If Labour want to remain the ‘party of the people’, they need to back a clean break from the EU – and soon
2 May, 2019
by Joel Casement
The Labour Party has been sidelined in the Brexit process by a Prime Minister who has persistently brought back a betrayal deal which utterly fails the British people and those in Labour who voted Leave at the EU referendum. Theresa May’s deal locks us into an Irish backstop which will break up the Union of the United Kingdom. Labour, as the ‘Party of the people’ must offer a Brexit the people want. We must end talk of a second referendum and deliver a complete and comprehensive exit from the EU. If Labour does not do this, they will risk alienating and betraying all Labour Leave voters.
Second referendum advocates – like Deputy Leader Tom Watson and nearly 90 Labour MPs – do not represent Labour Leave voters. The National Executive Committee’s decision this week “to keep the option of a ‘Confirmatory Vote’” within the manifesto for the European Parliamentary Elections betrays Leave voters within the party. We have already seen advocates of a second referendum such as Chuka Umunna leave the Labour Party because they are unwilling to recognise the result of the EU referendum and deliver on the Labour Party 2017 General Election manifesto. Labour voters do not want a divided party. They want Brexit to be delivered.
The Labour Party has a duty to deliver for the 17.4 million Leave voters and all those who value Britain’s democracy.
The only Brexit which delivers on the result of the referendum is a no-deal, WTO rules Brexit. Theresa May’s Government failed to deliver on her numerous promises to Leave the EU on 29th March 2019, as well as the people’s desire for a no-deal Brexit. Labour must not make the same mistake. They must advocate leaving the EU on WTO terms, without a deal and as soon as possible.
For far too long the Labour Party has fought Conservative governments and the EU over workers’ rights. The EU has upheld workers’ rights but did not improve them to the standard Britain wants or expects. The UK must ‘Take Back Control’ of our own labour laws so we improve workers’ rights beyond what the EU would grant. The EU has kept trade unions passive and not allowed them to protect their workers in the way they deserve. After the last recession, the millions of unemployed in Spain, Greece and elsewhere in the EU received no benefits from their trade union rights. We cannot fall into the same trap. We must break free of the EU and secure proper working rights for British workers.
Labour must advocate a Brexit which gives British business and workers the opportunities for success which EU membership denies us. We must grow our digital economy and ensure our future trade agreements are international. The world does not end at the EU’s borders. We would limit ourselves by remaining in the Customs Union and the Single Market. The growth in international trade will bring business growth, job security and a higher standard of living for British workers. Labour must protect workers by securing their jobs and improving their rights. We cannot achieve this if we are dictated to and shackled by the EU.
The EU is anti-democratic and anti-socialist and goes against the principles of the Labour Party. It takes decisions away from national governments and through the weed-like growth of the euro, it has limited the economic independence of EU members.
The UK has dodged the euro bullet, but has fallen victim to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The CAP and CFP have restricted British business and damaged the livelihoods of British workers by reducing competition and subsidising Britain’s competitors in the EU. British farmers and fishermen must have unfettered control over their own success in the future, by being able to trade with the rest of the world, on global prices, without EU quotas hampering them.
So, I repeat, the only way Labour can deliver on the result of the referendum for the millions of Labour Leave voters is to leave the EU without a deal, on WTO terms. This would secure jobs and livelihoods for British workers within an independent economy with global trading potential. Workers’ rights would be enhanced and guaranteed by British courts, no longer subservient to the European Court of Justice.
It is imperative we Get Britain Out of the EU as soon as possible, so we can look after our workers, build industry and move forward. The Labour Party must present a united front and give the leadership and direction the UK has lacked for far too long by delivering a no-deal Brexit.
Joel Casement is a Research Executive at cross-party, grassroots Eurosceptic group Get Britain Out.