Jeremy Corbyn confirmed at the special Brexit meeting of the shadow cabinet today that Labour is now committed to a public vote on any Brexit deal.
But not to supporting Remain.
Although there was widespread speculation that Labour would be shifting its position on Brexit, the Labour leader made clear at the gathering of opposition frontbenchers this afternoon that the party is still “committed to respecting the result of the referendum”.
Addressing the shadow cabinet, Corbyn said:
“We have committed to respecting the result of the referendum, and have strongly made the case for an alternative plan for Brexit as the only serious deal that could potentially command the support of the House. At conference last year we passed our policy, the members’ policy. Over the past nine months, I have stuck faithfully to it.
“A no deal Brexit risks would plunge us into the worst excesses of disaster capitalism and trash our economy on the back of fantasy Tory trade deals or worse, very real and very damaging trade deals with Donald Trump, opening up our NHS to American companies.
“I have already made the case, on the media and in Dublin, that it is now right to demand that any deal is put to a public vote. That is in line with our conference policy, which agreed a public vote would be an option.
“A ballot paper would need to contain real choices for both leave and remain voters. This will of course depend on parliament. I want to hear your views, I will be hearing trade union views next week, and then I want to set out our views to the public.”
So why as a leave supporter and democrat am I not spitting feathers?
Notwithstanding the reality and fact that Labour does not have the gift to call a second referendum never mind a referendum in all circumstances. A second referendum ‘just won’t happen’.
There is not a cat in hell as more chance that a new Tory leader will call a referendum. Parliament has voted against a second referendum three times the maths will not change. There is very little chance any new Tory leader freshly crowned would dear to legitimise their position with a public vote and a general election. We all know the real reason behind the remain PLP stance on a second referendum that is to remove Jeremy Corbyn, therefore, saving the UK and its establishment from a real chance at a socialist government.
But just in case pigs fly and let’s face it sometimes, they do. Jeremy Corbyn as tried to make the conditions of a second undemocratic referendum as fair as possible.
Corbyn has moved away from the manic Remainers instance that a second referendum offers nothing more than a Hobson’s choice, a Ballot with the only one outcome, fixed questions that result in Remain win. Corbyn insist on any hypothetical second referendum must not be funnelled to remain saying:
“A ballot paper would need to contain real choices for both Leave and Remain voters. This will of course depend on Parliament. I want to hear your views, I will be hearing trade union views next week, and then I want to set out our views to the public.”
In the past the party’s official stance has been that it would back a public vote in the form of a general election and, if that were not possible, a second referendum.
Corbyn also insists and quite rightly so that the Labour Party is:
committed to respecting the result of the referendum.
This official position completely contradicts the media hype peddled by the Long coup pot stirrer’s like Watson who over the last mouth as used his bought and paid for press pass to create the impression that the Labour Party is the party of remain, a partner of EU values that it is being blocked from its natural position of that partnership by the likes of Jeremy Corbyn.
On that Watson keeps referring to labour Party history, maybe he should read some in relation to the EU. The fact that the Labour Party were the only party to have placed leaving the EU/EEC in our manifesto without a referendum should give him some indication of the traditional party stance.
Extract Labour Party manifesto
The process of withdrawal
On taking office we will open preliminary negotiations with the other EEC member states to establish a timetable for withdrawal; and we will publish the results of these negotiations in a White Paper. In addition, as soon as possible after the House assembles, we will introduce a Repeal Bill: first, in order to amend the 1972 European Communities Act, ending the powers of the Community in the UK; and second, to provide the necessary powers to repeal the 1972 Act, when the negotiations on withdrawal are completed.
Following the publication of the White Paper, we will begin the main negotiations on withdrawal. Later, when appropriate and in the same parliament, we will use our powers to repeal the 1972 Act and abrogate the Treaty of Accession – thus breaking all of our formal links with the Community. Britain will at this point withdraw from the Council of Ministers and from the European Parliament.
There will need to be a period of transition, to ensure a minimum of disruption – and to phase in any new agreements we might make with the Community. This will enable us to make all the necessary changes in our domestic legislation. Until these changes in UK law have taken place, the status quo as regards particular items of EEC legislation will remain. And this period will, of course, extend beyond the date when we cease, formally, to be members.
Maybe the Labour Parties socialist giants over the Last 50 years who have opposed the ECC or EU as it is now known. From Nye Bevan to yes even Jeremy Corbyn himself. These include great’s such as Barbra castle, peter shore, Dennis Skinner and Michele Foot. Then again these where traditional labour Party stalwarts, not New Labour cuckoo’s.
So no I’m not spitting feathers the political reality is if we cannot force a general election and there is not the arithmetic in parliament for a second referendum then it still remains the biggest unicorn of Brexit.
