Corbyn sends May Labour’s demands for a sane Brexit

Last week, after MPs passed a motion rejecting a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn agreed to meet Theresa May. She had previously met leaders of other parties and – according to them – read to them from a script.

Tonight, Corbyn has written to May listing Labour’s five ‘commonsense demands’ for a Brexit that will protect the people of this country while respecting the referendum result:

For those using readers, the five demands – not counting his requirement that she change her ‘red lines’ to create the possibility for a sensible and meaningful negotiation with the EU – outlined by Corbyn in his letter are:

  1. A permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union. This would include alignment with the union customs code, a common external tariff and an agreement on commercial policy that includes a UK say on future EU trade deals. We believe that a customs union is necessary to deliver the frictionless trade that our businesses, workers and consumers need, and is the only viable way to ensure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland. As you are aware, a customs union is supported by most businesses and trade unions.
  2. Close alignment with the Single Market. This should be underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, with clear arrangements for dispute resolution.
  3. Dynamic alignment on rights and protections so that UK standards keep pace with evolving standards across Europe as a minimum, allowing the UK to lead the way.
  4. Clear commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment. education, and industrial regulation.
  5. Unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European Arrest Warrant and vital shared databases.

Labour’s plan is clear and eminently achievable – and entirely in line with Labour’s Brexit policy in place since before the 2017 general election.

This, of course, does not mean either that May will surrender to its overwhelming common sense or that the media will stop parroting nonsensical claims that Labour has no Brexit policy.

But the reality is there in black and white – or at least black and parchment.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Never has it been more clear that Jeremy Corbyn is the only party leader working for all the people, not just the half who voted leave or the half who voted remain.

Similarly, it is perfectly clear that a Labour government is the UK’s best, perhaps only, way out of the current Tory-created mess – and that centrists pushing a divisive new referendum are not only at odds with the country’s best interests but not offering anything resembling an actual solution.

It’s also a masterful political move, painting May into a corner and putting firmly on the record that it will be her responsibility if she fails to turn against her hard-Brexit fringe for the sake of the country and plunges the UK into a no-deal exit.

The apoplectic Twitter implosion of Chuka Umunna this evening is, of course, entirely coincidental.

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  1. IMO good work by Corbyn , looks like he’s boxed in the critics and May also . Predictable shit from Umana on his Twitter , just wish the git would be honest about his push for a 2nd Ref , that its eff all to do with that and all to do with undermining Corbyn , the leadership team and getting rid of them .
    If there’s to be a Brexit under the Tories then what Corbyn sets out here appears to be the lesser of 2 evils , the other being a no deal exit and that’s disaster.I am still of the opinion that we should leave in order to allow Labour to carry out its radical agenda ( not going to debate it with anyone , that’s my opinion and that’s all it is others are entitled to theirs and I respect that ).
    I somehow doubt there will be a GE before May and her bastards can push this through as a no deal , but if Labour can have some pragmatic influence in getting some deal that protects the people then so be it .

    1. I notice that since the “People’s Referendum” thing has failed as a way of undermining Corbyn, they’ve gone back to the antisemitism thing. Hopefully they’re running out of ideas, or waiting for fresh orders from abroad.

      1. Undoubtedly, some of the PLP supporting another referendum have always opposed Corbyn. But that’s not where the majority of those supporting Remain come from.

        … and let’s face it, the most recent bit of undermining came from the Leaver PLP faction voting with the Tories over the Cooper amendment. A notable lack of demands for deselection over that one!

        But the actuality it’s a number of inherent flaws that are doing the ‘undermining’. It’s a pity that Corbyn was so inexperienced in leadership just at the wrong time – when the Tories gave us the shit-show referendum. His decision in precipitately accepting a non-result as a ‘result’ and calling for the immediate implementation of Article 50 was mistake, showing a lack of foresight that has haunted policy ever since.

        Above all, it has given traction to the real enemy within.

  2. Complete capitulation on public ownership.

    Complete capitulation on industrial subsidies.

    No clarity on control of the unlimited labour supply.

    What a sell-out.

    Labour seems to have less and less to do with working class interests. No wonder working class voters increasingly see Jeremy as an internationalist cosmopolitan with little in common with them.


    1. Most politicians are insulated against poverty. They live in nice houses and probably have fat pensions waiting for them. This is why, on a fundamental level, they are out of touch with the poor and the working class.

