Lavery, Trickett and others remind Labour leader of 2017 commitment to enact 2016 referendum result
A number of Shadow Cabinet members, including party chair Ian Lavery and and senior member Jon Trickett, have expressed concerns about the recent push by some colleagues to manoeuvre Labour into a ‘full remain’ stance aiming for a referendum before a general election.
Correspondence seen by the BBC show the senior Labour figures warning that such an attempt can only backfire – both failing to pass and damaging Labour electorally in the process.
The Shadow Cabinet members – who include some of Corbyn’s closest advisers – believe any referendum motion will not have enough Commons support and a Labour attempt to push one would simply set the party up to be seen failing.
Prioritising a referendum also risks making Labour seem afraid to fight a general election in the eyes of voters – gifting the Tories and other parties an easy line of propaganda, while angering leave voters in Labour heartlands and marginals who voted for Labour in 2017 on the basis of its manifesto promise to enact the 2016 referendum result in a Labour Brexit deal.
Trickett went further, writing an article in the Guardian in which he argues – as the SKWAWKBOX reported yesterday that other senior figures were saying – that any referendum that respects voters can only be on the basis of the credible deal Labour promised and not a bodged Johnson version.
Laura Smith, who resigned from the Shadow Cabinet in to respect what she felt were the views of most of her constituents, shared Trickett’s article on social media, making clear that the party must not abandon Labour’s millions of leave voters and the two-thirds of its parliamentary seats that voted leave – and that there is no satisfying hardcore remain MPs:
Smith also tweeted support for colleague Stephanie Peacock’s anger that remainers were dismissing her socialism because she backs the choice of her constituents:
One senior insider told the SKWAWKBOX:
Labour was strongest when it fought to do the best for the 99% regardless of their 2016 preference. It’s no surprise that the more we appeal to less than half of those who voted in the referendum, the lower we poll.
Labour’s die-hard remainers insisted Labour could only benefit from tacking to full remain. Instead, as the party has moved to anything other than implementing the referendum result, Labour’s polling has dropped steeply from the over 40% it regularly enjoyed.
Lavery, Trickett, Smith and their colleagues are absolutely right – Labour has compromised more than enough on its Brexit position and must not even hint at a referendum before the public has a chance to vote in a Labour government.
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