Huge pressure on Corbyn not to cut deal with May without public vote

Pressure is growing on Jeremy Corbyn not to sign up to any deal with Theresa May unless it is accompanied by a public vote. 

3rd April 2019

  • Left wing Labour MPs write to Corbyn: “public vote must be our bottom line”
  • UNISON backs confirmatory public vote, joining GMB and other major unions
  • Thousands of Labour activists write to Labour leadership and NEC

Pressure is growing on Jeremy Corbyn not to sign up to any deal with Theresa May unless it is accompanied by a public vote.

A letter from 12 left wing Labour MPs, sent this afternoon to Jeremy Corbyn and the Shadow Cabinet, calls on the Labour leader to make a public vote his bottom line in negotiations.

Activists, MPs and unions are deeply concerned at the prospect of Labour delivering a version of Tory Brexit which has no mandate and would alienate the vast majority of its members and voters.

The letter, which is signed by key allies of Corbyn including Clive Lewis and Kate Osamor, points out that “the only concessions Labour could obtain will be non-binding assurances about the future relationship. Any future Tory Prime Minister could simply rip up these “guarantees” after Theresa May leaves office, and it is the stated aim of the vast majority of Tory MPs to do precisely this.”

UNISON today voted to endorse the principle of a confirmatory public vote at a meeting of its National Executive Committee, joining the GMB and other unions. Only Unite remains of the ‘big 3’ unions not to formally endorse the policy.

Meanwhile, thousands of Labour supporters have used a model letter to write to Jeremy Corbyn and the rest of the leadership calling on it not to strike any deal without that deal going to a public vote. Almost 90% of Labour members want to stay in the EU, and hundreds of CLPs have passed Another Europe is Possible’s motion backing a public vote and an anti-Brexit position.

The Labour Party’s democratically established policy is to oppose any deal that does not meet its six tests. It is also that “if the Government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public.”

Michael Chessum, national organiser for Another Europe is Possible, said: 
“Labour’s democratically established policy is to oppose any Brexit deal that does not meet its tests. The overwhelming majority of Labour members back a public vote, and have been hugely encouraged to see the leadership support this position in parliament.

“Theresa May is asking Jeremy Corbyn an opportunity to share the blame for Tory Brexit. She is offering, at best, input into non-binding future arrangements which a future hard right Tory government could simply rip up.”

Alena Ivanova, a Momentum activist based in Tower Hamlets, said: 
“A million people have just marched against Brexit. 6 million have demanded a unilateral revocation of Article 50. Any attempt to lash up with Theresa May to deliver Brexit, or rule out the prospect of a public vote, will be hugely damaging to Labour and Corbyn, and will be widely viewed as a betrayal of members and voters. There is a clear alternative, which Labour is committed to: to fight to get rid of the Tory government and insist on a public vote on any Brexit deal.”

ENDS
NOTES

1. For more information please ring Michael on 07964791663 or email michael@anothereurope.org
2. Another Europe is Possible is the left’s anti-Brexit campaign. It has led the left wing push against Brexit within Labour’s grassroots, and is asking supporters of Labour to directly lobby the leadership https://www.anothereurope.org/labour-write/public-vote/
3. The Labour MPs who wrote to Jeremy Corbyn today are from the Love Socialism Hate Brexit group (more information here). The full letter and signatories is as follows:

Dear Jeremy,

In a desperate move by a Prime Minister who has run out of options, the Labour Party has been invited to enter negotiations with Theresa May about reaching cross-party agreement on a Brexit deal. With no support in parliament or in her own party, the Prime Minister has turned to Labour to bail her out.

But Theresa May has been clear that the legally binding part of the Brexit deal, the Withdrawal Agreement, cannot be renegotiated. This means that the only concessions Labour could obtain will be non-binding assurances about the future relationship. Any future Tory Prime Minister could simply rip up these “guarantees” after Theresa May leaves office, and it is the stated aim of the vast majority of Tory MPs to do precisely this.

The only way to guarantee jobs, rights and protections – and Labour’s reputation with its membership and the electorate – is to support a confirmatory public vote on any option which is agreed by parliament, which will put additional pressure on the government to hold the early General Election the country needs.

Under the current leadership, Labour is offering a vision of hope which has inspired millions of people. Tory Brexit threatens this, and so does any perceived participation in delivering it. Any compromise deal which is now agreed by parliament will have no legitimacy if it is not confirmed by the public.

The views of members are clear. Labour’s democratically established policy, passed at party conference in September 2018, is to oppose a Brexit deal which does not meet Labour’s six tests and put any deal that does to a public vote. It would be untenable for Labour not to insist on a public vote on a deal which did not meet these tests.

It is not Labour’s job to rescue Theresa May and usher in her successor. We need a general election to kick out the Tories. It is our job to find a find a way to break the deadlock. In our view, the only way to do that is with a public vote.

We – your supporters – urge you to make a confirmatory public vote your bottom line in negotiations with Theresa May and to fight to bring this government down.

Yours,

Clive Lewis MP
Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP
Kate Osamor MP
Alex Sobel MP
Marsha de Cordova MP
Anneliese Dodds MP
Rosie Duffield MP
Anna McMorrin MP
Luke Pollard MP
Rachael Maskell MP
Ged Killen MP
Ruth George MP


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