EMILY Thornberry has insisted the option of backing a second EU referendum remains on the table days after party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Brexit process could not be stopped.

The shadow foreign secretary defended Corbyn’s comments saying he was explaining a vote occurred in 2016 and his party were “democrats over and above everything else” when he replied Brexit could not be stopped during an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel last week.

She added the referendum result “ought to be abided by” but added an “injection of democracy” is needed via a “meaningful vote” for Parliament.

Appearing on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, Thornberry said: “Theresa May is simply giving us a devil in the deep blue sea – she’s saying you can either fall off a cliff or get on this bridge to nowhere, and you’re going to have to vote on that.

“That’s not a meaningful vote, that’s not an injection of democracy. So, we say if you’re going to give us that, we refuse to play that sort of game and, frankly, if you can’t come up with a decent suggestion then we should have a General Election, if we don’t have a general election then yes, of course, all the options remain on the table and we would campaign for there to be a people’s vote. There are several stages before we get there.”

Thornberry was pressed on how Labour would secure its preferred Brexit deal and asked if she has had a “serious conversation” with a senior EU official who has suggested the UK could get the exact same single market and customs union benefits post-Brexit.

She replied: “Oh, no, no, no, no, of course not. But what we’ve had are discussions and they know what it is that we want, and they know we are democrats and if they were in our position they’d be trying to negotiate exactly the same way as we are.”

Asked by Der Spiegel last week whether he would stop Brexit if he could, Corbyn said: “We can’t stop it. The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered. What we can do is recognise the reasons why people voted Leave.”

He added: “I think a lot of people have been totally angered by the way in which their communities have been left behind. We had high Leave votes in the most left-behind areas of the country. In a lot of deprived areas, working conditions have deteriorated over the decades, protected by European legislation.”

The claim prompted fury from some pro-EU Labour MPs, with Remainer Chris Bryant tweeting: “Yes we can.”

Colleague Stella Creasy said she would “refuse to give up fighting for the best interests of my community and my country”.

Thornberry said yesterday his comments had not been intended to shut down Labour’s fallback option of campaigning for a second Brexit referendum if Theresa May refuses to hold a General Election. She also reiterated that Labour would not back Theresa May’s deal unless it passed her party’s six tests.