MPs and ‘Labour sources’ spinning Corbyn’s victory on Brexit stance as if it means the opposite
Jeremy Corbyn won a resounding victory this evening when Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) – in spite of the unavoidable absence of a number of left members – voted by a clear margin to stick to Labour’s conference policy on Brexit in its European election manifesto.
Tom Watson and his allies were using a misrepresentation of the policy to claim the party must commit to a so-called ‘confirmatory vote’ (CV) on any Brexit agreement – a new referendum by another name, since CV-proponents claim it must be included.
Labour’s policy position is to reserve the option of a new vote as a last resort if there is no other way to prevent a ‘Tory’ hard Brexit and the ‘hard border’ within Ireland that would come with it.
It was a humiliating defeat for Watson, who had built up to today’s meeting by pushing loudly and shamelessly for a ‘CV’ on mainstream and social media.
But CV-proponents have already started trying to ‘spin’ the defeat – largely by pretending it didn’t happen and ‘welcoming’ the result as if it meant something else entirely.
One MP tweeted that she was:
Glad that Labour NEC has agreed confirmatory vote, in line with party policy, for our European election manifesto
even though no such thing had been agreed.
The BBC’s Iain Watson came closest to telling it straight:
However, his language could have been a lot plainer – and he omitted the obvious point that a “caveated referendum… IF the Conservatives don’t change their deal or concede an election” is exactly the unchanged ‘conference policy‘ that Labour decided in Liverpool last September and which Corbyn wanted to retain. Still, he made the point about Watson’s defeat with admirable clarity.
Corbyn – and Labour – emerged from this afternoon’s NEC meeting even stronger. Tom Watson emerged even further diminished – and no spin can disguise the fact.
His position is untenable. If he has any decency he will step down or at the very least trigger an election for his position, if he thinks he has any support – as Labour members have long been calling on him to do.
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