Lavery debunks cynical attempts to steer Labour into no-confidence vote

Labour MP and party chair Ian Lavery

An unholy alliance of centrist Labour, Tory, LibDem and SNP figures has attempted to manoeuvre or force the Labour leadership into calling a vote of no confidence in spite of Theresa May’s cowardice yesterday in pulling today’s vote on her dismal withdrawal ‘deal’ with the EU.

LibDem leader Vince Cable called on Corbyn yesterday to table a motion and said he’d support it – handily ignoring the fact that any MP, including Cable himself, could call for such a vote.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon made a similar call this morning – again, ignoring the fact that any of her party’s MPs could do so.

Tory Anna Soubry made a meal of it during last night’s Newsnight, without any attempt by the programme’s presenter to point out that Labour front-bencher Richard Burgon had already stated that Labour intends to do so after May loses the eventual vote.

And yesterday, thirty-odd centrist Labour MPs – bolstered by a handful and peers and including a few names appearing more than once – signed a letter calling on Jeremy Corbyn to call a no-confidence vote and then to move immediately to a call for what is arrogantly termed a “people’s vote” – giving away the real centrist agenda.

The letter from so-called ‘centrists’. It mis-states Labour conference policy.

As the letter – and Soubry on Newsnight – gave away, the real agenda is about getting to a new Brexit referendum as quickly as possible, dismissing the views of millions who voted to leave in 2016.

But Labour Party chair Ian Lavery exposed the cynicism of the ploy and put the record straight on both the no-confidence vote and Labour’s policy in a series of three tweets.

It would fail

A no-confidence vote tabled before a vote on Theresa May’s dire deal would be almost certain to fail. Even if Tory ‘rebels’ actually rebelled – something they have a long track record of failing to do – the DUP would be highly unlikely to vote with Labour before they see that their only hope of a deal that respects the Good Friday Agreement and the Northern Irish economy is a Labour government. After May’s deal is rejected is another matter – but at the moment, even if it’s almost certainly doomed, May’s attempt to talk EU leaders into changes is likely to keep them from the ‘nuclear option’.

That Tory ‘rebels’ would again fail to do anything resembling actual rebellion was made clear last night. On Newsnight, Soubry attempted to ridicule Labour for not calling a no-confidence vote – and in the very same breath said she’d support the government. Labour’s Richard Burgon had already said why Labour was waiting, but had to repeat himself:

Labour policy is a general election

As Lavery correctly points out, the only firm commitment in the conference motion the centrists were referring to is to prioritise the fight to bring about a general election.

The motion commits Labour to keeping the option of a people’s vote ‘on the table’ – in other words, a commitment not to absolutely rule one out but certainly no commitment to campaign for one.

And even that only kicks in once all attempts to trigger a general election have failed. Here’s the exact wording:

If we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote.

The relevant wording of Labour’s 2018 conference motion

It would be counter-productive to do it now

Labour has brought the Tory government to collapse, in part, by refusing to allow itself to be manoeuvred into a ‘choosing sides’. Jeremy Corbyn has ‘played a blinder’ by keeping the party steadfastly committed to doing the best for leavers and remainers alike, while respecting the result of the 2016 referendum.

Even the BBC, in a weak moment last year, had to admit that it was masterful politics – and abandoning that genuine ‘for the many’ stance would be a fool’s errand.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Fewer than forty centrist MPs – a feeble remnant of the original ‘chicken coup’ group and a Who’s Who of the ‘usual suspects’ – along with a few peers made an attempt to manoeuvre a leader they can’t defeat into a patently foolish misstep that would damage the party and the country. A couple of rival party leaders opportunistically joined in.

All to feed a Brexit obsession that consumes them and would do nothing to reverse the terrible impact of Tory ‘conscious cruelty’ on our most vulnerable citizens and communities.

Happily, very few people apart from the usual Establishment media amplifiers are going to fall for it – and certainly not Labour’s leadership.

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  1. dismissing the views of millions who voted to leave in 2016.

