Labour’s NEC has released a statement of support for Jeremy Corbyn’s preferred policy on Brexit – and the BBC’s Tory-supporting political editor is already doing everything she can to undermine it.
The statement shows that a Labour government would negotiate a new Brexit deal with the EU and put it before the people in a new referendum within six months of coming into office.
This deal, following discussion with industry, trade unions and the EU, would include a new UK-EU customs union, a close relationship with the Single Market, protections of the Good Friday Agreement with no hard border, securing the permanent rights of three million EU nationals in the UK and one million UK nationals in Europe, guarantees of workers’ rights and environmental protections, and membership of key bodies to ensure joint co-operation in areas like climate change, counter-terrorism and medicines.
And Labour would decide how to campaign in a referendum on this deal – or remaining in the EU – after a special one-day party conference, to ensure that the will of party members is upheld.
Here’s the meat of the statement:
Labour will put control of Brexit back in the hands of the people in a new referendum with a real choice between a sensible leave deal or remain.
The NEC further welcomes the role of the Labour Party in Parliament to work cross-party to legislate against crashing out on 31 October. There is no mandate for No Deal.
A Labour government will get Brexit sorted one way or another within six months of coming to power, allowing us to concentrate on all the issues that matter to people most.
A Labour Government would secure a sensible leave deal with the EU within three months, and within six months would put it before the people in a referendum alongside the option to remain.
Jeremy Corbyn is right to say that as a Labour prime minister he would implement the will of the British people in that referendum.
The Labour frontbench has consulted with industry, trade unions and EU leaders and officials on a deal that protects jobs and investment, while respecting the 2016 referendum result.
Labour’s leave deal would include a new UK-EU customs union, a close relationship with the Single Market, protections of the Good Friday Agreement with no hard border, securing the permanent rights of 3 million EU nationals in the UK and 1 million UK nationals in Europe, guarantees of workers’ rights and environmental protections, and membership of key bodies to ensure joint co-operation in areas like climate change, counter-terrorism and medicines.
If people vote to leave on those terms, Labour will deliver that and leave the EU with that negotiated deal. If people vote to remain, Labour would implement that and seek to reform the EU as members. A Labour government will deliver whichever decision is made by the people of the UK.
The NEC believes it is right that the party shall only decide how to campaign in such a referendum – through a one-day special conference, following the election of a Labour Government.
It’s a strong policy, ensuring that the people of the UK have the opportunity to determine their own future – unlike the policies of the Boris Johnson’s Conservatives or Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats.
So of course BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg – who already crashed the BBC switchboard with complaints after she outed a concerned father who challenged Boris Johnson over the collapse of the NHS as a “Labour activist” and told Twitter’s Tories where they could dogpile him – had to try to cause trouble.
In a series of tweets, she claimed that the Labour leadership had emailed the statement to NEC members with a request to get replies in before 1.30pm:
3. Not really sure this is either the kinder, gentler politics or the kind of proper party democracy that excited Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) September 22, 2019
But her claim doesn’t take in the realities of conference participation. Was she suggesting that NEC members should have abandoned their commitments to appear, in order to have a meeting about it?
In practice, a round-robin email was the easiest way – and the deadline was late enough that everyone involved would have had time to respond, between conference appearances.
As it was, there was a majority for the statement before midday, so it was released.
So much for the threat that Brexit divisions would overshadow the conference. But how many people will dwell on Ms Kuenssberg’s distortion rather than the facts?