Key left figures launch ‘Alternative Mandate’ for Brexit negotiations

Left and progressives to unite around demands on the Brexit process, warning of “shock doctrine” moment if Tory plans are allowed to go ahead.

15th June 2020

  • Key left wing figures from political parties, trade unions and campaign groups launch ‘Alternative Mandate’ – an alternative vision for a post-Brexit Britain
  • Left and progressives to unite around demands on the Brexit process, warning of “shock doctrine” moment if Tory plans are allowed to go ahead
  • Alternative Mandate puts forward radical demands on thirteen areas, covering everything from international coordination on the coronavirus crisis, to migration and trade, to human rights and agriculture policy.

An alliance of figures from across the left wing of politics has backed a vision for a progressive future for post-Brexit Britain. The Alternative Mandate (full text here), launched today by campaign group Another Europe is Possible, sets out a comprehensive set of demands on the Brexit process.

Brexit negotiations are ongoing during the coronavirus crisis and the Brexit transition period is set to end in December. There are some very immediate issues at stake, such as the rights of EU nationals, UK membership of European health and research bodies, and a host of vital protections for the environment, workers and human rights. In the longer term, every part of the UK’s economy and society is on the table, with a US trade deal on the cards. Campaigners believe it is vital the left comes together both to apply pressure on the negotiations and to set out a positive long term vision. 

Endorsing the Alternative Mandate are a range of figures including Clive Lewis, Caroline Lucas, Hywel Williams, Kate Osamor, Nadia Whittome and Sian Berry. Other supporters include representatives of campaign groups such as the Stop Trump coalition and Global Justice Now. Senior trade unionists have also backed the Alternative Mandate, including the general secretary of the BFAWU, which supported Leave in the 2016 referendum. 

The Alternative Mandate sets out a range of progressive demands across thirteen different areas: 

  • International cooperation to tackle the global health crisis, including permanent membership of the European Medicines Agency and public ownership of pharmaceuticals
  • Migrants’ rights, including an automatic ‘right to stay’ for EU nationals, the right to vote and continued free movement
  • Combatting the climate crisis, including tougher legally binding targets
  • Environmental protections, including keeping pace with EU regulations 
  • Workers’ rights – levelling up, rather than levelling down, workplace protections
  • Human rights, including continued membership of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and protection of the Human Rights Act
  • Wide-ranging reform of the democratic system, including decentralisation of power and proportional representation
  • Consumer protections, food standards and animal rights 
  • Protecting jobs and communities, including a clampdown on tax avoidance and no loss of jobs and conditions in the Brexit process
  • Agriculture and fishing, including new progressive system of agriculture subsidies and fishing quotas
  • International trade, including opposition to a deregulatory US trade deal
  • Science research and culture funding, including full UK participation in European schemes like ERASMUS, the European Research Council and science programmes
  • Global development and international solidarity, including curbing arms exports and a new progressive development policy

Clive Lewis MP said: 

“We’ve left the EU, and it’s no good pretending like this hasn’t happened. But leaving the EU is just the first stage of the Brexit process. Everything is now at stake, and unless we apply some pressure, we are going to face yet another disaster. 

“There is a real danger this government will try to use the Covid crisis and the very possible resulting recession as a shock doctrine. One they can use to reshape our society around a trade deal with Donald Trump. That could mean a permanently deregulated economy, lower standards and worse wages and rights. All the things we said were likely should Brexit be successful. There is almost no popular support for such an approach. That means we need to make ourselves heard – both  about the dangers such a trade deal represents but also our own alternative vision for a radically different future and what it would like.”

Sarah Woolley, general secretary of the BFAWU: 

“As a union, we supported Leave in the 2016 referendum – but we never backed a Brexit that would hit jobs and workers’ rights, and neither did millions of Leave voters. This government is  hell-bent on using Brexit to deregulate the economy and attack workers, and blaming migrants for the consequences. Now that we’ve left the EU, it is essential that the labour movement and the left unites around a set of demands to defend working class people.”

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, said:

“It might feel like Coronavirus has eclipsed Brexit. In fact, it has raised the stakes even further. Profiteers and polluters are already circling overhead, ready to swoop in and strip the bones of our public services and our natural world. Now more than ever, we need a positive vision for the century ahead, where we build back better across borders.”

Michael Chessum, from Another Europe is Possible, said: 

“All over the world, the nationalist right is in government and will look to exploit the economic crisis that is to come. In the UK, they see a huge opportunity in being able to use the Brexit process to deregulate the economy in an unprecedented way, while at the same time waging war against migrants’ rights and human rights more generally. An opportunity for them is a danger to the rest of us – to workers, migrants and the planet. Everyone on the left – regardless of what position they took on Brexit – now has a responsibility to resist this agenda. We cannot wait until the next election to act, because by then it may be too late.”

ENDS

NOTES

  1. For more information ring Michael on 07964791663 or email info@anothereurope.org
  2. The full text of the Alternative Mandate can be found here: http://www.anothereurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Alternative-Mandate-PDF.pdf
  3. A range of figures backed The Alternative Mandate in a statement today. It can be found here and is as follows: 

The UK has left the EU. Regardless of whether or not you opposed Brexit, we must all now come to terms with this reality and unite to address the enormous dangers ahead of us.

Coronavirus has disrupted the fabric of our society, and we will soon face a massive economic crisis. Around the world, right wing governments will use this crisis to pursue an unprecedented attack on workers, human rights, migrants and the environment. In the UK, they will attempt to use the Brexit process to deregulate the economy and undermine our rights. 

If our alternative vision is to succeed, we need to break from the status quo, and to put forward a radical politics built on internationalism and solidarity. So today, we are supporting the launch of The Alternative Mandate – a set of demands on the Brexit process. From migrants rights to trade justice, and from public health and jobs to agriculture and science funding, we are determined to offer an alternative to the vision put forward by the likes of Boris Johnson, Victor Orban, Donald Trump and Matteo Salvini. 

Achieving these goals, whether over the next five years or over the next fifty, will require a mass movement that is pluralistic, and which stretches across the boundaries of parties and countries. 

Caroline Lucas MP

Clive Lewis MP

Hywel Williams MP

Nadia Whittome MP

Kate Osamor MP 

Virendra Sharma MP

Geraint Davies MP

Sian Berry AM, Green Party co-leader

Jonathan Bartley, Green Party co-leader

Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary

Sarah Woolley, BFAWU general secretary

Ian Hodson, BFAWU president

John Moloney, PCS deputy general secretary (pc)

Amelia Womack, Green Party deputy leader

Shaista Aziz, Stop Trump coalition co-founder

Michael Chessum, Another Europe is Possible

Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now

Hilary Wainwright, Transnational Institute

Mary Kaldor, LSE professor

Joseph Healy, Left Unity principle speaker

ENDS

 


More News

We must unite to oppose the Tories' Brexit plans

In this letter, MPs, trade unionists and campaigners set out their reasons for supporting The Alternative Mandate, a set of demands on the Brexit process. Read more »


Citizens Take Over Europe

Join our Zoom meeting with Adam Tooze – part of the transnational online festival Read more »


Open letter on urgent and necessary measures for rural workers in the context of COVID-19

Another Europe has signed this open letter from European Coordination Via Campesina Read more »


Trumpism is a threat to your health - and not just in America, say campaigners and MPs

UK government and Trump administration, as well as far right governments in India and Brazil, engaged in policies which risk sacrificing lives for nativist political objectives Read more »


Promoted by Michael Chessum on behalf of Another Europe Is Possible, both at: c/o Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9DY. Privacy policy.