25 Labour MPs write to party leader calling for a Labour-led Brexit
Twenty-five Labour MPs, primarily from leave-voting constituencies, have written to Jeremy Corbyn urging him to reject calls for a ‘divisive’ referendum in discussions with Theresa May, which have entered a second day.
A number of Labour MPs and others have recently made media comments claiming that a new referendum is Labour policy – which is not the case.
The MPs’ letter tells Corbyn that the talks “represent a real opportunity” of a deal that would meet Labour’s ‘six tests’ to protect workers, the environment, human rights and EU citizens – and lets him know that correspondence from their constituents gives no indication that their desire to leave the EU is lessening, in fact that the contrary is the case.
The letter agrees that Labour’s policy is to support a “sensible deal” that includes a customs union and protects the ‘Good Friday’ peace agreement in Ireland. This is entirely in line with Corbyn’s approach – a note circulated to MPs by the party’s leadership last week reminded them that “Labour’s priority is to deliver our credible Brexit plan which respects our commitment to accept the result of the referendum.”
The MPs’ letter continues:
Our policy, agreed by members, accepts that the public voted to leave the EU and seeks a deal that secure jobs and rights at work. It does not require a confirmatory ballot on any deal that meets those conditions.
Delaying for many months in the hope of a second referendum will simply divide the country further and add uncertainty for business. A second referendum would be exploited by the far right, damage the trust of many core Labour voters and reduce our chances of winning a general election.
We believe if we achieve these Labour gains now, we will be able to claim great credit for achieving a Deal [sic] that brings Remain and Leave voters together.
It concludes by expressing the MPs’ confidence in Labour’s position and Corbyn’s negotiations.
Media commentators, pro-referendum campaigners and some MPs have misrepresented Labour’s policy in a transparent effort to create an impression that Labour is committed to preventing Brexit.
The letter above makes no misrepresentation and makes clear that while blocking May’s terrible deal or a no-deal exit are essential, Labour remains committed to leaving the EU if a good deal – a Labour deal – can be achieved.
It is also clear that a new referendum, far from deciding the issue and improving the UK’s political climate, would worsen division. In other words, divisive, not decisive.
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