Brexit; Labour Finally Backs A Second Referendum

Written By: - Date published: 8:57 am, February 26th, 2019 - 104 comments
Categories: Europe, International, Jeremy Corbyn, uk politics - Tags: , ,

The defection of a group of pro-European MP’s has had a chastening effect on Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Previously unwilling to back a fresh vote on leaving the EU, Corbyn has now accepted that a second referendum is a genuine option.

First though, Labour will attempt to win an amendment in Parliament that would allow for the UK to leave, but under terms radically different than those being pushed by Tory leader Theresa May.

The Labour amendment, which will be voted on overnight, reads as follows:

That this house instructs ministers

(a) to negotiate with the EU for changes to the political declaration to secure:

i. A permanent and comprehensive customs union with the EU;

ii. Close alignment with the single market underpinned by shared institutions and obligations;

iii. Dynamic alignment on rights and protections;

iv. Commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation; and

v. Unambiguous agreement on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European Arrest Warrant and vital shared databases;

(b) To introduce primary legislation to give statutory effect to this negotiating mandate

If the amendment fails to get majority support, Labour have indicated that they will then switch to backing the ‘People’s Vote’ campaign in some form or other.  Mind you, they’re not too specific about this bit.

Meanwhile European council leader Donald Tusk has said that if Britain wants to delay Brexit that would be a “rational solution”.

Tusk says the EU would show “understanding”.

So the state of play now is that Theresa May’s strategy of winding down the clock until Parliament is forced to either endorse her muddled plan or accept a NO Deal hard Brexit is under real pressure.

May might now decide that requesting an extension to the March 29 Brexit deadline and calling a snap election is the simplest solution.

However, she’ll want to see how the polls are affected by Corbyn’s about face first.

May will be hoping there is a significant anti-Labour backlash in pro-Leave parts of the country.

While that’s possible, it’s far more likely that the mood of the country now is to end the whole sorry saga, even if that means that the UK will remain in Europe.

 

104 comments on “Brexit; Labour Finally Backs A Second Referendum”

  1. Kevin 1

    Never thought I would see the day a Labour Party would actively undermine democracy.

    • Roflcopter 1.1

      He’s basically just told 17.4m voters, of which a large number will be Labour supporters, that their 2016 vote didn’t matter.

      Way to go!

    • Macro 1.2

      When has it been democracy to steadfastly adhere to a rigged vote on a topic on which not one of the voters, including those who drafted the referendum, knew what they were voting for.

      • Gosman 1.2.1

        The vote was not rigged. Some elements of both sides (but mainly the Brexiters) did breech electoral spending and engage in dodgy politicking. That does not mean the election did not generally reflect the will of the majority of the UK electorate. None of the main political party’s in the UK are arguing that.

      • Anne 1.2.2

        @Macro
        Yep. It is almost inconceivable that a nation as sophisticated as Britain could have been so incredibly naive. If the drafters of the referendum didn’t know what they were voting for, how in God’s name were the people supposed to know.

        I openly admit that despite reading loads of literature and opinion on the subject, I’m still in a state of confusion as to what is the best course of action.

        • Sam 1.2.2.1

          I mean UKIPS Nigal Farage, the main proponent of BREXIT got the arse at the next election when May called a snap election and David Cameron quit leaving the B team.

      • KJT 1.2.3

        Do you really think the voters were that stupid?

        Most discounted the propaganda, from both sides and made their own decision.
        Plenty of sound reasons for leaving the EU.
        Greece is but one example of why the EU, mostly, benefits German bankers. For one.

        That is why the Eurocrats are determined to make an example of Britain.

        They know, if Britain escapes, voters in other countries will want to follow.

        The palpable contempt for the “great unwashed” actually being allowed a say in their destiny, Democracy, from both the left and the right, is disgusting.

        Is Democracy only allowed if, you, agree with it?

        • Roflcopter 1.2.3.1

          +1

          And other countries will follow… the European Union has overreached past the point of no return.

        • Nic the NZer 1.2.3.2

          Its important to note the anti-democratic nature of the EU means Greece can’t elect a party which selects its own budget. This is not true for the UK which never joined the Eurozone. But i am still constantly amazed at the left wing attachment to such anti-democratic institutions.

          • Augustus 1.2.3.2.1

            Greece elected the parties that decided to join the Eurozone, after campaigning on just that. Very undemocratic.

            • KJT 1.2.3.2.1.1

              Being able to change the parties in power, not policies, is not Democracy.

              If we had Democracy National couldn’t have continued Asset sales, and Labour would have canned the TPPA, after we all voted against the policies.

