This afternoon, members of Parliament of all parties vote again on the issue of a ‘meaningful vote’ for Parliament on any deal between the UK and the EU when this country leaves the EU next spring.
The amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill today presents an opportunity to fight for a workers’ Brexit instead of the ‘bargain basement UK’ that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has warned the Tories are eager to create.
The ‘race to the bottom’ that Tory ‘hard Brexiters’ want will benefit only the wealthy few, turning the UK into an offshore tax haven giving the Tories’ corporate backers a licence to print money with little or no contribution to the fabric of the country or to those in need. It’s essential that Parliament has an opportunity to amend or block any unfit agreement – which may well be all that the Tories are capable of reaching with the EU, given their record of incompetence and dishonesty so far.
Remaining in the EEA would not only be a betrayal of the millions of people – including many Labour voters – who voted to Leave. It would also trap the UK in a system that would not solve the key problem of the Irish border and which would give us little or no say over the organisation we’d still be bound to.
While some EEA members choose to kick EU legislation they don’t like into the permanent ‘long grass’, the EU could not allow a country the size of the UK to behave in the same way. This means either that the UK would be required to guarantee the full and immediate implementation of EU regulations – or the EEA option would not be allowed on the table by Michel Barnier and his negotiating team.
When the Tories are riven with division and in chaotic disarray, it’s absolutely essential that all Labour MPs behave with discipline and put the good of the country ahead of their own narrow interests. This means following the leadership’s line without exception.
Those MPs who have been exploiting the Brexit issue for their obsession with undermining Labour’s leadership miss – or quite likely wilfully ignore – one huge point that does not escape many voters:
Corbyn and his team are the only people who are fighting for both the 52% who voted leave and the 48% who voted remain.
Every other party and faction has pinned its colours to one group or the other, one outcome or the other. But Corbyn is fighting for all of the UK’s people – and MPs who ignore or dismiss that fact are betraying around half of the people of this country, whichever half that is.
The Tories are – blight though they are – the party in government and the party responsible for the mess they continue to make of it. Any Labour MP that does not concentrate his or her fire on them and their shambolic Brexit incompetence is showing an utter disdain for the millions of people who are relying on those MPs to do the one thing that this country most needs: bring down the government that is inflicting untold anguish and even death on our vulnerable.
The Tories are incapable of governing, with a cabinet minister resigning or being removed every six weeks on average. In specific Brexit terms, Brexit Secretary David Davis looks like a grinning idiot next to the seriousness of Michel Barnier and his team – while Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is a perpetual embarrassment and their boss, Theresa May, looks paralysed as she lurches from one fiasco to the next.
The people that Labour represents need the Cabinet of Buffoons gone – at the earliest opportunity. While the ‘MSM’ continue to lie that Labour’s Brexit policy is confused or essentially the same as that of the Tories, there is no room – and can be no tolerance – whatever for any disloyalty or indiscipline from backbenchers pursuing their own agenda.
Only Labour has promised to negotiate a new UK-EU customs agreement to make sure we can trade freely with the EU, protecting jobs and removing the dangers of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Only a Labour government will protect and even enhance human rights laws. The Tories want to end or diminish them and other parties will never be in a position to implement them.
As the Tories showed in their failure to protect UK steel-making, in or out of the EU they will always be slaves to the market and to globalisation, regardless of the cost in jobs and livelihoods.
Jeremy Corbyn is right that a ‘no-deal Brexit’ will mean a collapse in employment and huge damage to our economy – and EU leaders have shown that they know it too. The only people to blame for this are the Tories.
Tory rhetoric about ‘taking back control’ has been exposed as meaningless deception, as they have fought constantly to disempower Parliament and force through whatever they think they can get away with – and they will do so again today.
But Labour’s MPs have the opportunity to help avoid that outcome and to give MPs a meaningful say in the final deal – protecting the people of this country and our economy, treating both remainers and leavers with respect and safeguarding the interests of our country ‘for the many, not the few’.
Will all Labour MPs rise to the challenge, or will a few continue to pursue their own tiny-minded agendas and say ‘to hell with the rest of you’?
We’ll know this afternoon.
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