Attempt to force Labour into full-remain position was functionally a coup – it failed
Labour delegates today voted by a large majority in favour of ‘Composite 14’ and the NEC’s statement, both of which supported Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to negotiate a new Brexit deal with the EU as a Labour government after the next general election – and then offer the public a vote on the deal.
By a similarly large majority – and before the other two votes – delegates voted against a motion – Composite 13 – to force Labour into a ‘full remain’ position and a general election campaign on that basis.
Some of those who led the charge to paint Labour into a remain corner and tie Corbyn’s hands in the coming general election may were doing so because they saw the electoral damage that such a position would do to Labour as a means of forcing out Corbyn – and the SKWAWKBOX can reveal that discussions were already underway among centrists and the ‘liberal left’ to try to control the selection of his successor.
That small number among those pushing a hard-remain line gambled that Labour members hate Brexit and want remain enough to persuade many to abandon their support for Corbyn.
They lost that bet – proving yet again how out of touch they were with Labour’s huge grassroots support.
The delegates voting today were elected by Labour’s half million members to represent their views in Brighton – and they spoke loudly today for those who elected them.
That those delegates understood exactly what the stakes and motives in play was made clear by their response when Composite 13 was overwhelmingly defeated:
As a few defeated delegates tried to challenge the count in spite of its clear result, loud and prolonged chants of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” echoed around the conference hall.
They knew what it meant.
Labour’s members, through the delegates that represent them, have shown that claims they overwhelmingly support the wrong-headed push to abandon leave voters are – at best – pure fallacy.
Most Labour members might have voted remain. They might wish for remain now. But that is a very different thing to wanting it more than a general election victory or to throw the millions of leave voters in Labour’s heartlands over the side.
Labour is for the many – and that goes for the vast majority of its members as well as for its leader. Those who gambled that this was not the case lost heavily today – and Labour members emerged the winners even more than their leader.
But this wasn’t merely a casual bet. It was a functional coup. The consequences must not be simply giving up their discredited claims to speak for the movement.
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