              • Augustus

                I actually agree with you that we have a choice of parties implementing the same policies, just like in Greece. Democracy as you (and I) would like it is limited by treaties entered into willingly, for better or worse. What I have a problem with is the idea that the UK referendum was based on that idea.

                Uk right wing propaganda has always used the EU as a scapegoat for the failure of their own government’s policies. The idea that the UK is trying to ‘escape’ from EU imposed austerity policies is laughable. Information is the key, dishonest information leads to bad results.

              • Stuart Munro

                Yup – it’s polyarchy – not the same thing at all.

            • Nic the NZer 1.2.3.2.1.2

              So what? A democratically elected government signed away its currency sovereignty? This doesn’t protect the institutions it signed its sovereignty to from criticism that they behave anti-democratically at all does it.

            • Gosman 1.2.3.2.1.3

              The Greeks wanted to stay in the Eurozone as well. They couldn’t have both and it’s politicians decided staying in the Eurozone was preferable than not.

        • Macro 1.2.3.3

          You are aware that Aaron Banks one of the principle funders of the leave campaign is currently under criminal investigation wrt the 10 million quid that suddenly fell into his back pocket from Russia and ended up funding a pack of lies telling people just what a wonderful time they would have if only they voted leave?
          You are telling me that Political parties shouldn’t worry about spending money on campaigning because voters make up their own minds??

    • Andre 1.3

      Democracy means the result of a referendum is irrevocably locked in until the end of time no matter what new information comes to light or how circumstances and opinions may change?

      I never knew that. Here was me thinking democracy was about trying to find and implement the will of the people as it stands right now, not at some time long past.

      Then what’s the word for citizens exercising power by voting for what they want right now based on current information, opinions, and circumstances, y’know, what I used to think was called democracy?

      • KJT 1.3.1

        Putting the terms of exit, which are rather different from those at the time of the vote, to the electorate again. And asking if they still want to go there, is legitimate.

        Dismissing the original vote as “thick”, ill informed”, or “not knowing what they were doing” is bloody elitist arrogance.

        Not much different from the arguments against the “Chartists” in Victorian times.

        • Bearded Git 1.3.1.1

          The first Brexit referendum was non-binding anyway.

        • Andre 1.3.1.2

          The set of things that are “bloody elitist arrogance” is not wholly contained within the set of things that are “factually incorrect”.

    • Never thought I would see the day a Labour Party would actively undermine democracy.

      1. In the UK’s (and our) democracy, Parliament is sovereign. We have representative democracy, which means a referendum is just an opinion poll.

      2. A small majority voted to leave the EU, without knowing what that would involve. Now that it’s known what that would involve, it makes sense to go back and ask whether people still think it’s a good idea.

    • Gabby 1.5

      You know the whole prohibition vote we used to have every election kevvy? Was that undermining democracy?

    • Matthew Whitehead 1.6

      Having a confirmatory referendum after the public know the specifics of a constitutional change is a normal democratic practice, Kevin. It’s how most people proposing a republic here or in Australia want to do it: if we vote yes in Referendum 1, we let the government or an expert committee figure out our options, present one or more plans, and then we vote on them again now we know the specifics.

      • Andre 1.6.1

        You mean kinda like the process used to adopt MMP here in NZ?

        • left_forward 1.6.1.1

          That pretty much what happened with the MMP referenda isn’t it?
          Have you still got a problem with proportional representation Andre?

          • Andre 1.6.1.1.1

            Yeah I’ve got a problem with the version of MMP implemented in New Zealand. IMHO the 5% threshold is abominably undemocratic and should be reduced to 0.83%. As far as I’m concerned, if a political party gets over 1/120 of the vote, then dammit they deserve to have their place in Parliament.

  2. Stunned Mullet 2

    Zut alors…Quelle horreur !

    • In Vino 2.1

      For once I agree with you, SM. General de Gaul was right all along. While in power he consistently vetoed GB’s entry to the EEC, maintaining that GB was incompatible with Europe. A man of great vision.

  3. Kind of too late.

    To get this level of changes out of the EU would require (I suspect) unanimous support from all members of the EU. Any extension to the timetable for Article 50 would require the same

    I simply don’t think that that there is that level of support. If it was put to me, I’d go for they made their bed, let them lie in it.

    At this point virtually all of the EU countries and businesses will be well on the way to having adapted at a trade level to a WTO level of engagement between the EU and the UK.

    At the security level, I suspect that will be just done on a country to country basis as it exists already.

    Really the only remaining is the legal issues which are pretty well going to be British issues as they retain / modify / remove EU legal principles that are in their regulation.

    But basically the UK has dithered long enough on Europe. It does point to the UK as being a country with whom it pays to not get into treaties with.

