As Peston claims ‘revealed will’ of Labour members on Brexit, more CLPs reject “people’s vote” and back Corbyn

One of Peston’s series of tweets this morning

Today ITV’s Robert Peston has claimed that a letter from Jeremy Corbyn to Theresa May on Brexit was edited by LOTO (the opposition leader’s office) to remove a threat that “if you do not accept this [offer] there will be a People’s Vote”.

Peston went on to say that Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer is unhappy about the change and that:

even erstwhile Corbyn loyalists are becoming grumpy at what they see as his refusal to follow the revealed will of Labour members and supporters that their should be a referendum

Of course, even if the claim is true the threat “there will be a People’s Vote” would have been empty, as there is no majority in Parliament for a new referendum even if Labour were to back it – as humiliated centrists found out to the cost of their credibility recently.

Just as importantly, Corbyn is absolutely entitled to edit a letter that is going out in his name – but the claim that it is the ‘revealed will of Labour members and supporters‘ does not stand up to scrutiny either.

While it’s true that many Labour voters would like to see a so-called “people’s vote”, those who support Corbyn’s approach to Brexit far outnumber those who object – and fewer than one in ten who oppose feel strongly about it.

Working out in practice

That support for Corbyn’s Brexit approach is working out at the grassroots level. Last month, ‘centrist’ Neil Coyle wrote a pro-‘PV’ article attacking party chair Ian Lavery and claiming members ‘overwhelmingly’ want a new referendum – and was humiliated when the SKWAWKBOX revealed not even his own local members do.

Now more CLPs (constituency Labour parties) are making their own feelings on the matter clear.

Last week, Bristol West CLP held a vote on a motion supporting another referendum – and another on ‘remaining and reforming’ – staying in the EU and trying to change it from within.

Bristol was one of the most ‘remain’ areas of England outside London – but both motions were defeated by substantial majorities.

Members present report that during a comradely discussion, there was a general recognition that to back it as a party would be ineffective gesture politics given the balance of votes in Parliament.

Birmingham Hall Green Labour’s meeting announcement

At about the same time, Birmingham Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff was defending his voting record on Brexit – against the Labour leadership’s whip – to local members. He failed.

A motion calling on Godsiff to obey the leadership’s whip was carried overwhelmingly, with almost ninety percent of members supporting.

The Birmingham Hall Green motion opposed by only four members

A different motion, backing Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for Brexit and calling on Godsiff to support the leadership’s ‘approach and principles’ – with no mention of another referendum – was opposed by only four of the members present. It states:

This CLP supports the efforts or Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership to negotiate on softer and better terms for Brexit with Theresa May based on the following principles:

1. Complete opposition to a ‘No Deal’ exit
2. customs union to
a) address the Irish border question
b) facilitate as frictionless trade as possible
3. at least equivalent standards to the EU on issues such as employment rights, environmental protection and food standards.

We call upon our MP Roger Godsiff to support Jeremy Corbyn and his team on these efforts and to be guided by this approach and princlples in future votes in the House of Commons.

Peston on Labour?

ITV’s political editor Robert Peston has had a problematic relationship with Labour’s current position and politics. Earlier this month, for example, he was propagating reports that Labour had suffered a huge fall in membership – a notion already debunked, with Labour’s membership still steady on what it had been just before New Year and well above the figures reported:

Quoting similar Labour sources to his ‘amended letter’ claim today, in November last year claimed that Corbyn was about to turn Labour into “the champion of… [a] People’s Vote“:

According to senior Labour sources, Corbyn is close to agreeing that shortly (days) after the loss of the meaningful vote by May, he would formally make his party the champion of another referendum or People’s Vote – on the basis that if there is no consensus in parliament on what comes next, the question has to go back to the people.

Robert Peston November 2018 (Spectator and Facebook)

No such move was imminent, of course – Corbyn stuck to Labour’s longstanding policy of pursuing the downfall of the Tory government and initiating a general election.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

You’d think Mr Peston would be a little more cautious about the reliability of his ‘Labour sources’ by now.

But he is merely symptomatic of the UK’s so-called ‘mainstream media’, which has resolutely ignored strong and still mounting evidence that Labour members and voters believe Corbyn and his team are taking the right approach to the difficult issue of Brexit – and rejecting the idea of Labour ‘championing’ a new referendum.

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  1. Once again, under the cover of leftyness, Skwarkbox connives in the nasty pro-neoliberal attack on a “No Deal” Brexit. Roger Godsiff is today’s target but no doubt he will soon be joining in the efforts of right-wing Corbynistas to deselect Dennis Skinner too.

