are going to be unable to answer the question 'are you for Remain or Leave'. Obviously, lots of good people and senior people like Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry etc are going to say individually but that's not what the public will see.

"The public will see the leader - and therefore by definition a party - that can't make its mind up and that will be really damaging."

Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat leader, branded Mr Corbyn a “Brexiteer at heart”.

She declared: “Jeremy Corbyn has again shown a total lack of leadership on Brexit and settled on yet another fudge on the biggest issue facing our country. He has repeatedly had the opportunity to put the full force of the Labour behind a Remain position but he has once again shown today that he is a Brexiteer at heart.”

The East Dunbartonshire MP added: “He is determined to negotiate a Brexit deal if Labour win an election despite all the evidence that there is no Brexit deal that is good for our economy, our NHS and our security.

“By refusing to say how the Labour Party would campaign in a second referendum, Jeremy Corbyn is letting down the millions of people who want to see the UK remain in the EU.”

Stephen Gethins for the SNP said: "Jeremy Corbyn is stuck firmly on the fence, refusing to come down and today's votes show the rest of the Labour Party is happy to stay there. This is a real abdication of leadership.

"It beggars belief that more than three years after the EU referendum, and knowing the damage Brexit will do, Labour is still arguing over its position," added the party’s Europe spokesman.

James Cleverly MP, the Conservative Chairman, said: “Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have once again dodged making any decision on Brexit, proving yet again all they offer is more of the same; more talk, more indecision and more pointless delay.

“It is now official Labour policy to delay Brexit until at least 2020 and even longer if the EU demand it.

“Only Boris Johnson and the Conservatives will get Brexit done by 31 October, whatever the circumstances, and get on with delivering the change that people voted for,” he added.