    • Sam 3.1

      May put 5000 reserves on stand by to man the hard boarders so security concerns is being pushed by Cold War relics desperate for reasons for a secound Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier. Thing is, Corbyn and May have both confirmed a secound carrier so the generals are just being generals.

    • Gosman 3.2

      Looks like delay is the likely outcome wouldn’t you agree?

    • Matthew Whitehead 3.3

      It would indeed require unanimous assent, as would any extension of the brexit deadline.

      The thing is, the EU might consider this deal if the UK were to concede free movement, but probably under no other circumstances. This is essentially Corbyn’s way of engineering failure at his stated goal in order to back down and reluctantly back a referendum campaign, despite tilting for a new election and failing.

      Which of course brings us to the fact that the UK doesn’t know how to run a vote and will abominably fail at a second referendum if they do it the way they’ve always done. There are two ways to succeed, and both involve presenting the public with three distinct options:

      1) Reject the existing deal, continue with Brexit.
      2) Accept the deal, Brexit on those terms with a backstop.
      3) Reject the deal AND Brexit, and revoke article 50 unilaterally.

      The problem is that you can’t safely put those three options into an FPP vote and come up with a fair vote.

      You need to either do IRV: “Rank these three responses to the proposed Brexit deal, with 1 being your preferred option, and 3 your least preferred option.”

      …OR you can do a range vote: “Rate each of these three responses to the proposed Brexit deal from 1-9, where 1 is the worst response, 5 an average response, and 9 the best response.”

      Any other type of vote would require multiple questions and be too easy for the tories to fuck up.

  4. Paaparakauta 4

    I’m waiting for an enfant terrible to make a scathing documentary of the Brexit process as a case study of post-colonial delusion.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    Another ignorant post on UK Labour. Corbyn hasn’t “finally” backed a referendum. He is simply reaffirming Labour policy (policy that has been on place since the last Labour Party conference) which is that if there is the possibility of a no deal Brexit then Labour will support another referendum.

  6. Kevin 6

    “The defection of a group of pro-European MP’s has had a chastening effect on Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.”

    Yes, I am sure he is crying bucketloads of tears over a group of MP’s who undermined him at every opportunity.

  7. Nic the NZer 7

    Terrible decision of a party which wishes to remain in opposition.

    As for exit proceedings themselves, the trick is getting control of negotiations rather than the EU dictating terms. That can only happen if the UK is willing to go hard Brexit if the EU doesn’t give them acceptable exit deal. Given the EU wants to make an example of the UK for leaving it was always likely to go this way.

    • Gosman 7.1

      So your solution is for the UK to take a massive hit to the economy just so they can stick it to those nasty Europeans?

      • Nic the NZer 7.1.1

        What massive hit to the economy are you talking about? There has not been one. What effects we have seen appear to be related to the uncertainty which is exacerbated by dragging the process out or repeating decisions made.

        Clearly your negotiation strategy would be to just take whatever the EU offers but that hardly makes you a good negotiator does it.

      • Roflcopter 7.1.2

        Everyone was told that the economy would collapse if the UK voted to leave… it never happened.

        There will be a hit for a period of time, if a no-deal Brexit occurs, but there is a 2-year changeover once no-deal is confirmed.

        • Gosman 7.1.2.1

          No, there is no 2 year changeover in the case of a no deal Brexit. That is a blatant factual error. Come the 30th of March 2019 the UK will be out of the EU without a deal.

          • Sam 7.1.2.1.1

            I take it that you have not read article 50 but report knowledge and skills around BREXIT.

            • Augustus 7.1.2.1.1.1

              What are you on about? No deal = no transition period.

              • Sam

                What the hell is a transition period? Brexits been a thing for 3 years now. So what? A transition period of 3-5 years? What!

                • Gosman

                  You really are a muppet. the agreement being negotiated between the UK and EU has a two year transition period during which both sides will get the same benefits as if they were still in the EU.

                  • Sam

                    Bullshit detector: transition period.

                    Translation: May has produced too BREXIT deals, both got rejected by her own party members culminating in two leadership spills.

                    • Gosman

                      I thought you were being a smart arse and making obtuse points because you had some sort of thought about the EU economcally impacting the UK in the near future but you really don’t have a clue about the Brexit negotiation process do you? You are basically making stuff up about it because you don’t actually know what is going on. It is kind of frightening your confidence given your level of igorance. it is a classic Dunning-Kruger effect.

                    • Sam

                      My congratulations gooie. Don’t chook on your successes in the field of medical diagnosis doctor social media.

                    • Gosman

                      How old are you Sam? I suspect you are some 18 year old spotty faced kid in the first year of uni taking a liberal arts degree

                    • Sam

                      Appeals to character fallacy proves your level of education is B- average at best. Now prove that there will be an article 50 extension, or just keep on embarrassing yourself. You choose.