    The reviled “No Deal” Brexit remains the ONLY way to give the next Labour government back its sovereignty over public ownership, public monopoly, the ability to reverse marketization and freedom over industrial subsidies – crucial to the new public sector which Labour OUGHT to be building.

    As things currently stand (i.e. as an EU Member State) the Labour government would have no power to nationalise sectors of the economy as it did in 1945 nor would it be able to do so under the Withdrawal Agreement. Disgracefully his remains a matter of indifference to much of the so-called Labour Left because of its deep antipathy towards democratic socialist ideas and its attachment to capitalism. Indeed one suspects the Labour so-called “Left” would be perfectly happy with a Brown-Blair economic policy.

    By contrast the disastrous latest idea of a customs union would tie the country long-term to every nasty neoliberal deal which the European Commission has ever made with non EU countries. The CETA is a case in point. Corbyn has tried to remedy this by saying that Britain should retain “a say” – whatever that means – in trade deals. But this doesn’t stack up. First the EU may not accept it, in which case Corbyn would simply give in. Secondly, CETA is already in place and is part of the package. But thirdly in this veil of tears called life there will be future Tory governments as well as future Labour governments, and therefore ample opportunity to accept endless CETAs, TTIPs and so on during periods when Labour in is opposition (or heaven forbid when if ever Labour in government but under right wing domination).

    Furthermore in all likelihood the prohibitions on industrial subsidies and on the extension of public ownership would be part of any customs union package.


    1. If only the Left had circulated a simple description of what no deal actually means.

      The problems are the lack of democracy (we have no say in the parliamentary process) and the arcane nature of trade agreements. How many people on the street understand the workings of Anglo-European trade agreements?

      I don’t have a clue when it comes to how trade deals and customs unions work etc.

      1. Loftkarlson. Not wishing to be unkind, but do you have a clue that being in the EU and sharing sovereignty with others for the benefit of all is now the foundation, after fortyfive years, upon which our economy and trading benefits etc., are built?

        What happens when you destroy the foundations of a building? the whole lot comes down!

        The wealthy who have super reinforced houses don’t give a damn about that and have convinced many of the less fortunate, using smoke and mirrors tactics, that because they are living in rubble now, they have nothing to lose. The rubble will miraculously reassemble itself into a palace when we leave the EU.

        Like all sensible and discerning workers you know quite well that austerity, poverty and lack of decent housing is all the fault of the EU and most definitely not down to the actions of successive Tory Governments ……don’t you?????

      2. JackT, what are you saying. You cannot knock down a house move into temporary accommodation and rebuild.
        Fear politics? It’s about backing the Leadership direction and getting the tories to split. This, us against them and constant remain only knows better is tiring, pathetic childish with tantrums because you can’t have what you want.

      3. Masmit. Can’t you see that the Labour Party is splitting and I don’t mean the Blairites. If Labour doesn’t support the sixteen million Remainers there is zero chance of us forming a government.

      4. JackT, Labour is supporting the 16 Million by offering alignment. You cannot have remain after a vote to leave. Why is that so hard to take in.

      5. Masmit. It is so hard to take in because if we leave it will be a far right racist Brexit supported by little more than a third of the electorate and obtained by fraud.

        Oh, and it will depress our economy and the well being of those who can least afford it.

        Try to see the bigger picture and not the one presented to you by Farage, Boris, Rees-Mog, Fox and all the other insular, Little Englanders.

    2. Danny, there is some truth in your second paragraph, in as much as it refers to “sovereignty” over public ownership”,

      However, the opening statement to your third paragraph, “… would have no power to nationalise sectors of the economy as it did in 1945…” is, at best, ambiguous … and potentially, very misleading.

      It may not be possible for Labour to precisely replicate the implementations of 1945, but this certainly doesn’t mean it would have no power to nationalise, or to implement a programme of state aid, as a member state, or under the terms of any withdrawal deal. Your statement begs so many caveats and disclaimers, that I am tempted to say that it is irresponsible. However, I’ll settle for just plain wrong.

      Once again, I refer to the IPPR pamphlet State Aid And Brexit, January 2019, for a more measured view.

      1. And you should know by now that, I respect the referendum; I am instinctively in favour of a clean break and I am sceptical about the LP Brexit proposal (though I would so much like to be otherwise).

        However, the left should be putting forward well grounded and well informed argument in support of that clean break, given what it entails.

        When the analysis starts, at least in parts, to become sweeping, inaccurate and rhetorical, I begin to worry, particularly when so much is at stake.