    2. You really don’t get the bigger picture, If May accepts Corbyn’s proposals the ERG and the DUP will bring down the government. The election will take precedence and Labour manifesto will then be decided.

      1. Sometimes the big picture is a lot easier to see, without disappearing up one’s own fundamental orifice : a handful of PLP members just allowed May to get away with it when they supported her over the Cooper amendment.

        Grrreat strategy that one!

  3. I trust you Lexiters realise your position has just blown the chances of a Labour government for the foreseeable future!

    1. Not necessarily. But it certainly hasn’t made it more likely.

      In essence, this is just the logical track (a narrowing dead end) of Labour’s overall strategy, which, to be honest, has always depended upon what the Tories do.

      I doubt that this will go anywhere, in terms of May’s interaction with Brussels. She, in turn, isn’t going to tell her right wing to just f.off.

      However – some concession *might* be enough to get some gullible PLP members on-side with the Tories, as they were over the Cooper amendment.

      The problem for Labour is, of course, that what is explicitly proposed makes the whole Brexit debacle totally pointless in comparison with the benefits of remaining in the EU – the additional control over state subsidy etc. is just an illusion.

      If May does come back to parliament with some tatty compromise that gets assent, it will be the Tories that benefit from the surrounding propaganda, with Labour painted as assenting.

      If she doesn’t …? But I doubt Labour will benefit, and, even if the Tories go against their form for hanging on like grim death, and a GE happens, I’m not sure that Labour will be in a great position, other than the usual one of being blamed for everything.

    2. Jack T – deluded Remainer troll. Sad. And of course JackT, RH, etc, of the blinkered Remain-or-nothing Labour PV camp, blindly fixated on using any issue to attack Jeremy Corbyn, ignore the reality that the official Labour Party position, which may well have to be accepted by May to get a deal with the EU and avoid a No Deal crash out – is actually BINO (Brexit in name only) , not meaningful Brexit – certainly not LEXIT.

      Tragically, Labour’s utter failure to meaningfully address the absolutely core unlimited labour supply from the EU, issue – and the many other barriers to the pursuing of a expansionist Left Keynsian economic strategy consequent upon simply mirroring the neoliberal rules of the Single Market, will be paid in blood further down the line – as a mass Far Right populist Party emerges in the UK – using the narrative of “political elite betrayal of the Brexit vote” – just as we have seen across Europe over the last ten years. Still, the middle classes will still have access to those amazingly cheap UBER taxis , Deliveroo slave labour bicycle couriers, and cheap nannies and plumbers, and those bucket and sponge manual car washes , and cheap vegetables picked by slave worker gangs – all entirely enabled by unlimited labour supply and super-exploited immigrant workers – so what’s not to like ?

      1. “BINO (Brexit in name only) ”

        That’s what anything other than an economic suicide pact entails.

        Thus the rational conclusion that Brexit is a total waste of time and resources, given that we already have certain advantages

        Thus the Remain conclusion.

        There’s no virtue in poverty – which is what Brexit entails for this country. The farce has done enough damage already.

    3. No they (Labour Bliarites) blew it themselves with their Famous 5 ‘ Stay In ambitions’. Unfortunately JC was not able to withstand them!

      1. There is nothing ‘radical’ or ‘left ‘about supporting Brexit, or ‘Blairite’ about supporting EU membership.

    4. Your priorities clearly align with rejoining neoliberalism (the EU) first and foremost.

      Having a socialist Labour government is less important to you perhaps.

      Do you also agree with the EU about Juan Guaido being Venezuela’s interim leader?

      1. Knee-jerk pretend-left pretend-virtue rhetoric. i.e .No engagement with the issues.

  4. RH. My point is that the very people we need to win over, i.e.the young and the swing voters will now see no difference between Labour and the Tories on this issue and will with hold their support.

    1. Please note the studied careful analysis of the calm, intellectually coherent case of the devoted Lexiteer :

      “Jack T – deluded Remainer troll. Sad. And of course JackT, RH, etc, of the blinkered Remain-or-nothing Labour PV camp”

      That’s telling ’em! I reckon Brussels will be terrified by this sort of subtle negotiating position.

      Anyway, back on Planet Earth, what you have said is a concern for me as well. I can see some cobbled-together deal that makes no sense passing and gifting May the ascendency – portrayed in the media as a brave long-term strategy. I can’t see Labour getting any credit. Meanwhile, a section of partially committed Labour support will peel off and simply lose interest.

      Basically (what’s news?) the whole thing is a total f.-up on an international scale.

