The Labour leader has felt that it would be wrong to stand in the way of the public’s decision. [Image: Andrew Milligan/PA].

The most disturbing part of the Guardian‘s report is the claim that 3,000 members have quit the Labour Party since the start of the year, over Brexit. What exactly do they want?

The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. Nothing Labour does can prevent that, because of the Conservative Party’s majority in Parliament.

Nobody has researched how many of Labour’s current membership – or indeed how many of those who voted Remain in the EU referendum – actually did anything to prevent the Conservatives getting that majority and calling the referendum in the first place. Those who stood by and let it happen have no right to complain about the consequences now.

We are where we are. Labour, as the main Opposition party, has a duty to be a government-in-waiting – and a government-in-waiting cannot be seen to represent only a small proportion of the nation, as it would if it championed the already-lost cause of the Remainers.

So Keir Starmer, and Jeremy Corbyn, are right. Labour cannot stand in the way of the decision that was made on June 23. Like it or not, all the arguments about the referendum are over and rehashing them won’t make a scrap of difference. The vote has been taken; the choice has been made.

All Labour can do now is try to ensure that the UK decouples from the EU in as painless a way as possible.

Anybody calling for Labour to run away from that battle is arguing for the Tories to have absolute control over what happens next – with no checks and balances imposed on them at all.

Perhaps the members who have quit the party, and the MPs who have split it, didn’t think about that.

Or, worse, perhaps they did.

Corbyn and the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, have felt throughout that it would be wrong to stand in the way of the public’s decision, expressed in the result of last June’s referendum, to leave the EU.

But Starmer, whose Holborn and St Pancras seat voted three to one for remain, has also faced calls to resign. In a letter to constituents seen by the Guardian, he said: “I know that many people have urged me to reflect the 75% remain vote in Holborn and St Pancras by voting against article 50 and resigning my post in the shadow cabinet.

“I see the argument, but that would prevent me pressing Labour’s amendments, it would prevent me questioning the government relentlessly from the frontbench over the coming years and it would prevent me fighting as hard as I can for a Brexit on the right terms. It would be to walk off the pitch just when we need effective challenge to government.”

Starmer has given a robust defence of the party’s stance in an interview in Progress, the magazine of Labour’s centrist pressure group, saying he wants to speak for both leavers and remainers.

“It will be wrong for the Labour party to rip up its history and tradition of representing a broad group of people, as a broad church, and have no greater ambition than to represent half the country. We need to be a party that aspires to govern, and a party that aspires to govern has to be able to represent and speak to all of the country,” he said.

Source: Jeremy Corbyn’s team braces for fresh Labour rebellion over article 50 | Politics | The Guardian

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