  2. The 2nd vote lobby ignores the downsides (delay; contention; result remarkably similar no doubt to 2016 etc) in such a cavalier way (by not responding to anxieties) that you are driven to conclude there is another agenda here – like ‘crack the Labour Party open and sack the Lefties’. Ask the 2nd voters if they hope a new result will end Brexit altogether? Of course! Ask them whether they’d demand an end to Brexit if the vote was 51% Remain? Of course! And No they don’t expect any ‘trouble’ as a result, ‘that’s democracy’. !! Nor would they support a minimum cap of 55% or even 60% because they know it will be another knife edge. Similarly they have to be pretending when they say Remain will win; working class Leave voters are quite rightly furious at this elitist dodging; Remain might well get as few as 45%. Then what? Surrender to a 5 year Boris Government? It’s diving down a rabbit hole with no idea of what is down there. Or putting every penny you have on the roulette wheel; how can that be in any way ‘responsible’ politics? It’s devious and utterly reckless.

    1. You are correct. If there was a second referendum and the result was 52% in favour of Remain it would be hugely problematic.

      We would have two similar results opposing each other. To the eyes of the world it would be impossible to choose one result over another.

      However, the whole purpose of a second EU referendum is not to obtain clarity but to rejoin the EU and overturn the original result.

      I cannot imagine a second EU referendum obtaining a hugely different result – 80% Remain/20% Leave. That wouldn’t happen.

      I know one person who voted remain who regrets it. He said that if there’s a second EU Referendum he’d vote Leave. How many more are there who’ve changed from Remain to Leave?

      The world would see that the ‘democracy’ which is being sold to us is a lie. The game would be up.

  3. The result came about through fear, criminal acts by quitlings organisations and down right lies. It should be annulled because of it.
    Also spare a thought as to what example you set to the next generation of young people: that it is okay to commit criminal offences, lie and deceive if that gets you what you want. And that is exactly how right wing lots think and act.
    Where are they (the next generations) going to learn integrity, honesty and also consideration in genral terms.
    Honour something that is built on a bed of lies etc?
    That will sooner or later fall apart. 😔

  4. Why not just call it the ELITE REMAINERENDUM and admit that it is a ruse amongst Middle-Class Blairites to overturn democracy!

    1. “Why not just call it the ELITE REMAINERENDUM and admit that it is a ruse amongst Middle-Class Blairites to overturn democracy!”

      Absolute and utter bollocks. The Lexit cause is not supported by most on the left.

      There is nothing ‘elite’ about not wanting to impoverish the country and make the lives of the poor even worse.

      The Party is under assault from the Tory right and you and peddling this effete distraction in pursuit of an illusory fake-left rectitude when a progressive alliance needs to be built to undermine the neoliberal coalition??

      Give me strength!

      (P.S. You need to do a bit of homework on the term ‘democracy’. 37% of the electorate isn’t it in terms of an irreversible decision.)

      1. “Most on the left”. Don’t make me laugh. How can anyone claim to be ” left” and support this neoliberal bollocks from the Fourth Railway Package and what it means legally?
        “to open domestic rail passenger markets from 2020, so that railway operators can provide services across the EU. More competitive pressure is expected to lead to more frequent trains, and higher quality services better in tune with customer needs;
        more competition and performance targets for public service contracts, so as to improve cost-efficiency and get better value for money for taxpayers. Competitive bidding would become the norm from 2023 for the award of public service contracts to provide passenger rail services, which currently make up a large share of all rail services. Any contract awarded directly would need to meet specific performance and service quality targets.”
        This is the end of any dream of renationalisation of the railways. While French, German and Spanish nationally owned railways might hold out for a few years, we would have no chance of renationalisation without protracted legal challenge that would be leapt on by the opposition as frivolous waste of public money. There would never be a renationalised rail network.
        You are not from or of the left. You are a neoliberal.

    2. i’d say it’s more a ruse amongst MCBs to preserve their standard of living. At any cost.

      The destruction of democracy is just one of those unfortunate side-effects, but still a price worth paying even if it comes at the cost of others not having a standard of living at all.

      They’re all heart, really.

  5. I for one am totally sick of this ridiculous campaign, it is illogical and presupposes that we are all governed by emotion. You don’t have to be a genius to know that there will never be a majority for a permenent rejection of any pretense of democracy. No one is going to be totally satisfied with the end result, but it certainly won’t be a second referendum as proposed by fanatical “centrist” faux left, Labour fifth columnists. I have never experienced such breathtaking self delusion and back to front political thinking in my lifetime.