  5. The TSSA have carried out their own polling and ….

    “Not opposing Brexit could lose Labour 45 seats, says leaked report
    Union’s paper suggests failure to shift policy could be more damaging than Iraq war ……..

    The report concludes: “If there is an election in 2019, Labour will get a lower share of the vote in every seat in the country if it has a pro-Brexit policy than if it has an anti-Brexit position.”

    1. Trolling again, Steve? 🙂

      I, like you, treat any predictive poll with due caution. But I can’t see Labour benefiting from current policies and making the needed polling improvement over the last GE. The loss of Scottish seats puts a severe brake on aspirations, and I can’t see that anything has been done that will trump the SNP.

      I don’t think a ‘Remain’ position would have been a racing certainty : but it would, at least, have distinguished the Party as an opposition with a coherent platform on which to propose radical reform without having to struggle with the added economic decline of Brexit.

      1. It is however noteworthy that research carried out by the TSSA (a JC supporting union) is broadly in line with the overwhelming majority of the published polls and also confirms the results of the independent academic research that has been carried out

  6. GB the fifth largest economy in the world? Which other European country has all the economic advantages that we have? Oil; Coal; Tidal & Wind power as well as the entire world speaking our language. Right now, instead of prosperity we have the ‘gig economy’ & some of the lowest wages & pensions in the western world because we have some the worst managers & politicians. Food banks & poverty after fifty years of EU membership.

    1. Steve – You’ve fallen into the common trap of blaming the EU for extreme policies that successive governments here have devised – and (uncomfortable fact) the electorate have assented to.

      It’s true that the EU operates on neoliberal assumptions. But so does most of the global economy. Our extreme form is home-grown, and this country has often tried to push the EU into more extreme positions.

      1. 50 years of EU membership has no effect on British economy or the standard of living of British subjects? Thatcher & Blair are responsible for ‘home grown’ policies creating inequality & hardship, but in tandem with EU globalisation. A common trap? Cheap Labour; low wages; the reduction of the terms & conditions of employment are just one part of the EU drive towards globalisation, as with the recapitalisation of banks & Q.E. low interest rates; printing Fiat money for banks & big business to recapitalise, buy back their own shares & improve the stock market. Now that is the trap!
        Hola Sabine. Como esta?

    2. Steve Richards, spanish is actually more spoken language in the world. Apart from that you cannot blame the EU for developments (such as gig economy, austerity, foodbanks and the level of wages) which are self-inflicted by tory governments. Are you now blaming the EU for not interfering and putting these governments to rights? But if the EU did, you would be arguing that they violate your sovereignty. This would be the argument of the political right wing groups/parties/whatever. So it seems that the EU can never do right by you….

      1. Naïve drivel, Sabine. The EU is not a benevolent institution there to defend citizens’ rights. It is precisely the neoliberal straightjacket, of the EU Single market – with ever-greater competition policy-based legal barriers to trades union power – enforced by the ECJ in numerous cases in favour of the right of firms to import entire workforces on lower wages, the strict rules on EU states running budget deficits to assist the poor or carry out economic policy (as the Italians are currently battling on), and effectively unlimited labour supply , that makes the Uberised, gig economy, ever lower wages , AND food banks, possible. The EU Parliament has fully approved the Uberised, gig, economy as a desirable model. It was New Labour which really got this unlimited labour supply neoliberal model going, building on Thatcher’s attacks, but with the extra “labour disciplining” power of a EU-wide unlimited labour supply (after the accession of the impoverished ex Eastern bloc states. The Tories , like New Labour under Blair/Brown are merely tools of the wider neoliberal capitalist agenda – of which, in Europe, the EU is the organisational driver and regulator. Your total lack of knowledge of what the EU is (along with your troll co EU enthusiasts, RH, Jack T etc) should invalidate you from posting until you have done some research. Try watching the Costas Lapavitsas interview on Novara Media that has been flagged up many times on this site.

      2. Never said that English is the most spoken language in the world; probably Cantonese; however I do blame the EU for many of the great ills in British society. The only exception to this, where the EU must take credit, is the implementation of workers’ rights that Blair’s New Labour refused to improve. I identify with being European & would have liked the project to have succeeded, but Macron & Greece epitomise what is wrong.

      3. “Your total lack of knowledge of what the EU is (along with your troll co EU enthusiasts, RH, Jack T etc) should invalidate you from posting until you have done some research.”