    On the contrary, I sincerely hope that they all vote again. The more the merrier. Some, on both sides of the argument, now that they are better informed may choose to change their vote.

    To argue that democracy is in any way undermined by a better informed electorate voting on the actual Brexit deal is palpably nonsense. Did you or anyone else vote for May’s deal in 2016.

    1. Precisely, Steve.

      The question of a no-confidence vote is a matter of political tactics and nous – but it’s hardly worth breaking sweat over, and creating labels like ‘Centrist’ as a descriptor of anyone who disagrees with a particular analysis.

      And, I fear that arguing against the *principle* (rather than highlighting the practical difficulties) of a new vote just renders the antagonists absurd, recalling the tortured logic of the Palestinian opposition in ‘The Life of Brian’. Conditional Peeple Swill.

  2. We need both a GE that we must win, and then a second referendum on whatever deal we are able to negotiate with the EU.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Power lies in the embracing of democracy not in being afraid of it.

      1. I think I’d still argue that if a second referendum includes the remain option then that should require a substantially greater reverse than 52/48 to win – 66% ought to avoid anyone feeling cheated.

      2. As would I, to be honest I took it as a given that Remain would be included on the ballot paper. Limiting choice to gerrymander the result is the opposite embracing democracy.

      3. As for your thoughts on 66% to overturn the vote I.m sorry but I can’t agree. I would favour 2 options on the ballot paper – Remain, Deal and No Deal using STV. This has some advantages. in that it is easy to understand, makes the result more inclusive and it would tend to provide a significant majority whatever the result.

      4. Well said David, it may please you to know that I have been wanting to quote you on this for some time. You made this point, in slightly more comic style, months ago re no one consulted us on what the appropriate margin should be first time round and it touches on the considerable difficulties of a second referendum – as if the first one wasn’t bad enough.

      5. Not sure SteveH, did you mean 3 options – Remain, Deal, No Deal – or am I being obtuse?
        I recognise the proportionality/inclusivity benefits of STV for elections – but doesn’t this particular referendum most resemble choosing between three candidates (two of whom are conjoined twins) for a single seat – ie only one possible winner?

        TBH I haven’t thought about PR since the 70’s and felt, rightly or wrongly, that it tended to lead to weak or deadlocked government.

        Is it reasonable to think that, given a deal with anything at all to recommend it, almost all Leavers would choose either Deal with No Deal as second choice – or No Deal with Deal as second?
        Wouldn’t many more remainers than leavers be expected not even to make a second choice given that both leave choices are the opposite of remaining?

  3. JC has exactly the right strategy; let her keep digging.

    TM said today that “We’re just at the start of the negotiations”, an apparent two-year loss of memory. It seems fairly clear that the EU have told her to piss off. “Assurances” are as worthless as “best endeavours”.

    But Jeremy must make his move immediately after the failed deal vote. It is traditional for Tory leaders to end their days stabbed in the back, a fate Cameron avoided by abandoning ship. They must not have the chance before a General Election to replace May with someone less horrifying to the public.

    1. As most Labour voters supported Remain and most Labour voters want a new referendum could you explain how you reached this rather counter-intuitive conclusion.

      1. It’s the echo chamber of fake politics that afflicts the left in particular : you begin to interpret the echoes as a wider reality whilst the right runs off with the boodle.

        Define away any alternative views as an ‘..ism’ or an ‘..ite’ whilst things go to hell on a handcart. Oh I remember those days of Militant so well as they made Thatcher’s life easier!

        I love the notion that if you reduce the Labour Party by 2/3rds (the ‘Remainers’), you will have established the Leaver’s paradise of an alternative to May and trashed Blair’s legacy!

        I really don’t reckon that perpetuating the international joke that this country has become will pave the way for socialism. It’s more a wet dream of the ‘Britannia Unchained’ gang.

      2. You keep on coming out with this stuff about most Labour voters supported the remain position in the original referendum and also want a new referendum but where’s your evidence?