    1. “I for one am totally sick of this ridiculous campaign, it is illogical”

      Me too. Brexit is an utter nonsense, originated and perpetuated by the Tory right in order to fill their boots, with the intellectual credibility of a Gavin Williamson ‘bright idea’.

  6. The simple fact is that, whilst CLPs won’t explicitly undermine Corbyn, the ‘fence-up-the-arse’ tactical position has outlived its usefulness, and there needs to be a shift to an anti-Brexit stance in the interests of implementing a Labour agenda.

    The ‘customs union’ position was always going to be rejected by May and, of course is patently worse than a commitment to remaining in the EU. May’s rejection is the opportunity to make explicit the rational position.

    As to the ‘democracy’ issue – it won’t be comfortable, but another – proper instead of fake – referendum is obviously the way forward. Pretending that the last had any real validity is double-think, and is a Tory position.

    1. There is an interesting analysis of Theresa May’s stance Brexit in the Huff Post. It also highlights her shifting position on a customs union and her shifting position on her support for the ERG.

      “Why A No-Deal Brexit Is Now Theresa May’s Fallback Plan To Save Her Party – And Herself
      Internal party polling and warnings from her chief whip and party chairman have forced her to ‘think the unthinkable’ “


      1. lundiel 12/02/2019 at 5:03 pm

        Unfortunately your reluctance to read anything outside your echo chamber is self evident in many of your posts.

      2. lundiel 12/02/2019 at 6:24 pm

        Thanks for illustrating my point so succinctly

  7. I have yet to hear from a Leaver a coherent reason for leaving. Listening to them is akin to being in the company of a deluded gambler who is convinced they are going to win the lottery, if not this week then next week.

    Then there are the others who don’t like the rules of the game because you have to play fair. They just want a free for all so that they can take advantage of the weakest.

    I too want the Socialist utopia of the Lexiters but the way they are going we won’t even get a Labour Government.

    1. Then there are the others who don’t like the rules of the game because you have to play fair.

      ‘Play fair’…

      I seem to remember france, italy and even the germans took no notice of the rules with impunity if they didn’t like them. It’s because our politicians were/are such shithouses that they refused to do what the others did and ‘Played fair’ that was a factor for a lot of people wanting out.

      1. The Toffee. Yes I agree, to a certain extent you are correct but it illustrates that rules can be ‘massaged’ just as we could do if we remained. In fact the stuff about no State aid etc., has already been breeched by us as admitted by the Tories when they said they had dished out millions to car manfacturers and others to keep them here.

        This is a long way however from exploiting third world countries for their resources as we did back in the days of the colonies to which the right wing Brexiter ‘Little Englanders’ such as Rees-Mog want us to return.

      2. You can’t “massage the rules” when they are challengeable in law. For an idea of what would happen research the Labour government’s legal battles with Vodafone and try to understand how they had their noses rubbed in it, failed miserably and gave ammunition to the Tories.
        It is my personal opinion that you never listen to anything said by left wing leave supporters, so how you can complain about “coherence” is ridiculous and a lie to boot. You’ve never argued anything, you just sneer.

      3. lundiel. I’ve given you an example of how the eccentric left’s case that we can’t do this and we can’t do that if we remain in Europe is wrong. Making a competitor out of our largest trading partner by far is not just wrong it is stupid, bordering on the insane.

        The left wing administration of Portugal seems to be doing quite well out of it.

    2. I believe I gave you mine, of which you totally ignored, why because it didn’t suit your narrative. I suppose ignorant is bliss when you choose to ignore totally one side. There is no chance of remain, no backtracking. It what deal is made now. Why is it so hard to except.

      1. JackT, See other responses, alignment is coherent as I said, you just choose not to hear it.

  8. Re:- coherent reason.
    I voted leave because on the day of the referendum i happened to be flicking through a dictionary from front to back and noticed that leave came before remain and because of this i realised that leaving must obviously be better and voted accordingly. And i will not change my opinion untill the dictionary is re-written.
    Hope this is coherent enough.

  9. Sorry to be pedantic but the spelling in the quote at the top of this piece of ‘their’ is wrong. It should be ‘there’. Important when quoting from some other source.

  10. This is a Car Crash in the way it has been handled from Conference on. I do despair at the incompetence and it all leads to the loss of that rare opportunity to see a genuine socialist government in power.

  11. Peston is a tabloid journalist at heart – that’s why he and ITV are such a perfect match. If he doesn’t have any info, his instincts are to make it up as he goes along, always citing unnamed sources to allow deniability. He isn’t after integrity awards, he just wants the money.

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