        Trans. : “I don’t like being contradicted. Waaaaaah!”

        What next – a toothbrush moustache?

  7. And so, according to the MSM, JC is being condemned by the remain supporting element of the membership for supporting Brexit, and condemned by Danny and others on this thread for proposing a Brexit model that tries to respect the referendum whilst dealing with the concerns of the remainers. I have the least sympathy for the remainers, those who threaten to withdraw their support for the LP, in spite of the extent to which the manifesto may have been compromised in order to acknowledge their concerns. Are their values that paper thin? If these are our friends, who needs enemies?

    1. Is this not a load of old fanny put around by Tory trolls?
      I’m a remainer, no one’s been intouch with me!
      If they had I would tell them to go away in jerky movements!
      As for hell and Brexit leavers who never had a plan, I knew that directly on the winning vote!
      They still don’t have a plan!
      They in parliament who want Brexit don’t need one.
      They’re to rich for it to make any difference in their lives!
      If anyone thinks any differently who is at the bottom of the pile, needs a reality check!

  8. Just an information alert, for anyone interested in analysis of referendum voting patterns which is academically sound and challenging :

    ‘Rule Britannia (Brexit and the End of Empire)’ by Danny Dorling and Sally Tomlinson.[Biteback Publishing]

    Just picked it up. Dorling is, of course a well-known social geographer, writing on issues of inequality etc from a generally left perspective The first chapter challenges pre/misconceptions about the who and where of the voting preferences.

    As a taster : “… of all of those who voted Leave, 59% were middle class … and only 41% were working class … the proportion of Leave voters who were of the two lowest social classes (D and E) was just 24 per cent.”

    1. Such a pity the stats you quote are quite clearly bollocks, RH – How have these stats categorised “middle class” ? to explain the huge divergence of these bizarre claims with other, more believable, polls and analysis ? Presumably by chucking the C2’s into the “middle classes – or some other statistical trickery – running against pretty much every other every bit of research and polling done on social class and the Brexit vote. For instance have a look at the Ipsos Mori analysis from September 2016 , https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/how-britain-voted-2016-eu-referendum

      To extract just a few key stats. Ipsos Mori calculated that of the (rich) AB class cohort only voted 41% for Brexit, C1 – 48% , C2 62% , but the poorest DE’s – 64%.

      On Educational background: those with NO qualifications voted 70% for Brexit, those with non degree qualifications – 56%, but of the middle classes, with degrees or higher – only 32% voted for Brexit , This educational filter alone is a sure guide to the overwhelmingly poorer, unskilled/semi skilled nature of the Brexit voter base.

      You’ve got to avoid using dodgy stats and analysis from “academics” trying to prove some point or other – presumably the Left liberal pro EU one – ie, that there is no linkage between the damage EU enforced neoliberalism and it’s unlimited labour supply have done to the wages and job security of the unskilled and semi skilled working class, to justify your ludicrous claims, RH. There are a huge number of other polls too to completely invalidate the nonsense in the book you quote from. What a charlatan you are, RH.

      RH ( and both the Left liberal and Right Labour pro EU factions) are desperate to deny that the Referendum outcome was a quite clear CLASS-based vote – with the privileged middle classes voting overwhelming for the status quo which has served them so well – and the wealthier and more privileged, the truer this was, and is.

      1. Go read, jpenny instead of just shouting like an incontinent infant. Then come back with a point by point refutation from the same sources., displaying your statistical mastery.

        Me? – I think I’d back Dorling’s grasp of statistical analysis against your fevered chicken-entrails necromancy, based on nothing other than preconceptions and fury when reality doesn’t bear them out. You could soon match Michael Gove in terms of dismissing ‘experts’ with windy rhetoric of denial based on … well … wind .

        It’s tough coming to terms with the real world at times.

        The analyses don’t contradict other findings – they just use more information and more detailed analysis.

        I’ve heard of ‘castles in the air’ – but these suppositions of yours are insubstantial hovels built of foundations of pure shite.

        Further factual nuggets :

        – The correlation between voting Leave and constituency deprivation indices was just 0.037 (i.e no correlation).

        – Fewer immigrants equated to a higher Leave vote (not a new finding)

        – Older, less well-off, less well-educated Tory Britain was where the most votes for Brexit were…. It was not Sunderland or Stoke that swung it.

        – It was not people who were poorer that voted Leave in high numbers, but people who found the propaganda that immigrants created problems believable. They tended to live in areas of low immigration. In poorer areas of high immigration, everyone was more likely to vote Remain.

