Dear Jeremy Corbyn, public opinion is shifting – support a Final Say and end the Brexit deadlock

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Monday 14 January 2019 14:31 GMT
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

With the risk of a catastrophic Brexit less than 80 days away, we believe it is time for the Labour Party to support a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.

Over the last two and a half years, we have learned of the negative impacts Brexit will have on the lives of our constituents.

The government’s own figures show that we will be poorer under any form of deal outside of the EU – no government in our history has ever knowingly made our citizens poorer.

In recent months, many Leave-voting areas have changed their minds and the evidence shows most now want to Remain inside the European Union.

Currently, 75 per cent of our party members back a People’s Vote and that figure is likely to continue to rise.

Jeremy Corbyn says Labour could campaign for Final Say referendum if general election not possible

We can also see this strength of feeling from the hundreds of submissions and comments to the International Policy Commission.

We know you are committed to democratizing our party and listening to the views of our membership.

This was true in Liverpool in September when a record number of CLP motions were submitted to conference on a single issue, namely calling for a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal.

We were happy with the resulting composite resolution which continues to uphold Labour’s Six Tests, our wish to see a Labour government as soon as possible and held open the possibility of a People’s Vote.

There has never been a more important time to fulfil the promise of increased democracy in the party.

New polling of 25,000 people – the most comprehensive poll since the referendum – shows that Labour risks losing millions of supporters if it backs some form of a compromise deal.

We could then face a mass exodus of members and activists, especially young members, which would be catastrophic for the movement you have built up.

The United Kingdom has been at the heart of the European Union for the past 40 years, and Labour representatives have been working alongside other socialist and democratic parties across the continent to promote peace at home and abroad.

The European Union supports world-leading collaboration in academia, the sciences, and the arts and encourages prosperity through the single market, a customs union and the leverage our powerful trading bloc of 500 million people gives us.

The EU has been a vehicle for progressive legislation on workers’ rights, human rights, gender equality and social protections which so many of our members hold dear, and you will know that we have made much progress in the current legislature, for example closing the loophole in the Posted Workers Directive, tackling tax evasion and environmental issues.

The EU has often come to the aid of the United Kingdom, investing in the poorer regions who found themselves on the sharp end of an ideologically driven austerity agenda inflicted by the Conservative Party, and providing millions of pounds to mitigate flood damage.

As MEPs, we see firsthand how a values-based approach to legislation can have a profound and positive impact on the lives of citizens across Europe – indeed, Labour MEPs have been at the forefront of some of the most progressive policy.

Like our colleagues from the EU27, we are concerned about how the European Union will be able to fight effectively against the far-right and corporate greed without the UK Labour Party leading the charge.

We are living through a profound national crisis that will define our country for decades to come, and largely affects the future of our young people, who we know voted overwhelmingly to Remain in the EU.

Isolationism has never, and will never be, the answer to the many global and international problems we must solve together with our allies. We need to have a seat at the table in order to shape the future, including reform of the European institutions.

Labour needs to demonstrate that it is indeed a government in waiting. Our 2017 manifesto resonated with so many people across the UK who want an alternative vision for the country.

We outlined a clear vision for a fairer, more equal and compassionate society, but Labour will struggle to implement that manifesto in a UK plagued by the economic downturn Brexit will cause and a parliament clogged with legislation associated with a messy withdrawal.

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To be clear, we believe Labour cannot successfully implement its manifesto commitments outside of the European Union, where we would be a rule-taker, not a rule-maker.

We applaud your trenchant criticisms of Theresa May's Brexit deal, which is indeed a damaging deal that would be little better than a no-deal Brexit.

But we now face the challenge of what to do in light of its near certain defeat if we don't manage to secure a rapid general election. The cowardly postponement of the vote by the PM means that time is running out and we need to bring forward decisions that will garner the support of the majority of our members and supporters.

With the current impasse in Westminster, giving the people a Final Say on what to do is the only way through the deadlock. This is the democratic way forward, especially in the light of so much information and evidence that has come to light.

A reformed EU is the best possible platform for Labour to create a new Europe – for the many, not the few.

Julie Ward MEP

Seb Dance MEP

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP

Catherine Stihler MEP

Mary Honeyball MEP

Wajid Khan MEP

David Martin MEP

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