Full policy wording currently misrepresented by proponents of ‘confirmatory vote’ – below is the full wording and a clear summary of its significance
In recent weeks, opponents of Brexit have switched from calling for a “people’s vote” to the idea of a “confirmatory vote (CV) on any deal” – perhaps considering that the idea of confirming a deal is more marketable than trying to explicitly overturn the 2016 referendum. However, as the calls are for a CV to include ‘remain’ as an option, the difference is merely notional.
As with its predecessor, those pushing ‘CV’ have increasingly misunderstood or misrepresented Labour’s ‘conference policy’ on the notion of any new public vote, currently claiming that it contains a ‘commitment’ to such a vote ‘in all circumstances’.
The full wording of Labour’s conference resolution is clear but lengthy. It is shown below – along with a simple, three-line summary of its significance and the position that Jeremy Corbyn is expected to ask today’s meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to confirm:
Conference welcomes Jeremy Corbyn’s determined efforts to hold the Tories to account for their disastrous negotiations. Conference accepts that the public voted to leave the EU, but when people voted to ‘take back control’ they were not voting for fewer rights, economic chaos or to risk jobs. Conference notes the warning made by Jaguar Land Rover on 11.9.18, that without the right deal in place, tens of thousands of jobs there would be put at risk.
Conference notes that workers in industries across the economy in ports, food, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, energy, chemicals, in our public services and beyond are worried about the impact of a hard Brexit on livelihoods and communities.
Conference believes we need a relationship with the EU that guarantees full participation in the Single Market. The Brexit deal being pursued by Theresa May is a threat to jobs, freedom of movement, peace in Northern Ireland and the NHS. Tory Brexit means a future of dodgy trade deals and American-style deregulation, undermining our rights, freedoms and prosperity. This binds the hands of future Labour governments, making it much harder for us to deliver on our promises. Conference notes Labour has set six robust tests for the final Brexit deal. Conference believes Labour MPs must vote against any Tory deal failing to meet these tests in full.
Conference also believes a no-deal Brexit should be rejected as a viable option and calls upon Labour MPs to vigorously oppose any attempt by this Government to deliver a no-deal outcome. Conference notes that when trade unions have a mandate to negotiate a deal for their members, the final deal is accepted or rejected by the membership. Conference does not believe that such important negotiations should be left to government ministers who are more concerned with self-preservation and ideology than household bills and wages.
Stagnant wages, crumbling services and the housing crisis are being exacerbated by the government and employers making the rich richer at working people’s expense, and not immigration. Conference declares solidarity and common cause with all progressive and socialist forces confronting the rising tide of neo-fascism, xenophobia, nationalism and right wing populism in Europe.
Conference resolves to reaffirm the Labour Party’s commitment to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 including no hard border in Ireland.
Conference believes that there is no satisfactory technological solution that is compliant with the Good Friday Agreement and resolves to oppose any Brexit deal that would see the restoration of a border on the island of Ireland in any form for goods, services or people.
Should Parliament vote down a Tory Brexit deal or the talks end in no-deal, Conference believes this would constitute a loss of confidence in the Government. In these circumstances, the best outcome for the country is an immediate General Election that can sweep the Tories from power.
If we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote. If the Government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public.
This should be the first step in a Europe-wide struggle for levelling-up of living standards, rights and services and democratisation of European institutions Labour will form a radical government; taxing the rich to fund better public services, expanding common ownership, abolishing anti-union laws and engaging in massive public investment.
Note that there is no mention of a ‘vote in all circumstances’. Instead, the resolution lists options that Labour will keep on the table to defeat a ‘Tory Brexit deal’.
The conference motion therefore boils down to three options:
- A Labour Brexit (no referendum)
- A negotiated Brexit (no referendum)
- If Theresa May forces a Tory Brexit that would damage the UK and create a harder border on the island of Ireland, Labour will support all means to stop it including, if necessary, a new vote
Both the summary and the full wording carry a clear commitment by Labour to enact the result of the 2016 referendum – unless a new vote is required as a last resort to prevent the disaster May and her party have created.
If Labour’s NEC votes in anything firmer on a so-called ‘confirmatory vote’ today, it will have exceeded the policy approved by Labour’s sovereign policy-making body: its party conference.
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