Labour vote against Johnson’s deal will not only be futile – it will hand Tories victory on a plate in next general election
Boris Johnson’s EU withdrawal bill comes before Parliament again today – and represents both the opening salvo and potentially a decisive moment in this new – and for the next five years benighted – political period.
Labour took a pounding last week in its leave-voting heartlands because the party moved away, under pressure from its so-called ‘moderates’, from its 2017 commitment to enact Brexit on Labour’s terms.
That move turned the ‘Corbyn surge’ of 2017 into last week’s nightmare – and be in no doubt, in the minds of many centrists that was exactly the aim. But some are still pushing for Labour to ‘resist’ Brexit – even though on the new parliamentary numbers, such resistance would be futile.
Worse than futile: if Labour votes against Johnson’s bill today, it gifts Johnson and the Tories a narrative for the next five years that will make it next to impossible to win back the voters who punished Labour for ignoring their 2016 votes to leave the EU.
The Tories will get their hard Brexit anyway – well played centrists and remain ‘ultras’, you can’t say you weren’t warned – and will be able to spend the rest of the Parliament telling leave voters that Labour was still showing them contempt and trying to ignore them right to the end of the matter.
Labour must back the bill today – and those who cannot bring themselves to do so must at worst abstain. And any leadership hopeful who tries to curry favour on both sides by making a damaging gesture against the bill should see those hopes ended instantly.
Anything else will be continued vandalism to the movement that so many millions in this country so desperately need.
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