Numbers claimed by ‘mainstream’ media demonstrably inflated
An analysis of Labour documents reveals that the claims of the ‘mainstream’ media about the resistance of Labour MPs to a Brexit deal with no new public vote do not stand up to scrutiny.
So-called ‘mainstream’ outlets have variously claimed that ‘a majority’, or ‘two thirds’, or ‘over 100’ Labour MPs have said they would ‘refuse’ to back any deal agreed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May if it does not include a ‘confirmatory vote’ (CV) – a new referendum in all but name:
Not just absence of evidence
However, the evidence that exists of such resistance consists of letters published by Labour MPs – and the numbers do not add up.
In fact, the evidence indicates a maximum of eighty-three MPs who have expressed an intention to resist any deal not including a new public vote. The numbers for the various letters sent – which have been cross-checked to ensure that any names not appearing on all the letters are still included in the above maximum number – are as follows:
- 16.01.19: 71 Labour MPs (including MPs who are now TIG/Change)
- 08.04.19: 83 Labour MPs
- 26.04.18: 82 Labour MPs
Contrary to many ‘mainstream’ media reports, the number of MPs who want to resist a non-CV deal does not constitute two-thirds of Labour MPs – nor even a majority. Instead, a maximum of about one in three Labour MPs have put their names to letters calling for a new vote.
And not even all of those have said they would defy a Labour ‘3-line whip’ – a political party’s ultimate instruction to vote along a particular line – to back any deal that Corbyn and May might agree.
Talks between Labour and the Tories are ongoing – and a successful conclusion threatens to bypass the small hard-core of centrist MPs who would prefer overturning the referendum to winning a general election, with the voting arithmetic in the Commons looking solid for the passage of an amended deal if Corbyn approves one.
Why might remain-obsessed centrists might exaggerate or misleadingly present the number of potential rebels in an attempt to either sink the discussions or force a new public vote into the equation against Labour policy?
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