The independent London newspaper

Labour needs a vision for life outside the EU

30 May, 2019

• MY trade union leader, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, last week criticised those figures in the Labour Party who support a second EU referendum as having “no interest in a Labour victory at the next general election”, saying it would alienate traditional voters who voted leave in 2016.

He added: “Now is the time to hold your nerve, because a general election, which is the only thing that will resolve this situation is closer now than anything and the real test of what the British people want.”

He was speaking in advance of the EU election results. Now we have the results we can see that the Labour share of the vote in the party’s heartland areas has collapsed as our supporters deserted us to vote for the Brexit party.

If Labour is to form the next government it will need to win back these supporters and will only achieve this by abiding by its vote to trigger Article 50 and our 2017 manifesto pledge to respect the referendum result.

We will also need to set out a bold socialist vision for our future outside of the EU and this will include a substantial fiscal stimulus to address any economic shock of leaving, an ambitious programme of public works, a green new deal, renationalisation of railways and energy companies, rebuilding our manufacturing base, world-class public services and a commitment to a redistribution of income and wealth. Such policies will address the issues that led to our supporters voting for Brexit in 2016.

Those in the Labour Party who call for a second referendum have given Nigel Farage the chance to hijack the debate around leave. The Labour Party needs to get this back.

We must show to Labour Party supporters who voted to leave that we will honour the referendum result and that we have a positive vision for life outside of the EU that will rebuild their communities. Only by doing this can we win the next general election.

Unite delegate to general and executive committees of
Holborn & St Pancras Labour Party


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