The party's leader Martin Schulz is running Angela Merkel close in recent polls
Jon Stone Political Correspondent
Thursday 13 April 2017 16:47 BST
Britain should hold a second European Union referendum now that it is clear what Theresa May's plans for Brexit are, the general secretary of the German SPD has said.
SPD leader Martin Schulz could potentially be Germany's next Chancellor, with polls showing him roughly neck-and-neck with centre-right CDU leader Angela Merkel for the September 2017 contest.
Now Katarina Barley, Mr Schulz's top colleague, has called for the Brexit referendum to be re-run.
“When the referendum was held, nobody really knew what it would be about — not the British people, not even the political class,” Ms Barley told the Politico website.
“A lot of people wrongfully thought that Britain could get a deal like Switzerland or Norway without the inconveniences, without accepting the rulings of the European Court of Justice, without free movement of labor. Now they know that this isn’t the case … and they should be asked [to vote again] on this.”
Mr Schulz himself, a former president of the European Parliament, has said he will defend the interests of European citizens during the Brexit process.
Since the start of March this year most pollsters have showen both the CDU and centre-left SPD with just over 30 per cent each, with neither of the two parties opening up a commanding lead.
Whoever wins Germany's 2017 federal elections will get to exercise a powerful qualified majority vote on the final Brexit deal at European Council.
The victor will also likely be able to vote any future separate trade deal with Britain.