                    • Gosman

                      You’re a joke. I have stated why the most likely outcome is an extension of the deadline. The only thing that would really change this is if May gets her plan through the Commons. That is extremely unlikely at this stage. Try and keep up with the topic Sam.

                    • Sam

                      Why would I try and keep up with you? That would make me look retarded.

                      Your entire thesis rests on the most incompetent government in the world, don’t forget Trump is in charge so that’s saying something. But your entire thesis rest on Therasa May who is relativistic to Bill English ie just holding Corbyns beer. So as far as Iv gathered, you’ve imagined in your head that May can do in the next 2 years what she has previously failed at twice and her own party hates her guts. Phew, that’s one heck of a mind you’ve got my boy.

                    • Gosman

                      Ummm…. whether or not May can get a deal past her party does not lessen the impact of a delay to Brexit. In fact it increases it.

                    • Sam

                      Laughable. Just increases the likelness of an ECB physical stimulus.

  8. johnm 8

    The UK has its own currency the pound. Imagine the hell for a country trying to leave which has adopted the euro, almost impossible. With the UK it’s so torturous and complicated I haven’t the time and energy to understand it all. One thing I’m sure of is the EU should be dissolved its sold out to Neoliberalism, austerity and the bankers and bond holders; people come second hugely. Just look at Ireland and Greece. Greece has been looted, pillaged and privatised to hell. Ireland has been ripped off big time to pay gambling debts to foreign “investors” by the Irish people. Also the EU is a vassal state to U$ neocon criminality: Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen. It’s a cold war construct originated by the U$.
    _________________________________________________________________________________

    Why Ireland is a nation of debt slaves with open borders, LGBT brainwashing and corrupt media

    _____________________________________________________________________________

    Financial Collapse – Brexit And Ireland’s Impending Mega Crisis!
    Michael Glynn

    Comments:
    Why are Irish banksters not hanging by the neck.?

    Vt Carols
    2 months ago
    Ireland will be repaying its debt to the EU (aka Germany) by allowing the EU free access to anything which will make them money. Fracking, taking over all the essential services, accepting unemployable migrants (which will ensure that Ireland increases its debt) invited into the EU by Merkel, giving up any existing fishing grounds etc

  9. CHCoff 9

    The EU, while a work in progress ( & don’t agree with it’s immigration approach), is more a economic co-operative model on how the UN should work.

    Additonally, a second referendum will take place with a better educated Brit public, however vague that still may be, on the practical realities (rightly & wrongly) to the complexities of the issue being voted on & the complexities involved in the public being given a specific say in the first place. It was the first time they have done something like it, so was always going to be abit of a shambles to their general culture of how things operate.

    Personally, the EU seems quite abit over due for an update itself, & overall within reason, one of those mechanisms could be the use of member states decision making referendums to EU decision making trees in conjunction with the EU representative system, for helping in it’s future progress rather than regress.

  10. Rae 10

    The sheer stupidity of the Conservatives and Cameron was allowing this referendum to be won or lost on a few percentage points difference, they should have set it at at least 60% to leave and they should have had the whole Irish border thing worked out to throw into the discussion before hand in the case of Brexit. And there maybe should have been a third option to negotiate some different rules of EU without actually triggering the bloody mess they are in at the moment, being as things were changing from what it all was when they first created the EU.

  11. swordfish 11

    When mulling over the underlying rationale … we might like to keep in mind UK Labour’s plunge in the Polls over the last 3 weeks.

    Back in January they were largely polling late 30s / early 40s (and frequently leading the Tories) … now they’ve fallen to early-mid 30s and find themselves trailing by 7-11 points.

    That sort of slide in public standing has a habit of seriously concentrating minds.

  12. DS 13

    My instinct is that this is Corbyn trying to keep his own side (mostly Remainers) in order, not to actually bring about second referendum – Labour knows it can’t get a second referendum through Parliament. It allows Corbyn (who almost certainly voted Leave) to say to the Labour membership “look, I tried.” In short, it’s (understandable) grandstanding.

    What Corbyn seems to actually realise (or at least he’s stumbled across it) is that if the Tories become the Party of Leave and Labour the Party of Remain, Labour would find itself utterly screwed – the Remain vote was packed into London, a handful of other cities, and Scotland. Even at 52%-48%, Leave won well over 400 UK electorate constituencies, and, well the UK uses FPP. On the other hand, the majority of the Labour membership support Remain, and Corbyn needs their support to survive against his own MPs. Ergo, he’s been fudging the issue for months, and this needs to be seen in that context.

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