        It seems to me that you are basing your position on your own prejudices and the results of a few surveys from the discredited polling companies who so spectacularly badly predicted the result of last year’s General Election. Like here for example:


      3. Disinterested Bystander 12/12/2018 at 8:20 am · ·

        Your comment smacks of desperation.

        You are of course right my evidence is based on numerous polls and direct first hand anecdotal evidence from Labour Party meetings, Unite meetings and last but by no means least from the feedback of 100s of voters on the doorstep heard whilst canvassing,

        So discounting my personal prejudices (we all have them, including you) I have the polls (I haven’t noticed any contradictory polls being published on behalf of Brexit. Have you?) + 3 other sources of evidence to support what I’m saying.

        Discounting your own personal prejudices could you please remind me again what evidence you are using to support your own assertions. I await your wealth of evidence with eager anticipation.

  4. Let us not forget that the referendum and the desire to leave the EU was/is a far right obsession. True, for their own reasons, some on the left are in support and it appears that they, along with the right wing extremists, are the most vociferous against a ‘peoples vote’.

    They pretend they want the ‘will of the people’ to prevail, yet despite so much more information being known now about the consequences of Brexit, they do not want the will of the people to be tested again. It’s blindingly obvious that it’s not the will of the people, i.e. the 37% who voted leave they want protected, it is their OWN will. They are terrified that democracy will take their ill gotten gains away from them. Why ill gotten? because Arron Banks admitted as much when he agreed that the referendum wasn’t won on facts it was won on emotions and we know which emotions they were! However he left out the small detail of the influence of his cash.

    Many of us on the left and I don’t mean the Blairite left as we are often smeared, voted as did Jeremy Corbyn, to remain, knowing the advantages of being in the EU where we had a significant say in its direction but which would be more people oriented in future with Labour in power.

    Labour now has a massive choice to make regarding Brexit. Under present circumstances we should demand another referendum but should there be a GE, we can either follow the Tories and argue about some wishy washy form of Brexit, which would be suicidal, or in our manifesto we can say “that’s it, we are putting a stop to it, NO MORE BREXIT”.

    1. The Labour Brexiteers should also consider the future.

      If we leave the EU it’s odds on that Scotland will vote for independence and this along with the boundary changes would almost guarantee a Tory majority for some time.

      Those that favour Brexit should ask themselves, do they trust a future Tory government with a substantial majority and who are unconstrained by EU regulations not to decimate our Civil Rights, Employment Rights and our Environmental and Food Standards.

      If we are not in the EU then who will protect us and our way of life from a mendacious Tory government.

    2. The Labour Party has always been cynical about ‘the Rich Man’s Club’ from Tony Benn to Dennis Skinner. Jeremy Corbyn understands the consequences of insulting us plebs; the lower classes who are incapable of logical thought & can only exist at a lower level of emotion, which is why we can only read tabloids, unlike the clever bourgeoisie who can read the Guardian. The Blairite globalists from Macron to Merkel will always choose the cheapest sources of labour which is why products such as aeroplanes are built in different countries; which is not only inefficient, but anti-green (I used to work in the aircraft industry).
      Don’t worry Jack, the dye is cast & Maybot (the Remainer) has cynically ensured that the only 2 choices left are her worst possible case remain scenario & no brexit. Be careful what you wish for, because us plebs may not so easily forgive the Labour Party if it turns it back on us. The ‘Fat Cats’ will never allow GB to leave. The result of the highest turnout in our democratic history will be overturned (yet again). “If voting could change anything, they would make it illegal”. No they just ignore it & insult those they disagree with.

      1. Please spare me the ‘us plebs’ simplicities.

        … and ditto the ‘clever bourgeoisie’ trite and trivial tropes.

        ‘working class’ and ‘poverty’ and ‘inequality’ are terms descriptive of hard economic facts – not badges of sainthood, moral rectitude or inherent wisdom. Just like their opposites.

