Labour must back a fresh referendum – or let members decide

If Labour won't move to back a fresh referendum, its members must be allowed to democratically decide the way forward, say hundreds of party activists.

This letter was published in the Observer on Sunday 20th January 2019. 

Labour exists to be the political expression of the labour movement, of the interests of working-class people. To do this in any meaningful sense, the policy of its leadership must reflect the will of its membership on the key issues of the day. This is the principle for which Jeremy Corbyn and many of those around him have fought their whole lives – and it is one of the many reasons why we have been proud to support him.

By uniting around its conference policy, Labour has inflicted the biggest defeat on any government since the introduction of universal suffrage. Following our conference policy, we have fought to force a general election by tabling a motion of no confidence. Now Labour is bound to support “all options on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”.

Theresa May has made it clear that she will not consider altering her red lines, which entirely contradict Labour’s policy. Labour will vote against any deal that does not meet its six tests or which threatens the Good Friday agreement. No deal is not an option Labour can consider. A Norway-style deal would leave a Corbyn government with no say over laws that affect us. And the EU has made it clear that it will not offer a substantial renegotiation. The only realistic option now left on the table is a fresh referendum and a campaign to remain.

Brexit is a Tory project. It is driven by a rightwing agenda to deregulate the economy and blame immigrants for society’s problems. By uniting against it, and marrying our case against Brexit to a campaign to transform society, we can kick the Tories out of power and turn the tide.In the EU, a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn would be a major player, fighting for a just and humane refugee policy, for a levelling up of wages and conditions across the continent.

It is clear to us that Labour’s policy now points towards supporting a public vote on Brexit. If there is doubt as to that mandate, then, in the spirit in which Labour was founded, the labour movement must decide our position in a democratic vote. We therefore call on the Labour party NEC to call a special one-day conference to determine Labour’s position on Brexit in light of recent events.

