Labour amendment does NOT commit party to any kind of referendum

The Labour Party has just tabled an amendment in Parliament to force Theresa May to ensure that Parliament has enough time to debate and vote on all available options to prevent a no-deal Brexit:


… and instructs the UK Government to secure sufficient time for the UK Parliament to consider and vote on options to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a ratified Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration. Those options should include:

i) negotiating changes to the draft Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration so as to secure a permanent customs union with the EU, a strong relationship with the single market underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, and dynamic alignment on rights and standards, in order to command a majority in the House of Commons
ii) Legislating to hold a public vote on a deal or a proposition that has commanded the support of the majority of the House of Commons

Labour’s parliamentary amendment

The wording will no doubt be misinterpreted to suit the agendas of the so-called “people’s vote” campaign on the one hand and the hostile mainstream media on the other – but the amendment stipulates leaving time for those options as required and does not commit to the option of a new referendum actually taking place.

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    1. I think it is a clever move. The announcements by sundry Right Labour PV enthusiasts that they won’t vote for this amendment , because they only want Labour to adopt the PV stunt (with its impossible 6 to 12 month timescale – and Labour vote-splitting certainty) , has clearly shown the real agenda behind Mandelson/Blair/Chuka/Campbell’s PV ruse.

  1. ‘…to secure sufficient time…’

    This means EXTENDING Article 50, if necessary.

    ‘…ii) Legislating to hold a public vote on a deal or a proposition that has commanded the support of the majority of the House of Commons’

    The question then is what are going to be the choices? Is it going to be:
    1. Approve – which means we LEAVE as per agreed deal
    2. Reject – which means we LEAVE without a deal. (This, curiously, in itself is against the ‘…prevent the UK leaving the EU without a ratified Withdrawal Agreement…’ part of the amendment!)
    3. Remain
    perhaps using STV.

    It will be very much appreciated if we can be enlightened on the choices that are going to be put before us as envisaged under part ii) of the amendment.

  2. In a Public Vote choices should be:

    May deal (whatever that would be?)

    or Corbyn’s deal

    Remain should not be an option as we have already voted to leave the EU, in the last referendum

    1. What is it that scares you about democracy, are you worried that people may have changed their minds now that they are better informed about the realities of Brexit and the ramifications of what’s on offer?

    2. Follow the logic : We’ve had an even more recent general election, which narrowly elected a Tory government. So we shouldn’t have another. ….????

      1. You either accept democratic results or you don’t.

        If you do then you are a democrat, if you don’t then you are not.

        It really is a very simple and a true proposition.

      2. No problem in ‘accepting democratic results’

        So why *your* opposition to the idea. After all, it isn’t as if the last referendum provided a conclusive answer to a complex issue with only 37% supporting Brexit – which is so obvious, it shouldn’t need repeating.

        Why do you think ‘democracy’ should suddenly come to a full stop if it doesn’t suit your opinions? Or that simple majoritarianism is the totality of ‘democracy’?

    3. Agree as someone who reluctantly voted remain as a last throw of the dice to try EC wide to collectively break Neo-Liberalism and the Peoples Vote we had was not by the wrong people.
      And Remain and Reform LOST!
      Of course in a Parlimentary Democracy parties every day if they wished could try to bring a vote of no confidence to bring a Govt down and a GE – that is Parliamentary Democracy.
      Referendums though should be used sparingly and may be indicitive votes but throughout recent history the Neo-Liberal EC has pressed for repeat referendums until they got the result they wanted such as In Ireland, Greece etc. so thus it is tried here.
      It is almost amusing to see the vote losers here clutching at straws to try to stay in the Neo-Liberal EC because of their lack of genuine socialist theory.
      What do they want daily plebecites?
      ‘On Monday we voted Leave.
      But Tuesday a Remain vote we did send.
      On Wednesday Leave, Thursday Remain.
      But on Friday we won in the end!’
      We should work for a Brexit for working people.
      Democratically control labour and capital supply (rights countries had Pre-Neo Liberalism).
      Have migration adjustment funds for councils (cut by the Tories/Lib Dems).
      Trade unionise migrant workers.
      Heard JC speak the other week and he mentioned how newly arrived Jewish workers from Lithuwania in the Scottish coalfields in the 1900s (who were being used to undercut wages by the unscrupulous mine owners which was causing community tensions) were encouraged by Keir Hardie to join the miners union which built community solidarity!
      What finer leader than JC could left wing democratic socialists ask for!
      And all we do should be an example to other countries in the World.

  3. They’ve wasted no time in pivoting to trying to undermine the official lab brexit policy. Give them an inch and they instantly stab u in the back. Not a surprise, depressingly.

  4. A vote in the Commons on the PV might well flush out that there isn’t really enough support for it. Much as I share this site’s contempt for The Guardian, I liked John Harris’ observation yesterday that belief in a second referendum remains largely the preserve of a certain kind of middle class person.

    1. Sorry to be consistently pessimistic, but when and if the PV vote/amendment is rejected, I imagine the 71 Labour MPs and others will turn their attention to the perceived weaknesses of the Starmer’s custom’s alliance compromise and give prominence to it – ironically a weakness that was built in to try and accommodate the feelings and remain viewpoint that they represent.

