Opposing factions of the Labour Party have taken to writing letters in order to show their support – or lack of it – for Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to tackle the Tory Article 50 Bill.
First was a letter signed (at the time of writing) by around 4,750 Labour Party members, exhorting Mr Corbyn to rethink his decision to whip the Parliamentary party into supporting the Bill at its second reading.
“The membership of the Labour Party is not, and has never been, pro-Brexit. The party has a long history of supporting membership of the European Union. We had an official policy of supporting and campaigning for Remain during the referendum campaign,” the letter begins.
It goes on to say that Theresa May’s Brexit will be “hard Brexit”, that the people Labour exists to protect will be harmed most by it and that this does not reflect the will of the people, as provided in the referendum.
It says if Labour opposes the Bill, it could gain more voters than it loses.
Sadly, the letter misses the point in several ways:
Firstly, whether the membership of the party has been pro-Brexit or not, the majority of people voting in the referendum were. Labour has a duty to represent the people of the United Kingdom and Brexit voters had a clear majority.
But Mr Corbyn knows that Theresa May’s Brexit is no good to anybody apart from her Tory friends, and he has no intention of allowing her to enact such a move. That’s why he is only whipping MPs to support the Article 50 Bill at second reading. After that, he will put forward a series of amendments to ensure that the UK leaves the EU in the best way possible for the people of the country. How the party votes at the third and final reading will depend on its success with these amendments.
So the first letter is significantly flawed.
In response, another letter has been written and is swiftly attracting signatures.
This one is open to members and non-members alike – because, after all, it is the voters who Labour needs to attract, not just those who have already joined up.
It states: “The mainstream media have focused on Labour’s situation and is giving an easy ride to Theresa May and her government in their obvious chaos and lack of direction.
“It’s clear that when Theresa May says ‘Brexit means Brexit’, she doesn’t have a clue what she means and is stumbling blindly forward. We recognise that Jeremy Corbyn’s approach gives ordinary and vulnerable people the best possible protection in a situation not of their – nor of Labour’s nor Corbyn’s – making.
“We also call on all Labour members, MPs, MEPs and officials to cease using the Brexit situation as an opportunity for undermining the Party, as such behaviour brings the Party into disrepute.
“Mr Corbyn, we applaud your handling of this difficult situation and you have our confidence.”
You can read and sign this letter here – whether you are a Labour Party member or not.
Which approach do you prefer?
Labour against Brexit (@Labour4EU on Twitter) was founded by Jon Proctor, a Progress supporter (surprise) with a criminal record, who was taken to task last year by Labour members in the north-east for claiming they were massively opposed to Jeremy Corbyn.
In spite of the credibility issues raised by these facts, Mr Proctor has been given a platform by the Guardian, on the basis of just a few thousand signatures, to claim a ‘grassroots revolt’ of Labour members against Corbyn’s handling of Brexit.
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: