Labour conference rejects vote on Brexit policy
By KD Tait
A CONTEMPORARY motion “to adopt a policy of remaining in the European Customs Union and Single Market through membership of the eea.” sponsored by Blairite MPs but also supported by lefts like Clive Lewis and TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes, because it implied continued free movement, failed to be prioritised for debate by delegates.
Momentum encouraged delegates not to prioritise it by implying there was already a substantive debate scheduled. In fact all delegates got was a bland NEC statement, drafted to with the explicit intention of giving the leadership room to manoeuvre and compromise:
“Labour accepts and respects the referendum result and will seek a new relationship with the eu not as a member but a partner” and goes on to call for “a tariff and impediment-free trading relationship with the EU.”
If it was right to oppose Brexit then, it is right to continue to oppose it now. Nothing material has changed. The labour movement is under no obligation to “respect” a result, motivated either by outright chauvinism or by myths about the responsibility of the EU or foreign workers for our run-down industrial areas and crisis wracked public services.
All real problems: none the fault of immigrants. Labour’s only democratic obligation is to ensure that any reversal or modification of the Brexit decision is itself a democratic one. If Labour wants a Europe of “cooperation” and “solidarity” then it should remain in Europe and fight for that vision.