        It’s one of the reasons I’ll continue an adherence to ‘Remain’ – I see no virtue in increased poverty and the dominance of extreme right economic policy.

  5. Since when has ‘inequality’ been descriptive of hard economic facts? Privilege is something the bourgeoisie refuse to relinquish & depend upon to distinguish themselves from the proletariat. You may agree with Blair that the class war is over & simple truth may just be an inconvenience. Let me make a little more clear for the comfortable middle classes, if Labour turn their back on the working classes, many of whom are in the North of England, they will feel betrayed. Calling us names Or describing us as simpletons , or ignorant or emotive says more about you.

    1. if Labour turn their back on the working classes, many of whom are in the North of England, they will feel betrayed.

      But the majority of Labour members and the majority of Labour voters both supported Remain in 2016 and the majority of Labour members and voters now support a People’s Vote so I am confused as to who JC and/or Labour would be ‘betraying’, apart from the working class Tory/UKIP voters of course.

      As far as your comment about the plebs being unfairly accused of being racist is concerned, I doubt very much that there are any more than a very small minority Labour Party ‘plebs’ (to use your words) who could be described as racist. It is against our whole ethos and has been for as long as I can remember. Admittedly I don’t read every comment on this site but I personally haven’t come across any instances on this site of Labour Party Brexiteers being accused of racism, have you? Perhaps it would be helpful to your case if you could provide links to the instances you have come across on this site.

    1. Jeez! How did you develop this ability to hear only what you want to hear? It’s absolutely amazing. Try the basic skill of *reading* what is in front of you as an alternative to manufacturing victimhood as a way of life.

      Try visiting Planet Earth.

      In relation to the specifics of my post :

      1. Who has “called you names”? Or used the word ‘simpleton’? Or called you ‘racist’?

      2. The term ‘inequality’ *is* a description of an economic fact. As is ‘privilege’ in this context. It’s a totally neutral statement.

      3. Who is suggesting ‘turning their back’ on the ‘working classes’? As opposed to saying that a class label is no guarantee of anything other than what the label says. Your self-identification as ‘working class’ imbues you with nothing more than a description. Members of the working class can be right, wrong, intelligent or gullible. I don’t presume anything. ‘Brexit’ has no virtue just because it is chosen by a working class individual – any more than if it happens to be Rees Mogg’s choice.

      4. Who has ‘agreed with Blair?’

      Resentment at material facts is reasonable. Resentment against a fiction of imagined insults is self-indulgent.

      1. You are right! I can’t hear what you’ve written, but I will now enjoy swapping insults. I do admit I find it very difficult to find any logic in what you write. The weather on this part of planet earth is cold & wet; what’s it like on your planet? It would appear that your major accusation is the usual. the inability of the working classes to understand ‘simple’ concepts, rather than being emotional. The usual insult that those who voted leave are too stupid to understand the consequences…….I take it you read the MSM or watch Public Service Broadcasting & you still cannot comprehend? The very idea of a ‘loser’s referendum’ is an insult to democracy, but now that the ‘plebs’ have a chance to ‘think right’ & MSM have now provided all the facts? David Cameron provided ‘all the facts’ to every household in a very expensive mailshot; funded by the taxpayer. Many of my comments are not a direct response to you, but others who are in agreement. Blair is a prime example, especially when he lecturers that the class war is a thing of the past, old Labour. Most constituencies with Labour MPs voted Leave, perhaps that answers ‘who is turning their back’? I have made no moral or value judgement in terms of social class, but identify with a single fact that the working classes, albeit young or old; female or male have been denied any time in the sun. The victims of a system that never has, nor probably ever will serve their interests, including the globalist EU

      2. You could have saved yourself and others an awful lot of time and effort by replacing all the above with a few simple words.

        “Now that people have been enlightened about the realities of Brexit I am scared that Brexit would lose a second referendum.”

  6. …..& who has done the enlightening? Do you believe everything that Sky News; BBC or Channel 4 tell you? Don’t worry, the political masters will never allow Brexit to happen.

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