The simple answer would be that they wish to stay in the EU. But with Theresa May about to put a Remain deal on the table, the answer may not be so obvious.
The Brexit divisions within the Tory Party are essentially because May’s Chequers package was a soft Remain option. This included an EU-U.K. Free Trade area, with a “common rule book” for industrial goods and agricultural products, that is, effectively remaining in the Single Market. It also refers to a “combined customs territory”, that is, remaining in the Customs’ Union. And it proposed a UK-EU “Joint Committee” to oversee and rule on disputes, which would be settled based on EU rather than U.K. law. Latest reports in the establishment media suggest that a deal similar to this, incorporating the essentials of the ‘4 freedoms’, has now been agreed with the EU and will be presented to May’s cabinet on Tuesday.
May’s package is substantially what Chuka Umunna and the rest of the Labour Remain contingent have been calling for. Given that these leading figures of the anti-Corbyn Labour faction are fully briefed on the Chequers deal, and this latest variant of it, why don’t they just come out in support of May’s package?
It maybe that for opportunist reasons they don’t wish to be identified too closely with the Tories, or the mask might slip. This hasn’t, however, stopped them cuddling up not-so-quietly to Anna Soubry and a sizeable cohort of other Tory MPs, in preparation for a new centrist party.
So why go to the disingenuous lengths of calling for a 2nd referendum to achieve something that is already on the table? If the declared objective is virtually in the bag, why organise a split in its pursuance?
Establishment Media Report On Plans To Launch A New Party
Yesterday, Sunday 4th November 2018, the establishment newspapers reported that Remainer MPs are poised to launch a new political party before Christmas “in a last-ditch bid to thwart Brexit.” The reports suggests that up to 17 Labour MPs could be joined by the dozen Liberal Democrats and up to 10 Remain Tories. Favourites to lead the new party are Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie and David Miliband. In theory if the new party secured enough defections to give it more seats than the SNP, it would become the third largest in the Commons and win the right to get weekly questions at PMQs and time on TV. (Link)
What is self-evident is that neither a new party, nor a ‘People’s Vote’, are required to achieve the key objectives of the Remain case. Another explanation is needed. Can it be that the call for a 2nd referendum, and a new party to promote it, is a pretext for dividing and weakening the Labour Party and preventing the election of a Corbyn-led socialist government committed to a transformative manifesto?
We Have Seen This Before
We have seen this before in 1981 when the ‘gang of 4’ led a right wing Labour split and set up a new party to prevent the election of a Michael Foot-led socialist government. At the time, Labour were ahead in the polls. In 2016 we also saw 172 Labour MPs, backed by a petition of right wing Labour Councillors, attempt a coup to oust the democratically elected Labour leader. Coincidentally, Labour had been ahead in the polls in the preceding months, had won 4 out of 4 by elections, 3 with increased majorities, and had won 4 out of 4 Mayoral elections, including taking 2 from the Tories. Read: It started with a Coup.
With the Tory grandees now at their wits’ end as to how they can prevent a Corbyn administration, a Labour ‘Remain’ breakaway would be a godsend, even if it entailed a handful of their own MPs (temporarily) crossing the chamber. A faction of careerist Labour MPs, sweating on re-selection and seeing no neoliberal light at the end of the tunnel, may also grasp at a post-Labour Westminster lifeline.
Remember Tony Blair stating publicly,
“I wouldn’t want to win on an old fashioned leftist platform. Even if I thought it was the route to victory , I wouldn’t take it”?
It looks like the three year incessant attack on Corbyn may be about to culminate in a breakaway of MPs, on the pretext of Remain and a 2nd referendum. Blair and the Tory establishment, in tune with the CBI, the banks and the IMF, will be smiling in the background. The resignation letters will be delivered by a cabal of traitors who imagine they are making history. They will, in truth, be making way for history.