Tom Watson claims the Labour Party must become a remain Party
In a message to his Future Britain group of MPs and peers, which is backing its own centre-left set of policy approaches, he claims:
“Many people in this group have contacted me following the Brexit shadow cabinet that took place this week and ahead of the key shadow cabinet that will next week decide the future of Labour’s policy on Brexit, and in particular whether the party will campaign to remain in a referendum on any future deal.
He also claims that the shadow cabinet briefing written by party strategists dangerously underestimated the crisis it will face if it fails to back another Brexit referendum.
Watson goes on to accuse Labour bosses of rigging an analysis of the party’s European elections disaster to block a shift to fully backing a fresh Brexit referendum.
In an explosive memo, the deputy leader attacked a “series of assertions based on no evidence” that was leaked to the media ahead of a shadow cabinet meeting on the controversy.
Then in a U-turn, he declares most of the document was:
an accurate and fact-based reflection of the state-of-play,
adding: “That is what we have always come to expect from Labour’s staff.
The fact is Watson’s statement disregard’s anything in the briefing that contradicts his centralist group position. After all, take away the title ‘Future Britain group’ and you are left with yet another remain group, backed and managed behind the scene’s by Peter Mandelson. Coincidentally or just a lack of imagination for group names, the so-called People’s vote group and architects of the second referendum campaign led by Peter Mandelson is called ‘Open Britain’ Read: Meet the suits behind the ‘People’s Vote Campaign’ and ‘Open Britain’
Future Britain group consist of two former EU commissioners Lord Peter Mandelson, Lord Neil Kinnock, along with hard remainers such as the ‘fanatical unelectable Lord Andrew Adonis’, and a few faces to make the Blairites blush MP Yvette Cooper, Hilary Benn, MP Pat McFadden, Lord David Blunkett, Lord Stewart Wood and Lord Peter Hain.
Watson makes claims or at least to the parts he did not like, that the summary section of the shadow cabinet briefing leaked to the media bore little relation to the evidence of the main report.”
Watson urged people to “draw your own conclusions” about why only the summary – which argued Labour would not benefit from campaigning for a Final Say vote – was leaked.
It seems most people have drawn their own conclusions and the internet is full of damning articles about Watson not only from the leave voting Left but from the many democratic remain voters who feel democracy is more important than a personal opinion on the EU. So when Watson asks why it was leaked I feel Watson knows the answer.
“It was leaked because you Mr Watson had been briefing to the press for a week that the Labour Party would be backing a full remain position, selling your pie in the sky Peter Mandelson peoples’ vote unicorn.”
Immediately after the briefing Jeremy Corbyn quite rightly alliterated the Labour Parties Brexit position. Again having to point out categorically that the Labour Party respected the result of the referendum.
LABOUR PARTY RESPECTED THE RESULT OF THE REFERENDUM.
Watson has failed dramatically in his position of Labour party deputy, voted in on a mandate to unite the party his Machiavellian plotting has only divided. He has acted like a gun for hire rather than the sheriff of the party.
Watson insistence we all eat pie in the sky.
In the memo, he underlined the threat to Labour from sitting on the fence, predicting a “catastrophic loss of votes to parties such as the Liberal Democrats and the Greens that could enable a Conservative landslide”.
Yet the briefing completely dismisses Watson’s assessment. (see briefing below.)
Trying to push the Labour Party into a position of remain at this stage makes no sense whatsoever, We are just about to see another unelected Tory prime minister it is without a doubt the one thing this new prime minister will not be doing and that is calling a second referendum.
This is not about remain or even a second referendum this is about placing both Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party in an untenable position one from which the Labour Party will lose Jeremy Corbyn as leader.
The best case scenario would be the realisation that the parliamentary arithmetic does not add up and to break the impasse a general election is called. That’s also a very long shot.
An open later is being circulated along with a number of petitions here is the open letter that takes into account the situation from a members point of view remain or leave supporting.
Dear Tom Watson
A significant number of Labour Party Members have experienced ever growing disgust over your determination to represent your views as our own over Brexit, when in truth, the membership has very complex and diverse views on this difficult subject. To claim with certainty that you speak for us all, is both disingenuous and wrong and alienates those of us who do not share your views. It is also hypocritical. You did not care how the membership felt about Corbyn’s leadership back in 2016 when you urged him to resign, but now suddenly, it’s the most important thing to you.
Many of us who are working tirelessly to ensure we achieve a Labour majority at the next General Election, fully understand and endorse the position of the Leadership over Brexit, which is to respect the 2016 EU Referendum result, whilst minimising disruption and harm to our economy. This is indeed the only position which can bring unity to our fractured society. Most of our constituencies voted Leave in the EU Referendum, which includes target seats which we need to win. It is wrong to extrapolate anything significant from a protest vote at the European and Local Elections. However, it is worth noting that we suffered as much, if not more in these leave areas as our remain ones. The Lib Dems were due a bounce back anyway after being out of Government for 4 years, but this bounce only restored them to the percentages they achieved in their pre-Coalition past. One of the likely reasons we have lost support over Brexit, is because many MPs like yourself, refuse to put the case for our sensible compromise position.
For many of us, this is a strong issue of principle. We are a democratic Socialist party, and as democrats, we do not believe in cherry picking which votes to accept. If we become the full blown Remain Party you aspire to, we will be just another Metropolitan Liberal Party that holds leave voters in contempt. Boxing ourselves into this position will leave us fighting for the votes of the 48% who voted Remain, between at least 3 other parties.
There is no other party which has put forward a sensible compromise position on Brexit, and we believe we must not sacrifice this position based on unreliable analysis at a very unpredictable time. We claim to be the party of the many, however that claim will sound hollow to the 52% who voted leave if we become an ardent remain party as per your wishes. Even if we did not feel genuine concern that a full blown remain position would cost us a General Election, which we do, we are sure it is not the right position to take on principle, and will lose us support in our Northern Heartlands, in the way we lost Scottish voters in the New Labour era. You take these voters for granted at your peril, our peril and the peril of millions of ordinary struggling people who desperately need a radical, transformative Labour Government.
Jeremy Corbyn is coming under growing pressure to back your chosen position. We advise Jeremy to resist this pressure. For many of us who did not support a 2nd Referendum under any circumstances, we were prepared to respect the policy voted through at Conference to call for one as an option under very specific circumstances. This has now shifted to calling for a 2nd Referendum on any deal, and you want a further commitment from Jeremy to commit to campaign for Remain should this circumstance arrive. We absolutely feel this is not the right position for the Labour Party to take. Labour are not a Leave or Remain Party. We should not take sides as if this is a football match. It is a nuanced, complex problem which requires a very nuanced and complex solution. We must resist all pressure to be seen to take sides, now or in the future. To do so would alienate millions of voters, and destroy their trust in us, possibly forever; something the populist right would no doubt capitalise on, as they already are.
A 2nd Referendum is fraught with danger. As soon as you get into a discussion with people over which options would be on the ballot, the disagreements start. It will tear our country apart all over again, and should never be viewed as an easy or desirable option. We must do, and be seen to have done, everything in our power to avoid this toxic scenario. Jeremy Corbyn recognises the dangers and toxicity involved in holding a 2nd Referendum, and we thank him for doing everything in his power to avoid one.
We support his leadership and position on Brexit 100% and urge you to stop claiming to speak for us all. You do not!
Chelley Ryan is still adding names to her open letter so if you want to but your name to this later here is the link.
The shadow cabinet briefing
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.”