        The book also tellingly points out the flaws in the referendum in terms of excluded and absent votes. Again, this will wind up the ostrich tendency of Brexit adherents that are seen as inheritors of dreams of an exclusive imperial dreams:

        “The 2016 Brexit vote was the result of an advisory referendum that was then interpreted as binding by the representatives in Parliament. The British didn’t create the world’s largest ever empire by respecting others or by promoting real democracy around the world.”

        Sorry that your most cherished assumptions are blown out of the water. Indeed there was a class element to the referendum – Leave depended essentially on a middle class vote in Tory constituencies. It wasn’t a working class insurrection.

      2. P.S. I should have said – this is a much fuller analysis than is usually presented. Thus the contradiction of superficial received wisdom about class influences.

        Anyway – predominantly middle class, or working class in impulse, ‘Leave’ is a nonsense idea. That much is clear.

      3. I hope readers notice that the always astonishingly ignorant RH has not refuted in any way my set of key direct statistics from the polling company , Ipsos Mori , which , along with innumerable other respected polling stats and analysis , shows the central role of the unskilled and semi-skilled working class in the Brexit vote victory for Leave.

        Maybe he couldn’t bring himself to read the Ipsos Mori link I added ? Instead he has a sad wee temper tantrum, that a single new book he’s read that purports to support his nonsense view, has been challenged by most of the independent polling analysis done so far. A sad troll, determined to create a fantasy world in which only the Tory middle classes voted for Brexit, and the EU is a benevolent institution for universal benefit. RH and the EU fanatics jus cannot acknowledge the damage that the EU’s neoliberalism has caused to the UK working class – as oppose to the many benefits neoliberalism has provided, so far only of course, to the middle and upper middle classes.

    2. “EU fanatics”

      … I think sums up the sort of inchoate, semi-detached ranting (in terms of reality) that tends to (happily) undermine the Brexit case.

      I am waiting for you to examine – and contradict – the analysis put forward by Danny Dorling. I have simply highlighted his analysis, as that of someone who has considerable expertise and a left-wing pedigree.

      I do give him credibility, because of his record in describing the inequalities of British society, and that academic expertise. Go and read it, look at the sources, and come back with a refutation based on more than denial.

      Now – show some evidence that you have looked at the analysis, and then counter it – if you wish, or if you can. It looks sound.

  9. These days Murdoch denies that there was any truth in “IT’S THE SUN WOT WON IT” but liars never change, only the lies do – and the ‘will the last to leave turn the lights out’ headline did change history.
    I’ve had quite a lot of time to watch the tabloid readers in their own environment and I know them to be massively influenced by the comics they read. Their political “opinions” are as predictable, plagiaristic and traceable to source as their football punditry.

    Clueless Kippers portraying themselves as heroic working class revolutionaries and their out of work neighbours as benefit cheats and scum – immigrants as deserving to be pushed into the sea or out of jumbo jets, Jews as every trope imaginable and non-heterosexual non-Sun readers as effete and inferior. They mix only with others who read the same crap and the loudest always wins the pub arguments.

    These people are clay and the Tories are the potters – but in a massive brainfart of overconfidence and stupidity Cameron handed the keys of the kingdom to people unable to complete the simplest of tabloid crosswords.

    No wonder they get angry when the only success of their whole lives is threatened with reversal.
    Dismissive? Yes I am.

      1. So let’s hope that Brexit impoverishment doesn’t screw the economy in the meantime’

    1. Mmmm … as mentioned above, those ‘clueless kippers’ – in terms of numbers – seem to have been as much grudge-bearing Mail and Express readers in the Tory heartlands ‘wot won it’ (if it’s counted as a ‘win’) in this case. Poor old ha’penny is quite upset at this blow to the revolutionary model of Brexit.

  10. This is a sensible way forward. At this late stage arguing about the withdrawal agreement and the backstop is ridiculous What is important is the way forward (i.e. the future or changed relationship after we leave). If we agree this then there will be little or no need for the backstop.

    This is excellent forward planning from Jeremy Corbyn.

    Theresa May is way out of her depth and should have resigned a long time ago. All other policies need urgent attention as our education, health etc and other services continue to suffer. There is little chance of the conservatives showing any way forward on social care policy until at least the autumn or possibly not even this year. This has been kicked down the road since 2016 and is now at matter of urgency. Thankfully we have had a mild winter this year.

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