      1. … but on a slightly less Eeore-ish note, this balancing view:

        Steven Bush (see today’s NS morning call) thinks that whether it passes or not, it was a smart amendment by the leadership with regards to dealing with the PV. He concludes:

        “… A cross-party amendment by official backers of the People’s Vote campaign is set to be tabled as well, with the consequence that by the end of next week, a second vote will have been repudiated twice: once when Labour’s amendment is voted down and once when a cross-party amendment goes up in smoke too.”

    2. “a second referendum remains largely the preserve of a certain kind of middle class person.”

      I’m bemused by this frequent resort to mickey-mouse assertions and assumptions about class, as if such a descriptive label has some moral or intellectual virtue. They belong to the same category – are the mirror image – as “David Cameron and Rees Mogg are wealthy, went to Eton and have degrees from Oxbridge, and therefore have impeccable judgment as members of the upper class”

    3. Danny 22/01/2019 at 6:41 am

      Did you read the whole article, if so I’m a little surprised that you are quoting from something that portrays Witherspoons’ Brexiteers in such a negative way.

      “Martin’s case was unconvincing to the point of tedium: a half-argument that ignored what a no-deal Brexit would mean for British exports, and too blithely dismissed all those concerns about supply chains, and chaos at UK ports, let alone what a no-deal scenario would mean for the island of Ireland. But on the level of political sociology, the spectacle presented was compelling: the hardest of the Brexit hardcore, many of them on the pints and riled to snapping point before the speech even got going, and then taken into incandescence by the posse of local Liberal Democrats interrupting Martin’s speech at every turn.”

  5. Why on Earth is another referendum even mentioned in the amendment? It would be, in my view, a disaster for the country. The media will have a field day with it. We seem to have slipped away from “straight talking politics” and back to the realms of ever increasing subtlety that the public just don’t generally understand. I know the reasons for it but, I’m guessing, that a great many leave voters north of London will not.

  6. “It would be, in my view, a disaster for the country”

    The disaster has already happened : it’s the whole Brexit mess, based on an unsustainable referendum.

    The question is how to get out of the mess – and there aren’t any easy options.

    1. Judging by the prodigious number of comments you post on this site you are clearly very agitated and disturbed by the fact that the democratic socialist Labour Party has stated it respects the referendum result. A poll by an organisation which is campaigning to remain shows that Labour will lose over 3,000,0000 votes if it tries to block Brexit, as you are suggesting it should.

      I take it you must be a Liberal Democrat who wants to damage the Labour vote to stop Corbyn becoming prime minister?

      1. Once again – play the man/woman and not the ball when you are bereft of argument.

        “I take it you must be a Liberal Democrat who wants to damage the Labour vote to stop Corbyn becoming prime minister?”

        Plain silly.

        The viewpoint you express is that of a small minority of party members (60% of whom would be ‘delighted’ at the prospect of another referendum in the latest poll).

        I and a couple of others just restore the balance of opinion a bit.

  7. Extend Article 50 to avoid confusion? 75% MPs voted Remain, including PM & you wonder why Article 50 will be extended? Confused? You will be as the ‘Soap’ continues. Made for journalists!

    1. Well – the dimwittery of the referendum and the inconclusive Brexit decision is on display in so many aspects.And the populace is not much more enlightened about even the basics (such that even ‘No Deal’ and ‘Remain’ are confused as the same in many minds.

      Clearly a reboot is needed – and that means a suspension or withdrawal of the stupidly arbitrary Article 50 date in order to find a way out of the Tory inspired mess.

      I understand the fear of Leavers that better information and more time might lead to a different result. But, hey – that’s’democracy’, as they say. It moves on.

  8. Brexit is an argument that can only be “lost” by one party conceding defeat with a change of mind – hence the entrenched positions.
    It’s a divisive enterprise conceived by some of the most right wing members of a class famous for ruling empires, fomenting world war and oppressing the many by the same famous technique of divide-and-rule.
    As the causes of the ’08 crash are disputed, so the blame or credit (joke) for Brexit will probably be argued over by historians in perpetuity and everyone will still think they were right all along.
    Win or lose the Tories win by dividing us.

    1. That is essentially the core of my view, too.

      As John McDonnell said last night, the prospect of a ‘No Deal’, which the ‘Brexit Unchained/ERG mob relish, would be catastrophic for the economy – and for those depending on it.

      But what has emerged over the intervening period is that any putative gains from *any* Brexit would pale when compared with the downsides.

      Of course, the ERG hates the idea of a ‘soft’ Brexit, because all it does, in order to soften the blow is to simply put the UK in a weaker position than it is by remaining in the EU.

      The experience and logic formed during the last couple of years simply leads ineluctably to ‘Remain’ as the best (not perfect) option for the country.

      As you say, the falsehood is thinking that there is some ‘compromise’ in a binary choice. The extreme right has led the country, via the Totry Party, by the nose.

  9. i Voted remain. Mostly because Corbyn and Labour were campaigning for remain and reform. Since then I’ve shifted ever more towards leaving. This whole business reminds me of the almost accidental way we ended up with Corbyn as leader! Brexit has the capacity to do the same. As Chris Williamson has said, or implied, a socialist govt determined to redistribute wealth, tax the wealthy etc, can easily mitigate the economic effects of Brexit. And I’d like to add that we’d then be free to nationalise the banks and take control if our money supply.

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