Forlorn hope of remain
In short for Labour to take the position Watson and his puppet master Peter Mandelson advocates will give 65 per cent of the Labour party membership the forlorn position they want. It would more than differently carry on an open membership vote but it will cost the Labour Party any hope of winning a general election.
It will also be the coup de grâce exactly what the Blairites and the establishment want the end of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party and any hope of becoming prime minister.
Labour do not need to become the Party of remain they need to become the Party of reality.
We will not win any elections by stating ‘we respect the result of the referendum but now we don’t.’ Yes, it is true that breaking a political promise can give you a top job at Facebook but apart from Watson I’m not sure any of the parties front bench want that.
LabourList reports it has seen the shadow cabinet briefing written by party strategists in full. The document, which is being discussed by opposition frontbenchers at a special Brexit meeting today, covers the recent local elections, European elections and current polling of voting intentions. It particularly focuses on how Brexit played a role in the results and how Labour should respond. Here are eight key points made in the report.
- The Tories were lucky they didn’t do worse in the local elections.
“It isn’t clear what difference might have been made had the Brexit Party in particular stood large numbers of candidates, but what is certainly true is that had there been more independent and minor parties available for people to vote for the Tory losses would have been much greater.”
- Lib Dem gains in the local elections were not down to Brexit…
“There is some correlation with areas with high percentages of 2016 Remain voting but this is at best a partial explanation of their performance. Actually the best pointer to a strong Lib Dem performance in the local elections was their electoral success in the past. Almost all of the councils where the made most of their gains were places where they had an established political and organisational presence.”
- … but Lib Dems wins in the European elections were down to Brexit.
“Liberal Democrat support correlated strongly with Remain voting in 2016, especially when Scotland (where they were competing with the Scottish National Party for Remain votes) is not included. Brexit Party support was even more strongly correlated with Leave voting, and (positively) with 2014 UKIP support. Turnout was also correlated with Remain support, i.e. the higher the 2016 Remain vote the higher turnout tended to be.”
- On the basis of the European election results, these are the key Remain seats to worry about.
According to the report, the top 50 local authority shares of the vote for the Lib Dems included four marginal seats that Labour needs to win at the next election: Cities of London & Westminster, Putney, Watford, Wimbledon.
- And these are the key Leave seats to worry about.
The briefing says that the top 50 council shares of the vote for the Brexit Party include 14 Labour-held seats: Hartlepool, Great Grimsby, Ashfield, Redcar, Bolsover, Barnsley Central, Barnsley East, Penistone & Stocksbridge, Wentworth & Dearne, Dudley North, Bassetlaw, Scunthorpe, Stoke-on-Trent Central, Stoke-on-Trent North.
It also comprised three marginal seats that were lost by Labour in 2017: Mansfield, Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland and Stoke-on-Trent South.
- Labour’s non-metropolitan vote continues to decline.
Both local and European elections provided further evidence of “instability and fragmentation of Labour’s vote in non-metropolitan Britain, including the industrial communities which comprised Labour’s heartland at least until the 1980s”, the report outlines.
It says this trend can be traced back to 1987 and 1992. However, the briefing states: “In the last three general elections, differential swings have been exacerbated, particularly with the collapse of the Lib Dems in the 2015 election.”
- The Peterborough result suggests voters could ‘come home’ to the main parties.
“Labour’s victory in the by-election was partly thanks to an increased turnout, with 10,000 additional voters compared with the European election. Overall however some of the European election switchers must have switched back to the two major parties, a tentative indication that the European election should not be taken as a precursor of potential general election behaviour.”
- Switching to an anti-Brexit position may not be enough to win back Remainers.
“It is not obvious, from the evidence of local elections and Peterborough, that a more “pro Remain” position from Labour would in itself win back voters currently lost to the Liberal Democrats, or in a numerical enough way that would offset Leave voters in many of the key marginals, that have lost both recently and over the last few general elections.”
- Switching to an anti-Brexit position may not be worth the risk.
“It remains the case that there are more target and defensive seats in the Midlands and North of England which voted leave. The recent elections don’t suggest any change to this basic arithmetic, given the geographical distribution of Leave and Remain voters. There is an evident risk that shifting to a more explicitly pro-Remain position would leave us vulnerable in seats we need to hold or win without enough potential seat gains in winnable Remain majority areas.”
PLEASE HELP US KEEP GOING AD-FREEHELP US GROW.
This is a "Pay as You Feel" website.
This blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.
You can have access to all of our online work for free. However if you want to support what we do, you could make a small donation to help us keep writing and staying ad-free. The choice is entirely yours.