Alena Ivanova, Momentum activist, Michael Chessum, Another Europe is Possible, Cllr Shaista Aziz, Oxford anti-racist activist, Michael Mansfield QC,
Julie Ward, Labour MEP for the North West, Dr Mike Galsworthy, Scientists for the EU and Labour activist
Alex Fernandes, Tooting CLP; Niccolo Milanese, International CLP and director of European Alternatives; Alex Stuart, Guildford CLP youth officer; Duncan Morrison, Lewisham Deptford CLP; Paul Mason, Vauxhall CLP; Christine Twine, Glasgow Southside CLP; Tom Bennett, Canterbury & Whitstable CLP; Luke Cooper, Islington South and Finsbury CLP; Keren Abse, Islington North CLP; Andrew Forse, Milton Keynes North CLP; Patrick Blandford, Taunton Deane CLP; Roland England, Chipping Barnet CLP; Gavin Edwards, Walthamstow CLP; Marian Skeen, Kensington CLP; Suzy Roston, Stoke Newington CLP; Matthew Hardy, Islington North CLP; Dora Polenta, Rushcliffe CLP; Irena Paxton, Cardiff South & Penarth CLP; Fran Tonkiss, Islington North CLP; Emma Witney, Edinburgh Southern CLP; Cat Villiers, Chelsea & Fulham CLP; Mark Blagrove, Swansea West CLP; Valerie St George, Islington North CLP; Mary Kaldor, Brighton Kemptown CLP, former member of NEC subcommittees on defence; David Taylor-Gooby, Durham City CLP; Maureen Taylor-Gooby, Durham City CLP; Timothy Stiles, North Herefordshire CLP; Hannah Webb, Hornsey & Wood Green CLP; Jacqueline Conway, Brent Central CLP; Sandy Paul, Poplar & Limehouse CLP; Patrick Costello, Labour International CLP; Richard Fitzgerald, The Wrekin CLP; Alicia Marshall, Witney CLP; Katia Widlak, Guilford CLP; John Bull, North East Somerset CLP; Daniel Nichols, Romford CLP political officer; Chris Allen, Leicester West CLP; Christopher Ford, Walthamstow CLP; Susan Phillips, Ealing Southall CLP; Pamela Calder, Vauxhall CLP; Bob Maltz, Hornsey & Wood Green CLP; Jon Moore, Lancaster & Fleetwood CLP; Mary Stow, Hammersmith CLP; Jo Wood, Labour International CLP; Chris Bright, Camberwell & Peckham CLP; Barbara Veale, Lewisham Deptford CLP; Verity Susman, Lewisham West and Penge CLP; Tehmina Boman-Behram, Taunton Deane CLP; David Field, Bethnal Green and Bow CLP; Stephen Harries, Brecon CLP; Steven Carver, Bethnal Green & Bow CLP; Ruben de Dios Armesto, Bethnal Green and Bow CLP; Neil Williams, Milton Keynes North CLP; Catherine Leech, Bethnal Green & Bow CLP; Lee Griffiths, Bethnal Green & Bow CLP secretary; Penny Milsom, South Cambs CLP; Anna Paterson, Poplar and Limehouse; Sue Rossiter, Bethnal Green and Bow CLP chair; Joseph Lynn, Bethnal Green and Bow CLP; Alan Thornett, Camberwell and Peckham CLP; Sue Mewm, Walthamstow CLP; Joan Twelves, Vauxhall EC member; Joe Painter, Gateshead CLP; Naomi Eilan, Warwick and Leamington CLP; John Pusey, Oxford West CLP; Anne Barry, Brighton Kemptown CLP; Sheila Porrer, South Cambridgeshire CLP; Heidy Kempe-Bottcher, Manchester Withington CLP; Sean Gray, West Dorset CLP; Andy Blackburn, Argyll and Bute CLP; Roger Welch, Portsmouth CLP; Diane Roome, Poplar and Limehouse CLP; Kevin Brady, Bethnal Green & Bow CLP; Asma Islam, Bethnal Green and Bow CLP; Naomi Wynter-Vincent, Luton South CLP; Hywel ceri Jones, Penarth CLP; Glyn Hambrook, Lichfield City CLP; Kevin Whitston, Bristol West CLP; Michael R Barry, Brighton Kemptown CLP; Robert Mcintosh, Brighton Kemptown CLP secretary; Sally Brooks, York CLP; Janis Beavon, Bristol South CLP; Andy Roberts, Camberwell and Peckham CLP; Ishbel Askew, Exeter CLP; Fiona Urquhart, Labour International CLP; Dirk Lampe, Hackney North and Stoke Newington CLP; Liam McQuade, Bethnal Green and Bow CLP; Celia Wilson, Wantage CLP; Stephen Murray, City of Durham CLP; Andrew Reeve, Winchester CLP; Michael D Smith, Poplar and Limehouse CLP; Philip Whitney, Derbyshire Dales CLP; Caroline Powls, Finchley & Golders Green CLP; David Ball, Finchley and Golders Green CLP; Charli Langford, Bethnal Green & Bow CLP; Christopher James Worrall, Poplar and Limehouse CLP; Gillian Nobbs, Norwich South CLP; Penny Wrout, Hackney South and Shoreditch CLP; Dr Paul Tanto, Twickenham CLP; Margaret Williamson, Twickenham CLP; David Robson, Hampstead and Kilburn CLP; Ronne Randall, Rushcliffe CLP; Daniel McCurry, Bethnal Green and Bow CLP; Jean Churm, York Central CLP; Richard Fitzgerald, The Wrekin CLP; Ian Lovegrove, Wythenshawe & Sale East CLP; Philip Dore, Cardiff Central CLP; Barry Johnson, Broxtowe CLP; Susan Patricia Wolff, Westminster North CLP; Philip J Harborne, Lichfield CLP; James Roberts, Harrogate & Knaresborough CL; Gayle Roberts, Harrogate & Knaresborough CLP; Cat Overton, Poplar and Limehouse CLP; Richard Buchanan Brown, Twickenham CLP; Caroline Loewenstein, Twickenham CLP; Amy Kenyon, Finchley and Golders Green CLP; Jennifer Whilby, Walthamstow CLP; Fran Zujans, Warwick and Leamington CLP; Andrew Coates, Ipswich CLP; Matthew Adam Langsbury, Cotswolds CLP; Gordon Alexander, Twickenham CLP; Graham Martin, York CLP; Howard Roberts, Twickenham CLP; Sandra Roberts, Twickenham CLP; Selwyn Lowe, Islington North CLP; Tim Gopsill, Dulwich and West Norwood CLP; Mike Vessey, Chelsea and Fulham CLP vice-chair; Kevin McKenna, Bethnal Green and Bow CLP; Danny Sweeney, Kensington CLP; Alan De’Ath, Hammersmith CLP; Mark Mcvitie, Westminster North CLP; Omar Salem, Kensington CLP; Claire Gordon, Hammersmith CLP; Christina Green, Twickenham CLP; Rachel Somers, Whitton CLP; Christabel Cooper, Hammersmith CLP; James Doheny, Hammersmith CLP; Daniel Round, Stourbridge CLP; C Kelly, Liverpool Riverside CLP; Aurelio John Patierno, Streatham CLP; Guy Falkenau, North Tyneside CLP; Sharon Holder, Hammersmith CLP; Nick Buckley, Hammersmith CLP; Alison Delyth, Bristol East CLP; Merilyn Tarplee, West Lancashire CLP; Dave Foster, Winstanley CLP; Heather Staines, Charlton and Woolwich CLP; Les Quinlan, Walton CLP; Katrina Faccenda, Edinburgh Southern CLP; Susan Quinlan, Walton CLP; Jamie Green, Vauxhall CLP; Ruth Klassen Green, Tottenham CLP; John Palmer, Greenwich & Woolwich CLP; David Parry, Bristol North West CLP; Roland Laycock, Mansfield CLP

20th January 2019