On Brexit, the Labour right are less wrong than Corbyn

March 12, 2017 at 4:33 pm (capitulation, Europe, Jim D, labour party, stalinism)

Image result for picture Jeremy Corbyn EU referendum Brexit

The following open letter was drawn up by Labour right-winger Chucka Umunna, and many (but not all) of the signatories are from the right of the party. It criticises the leadership for failing to fight to stay in the EU single market.

On that point, if nothing else, Umanna and the signatories are correct. Corbyn’s (and Keir Starmer’s) capitulation to May’s hard-Brexit approach has been craven and has led to serious demoralisation amongst Corbyn’s supporters in and around Momentum, especially younger party members unencumbered by the Bennite/Stalinist anti-EU baggage that seems to be the default position of Corbyn, encouraged by his Stalinist advisers.

Open Letter to the Labour Leadership

In his budget statement on Wednesday, the chancellor mentioned Britain’s exit from the European Union – the biggest issue in the government’s in-box – just once. But in reality the budget – with its tax hikes, broken promises and increasing public debt – was dominated by the impact of the government’s decision to withdraw Britain from the European Union.

The government has announced its intention to pull Britain out of the single market, discarding our membership of the largest and most sophisticated trading zone in the world before negotiations have begun. Other nations are not in the EU yet opted to be part of the single market because of the huge benefits it brings. So instead of starting the negotiation by aiming for the best deal we can possibly get by staying in the single market, Theresa May has waved the white flag and thrown in the towel.

Having taken account of the Tory government’s negotiating position on Brexit, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) this week spelt out the consequences. While ministers pretend we will get a trade deal that delivers “the exact same benefits” as we have now, the OBR predicts that after Brexit our “trading regime will be less open than before”. While ministers say we will enjoy a resurgence of trade with the rest of the world, the OBR forecasts “a lower trade intensity of UK economic activity” even if new deals are negotiated. This is the reality.

Membership of the single market is the best possible economic option for our country and would allow us to leave the EU without wrecking people’s jobs and livelihoods. It would give us totally free trade with the biggest market on the planet, with neither tariff barriers to trade in goods nor regulatory barriers to trade in services between the UK and the EU – all whilst not being a member of the EU. Any trading arrangement which does not deliver such a level of market access will reduce the flow of trade between Britain and our biggest partner. This will mean higher costs for businesses, fewer jobs, and higher prices in the shops.

Confronted with this threat, the British people – leave voters and remain voters alike – are looking to the Labour party to provide leadership and direction as we go forward. It is crucial that we reject the argument that Brexit must mean a trading arrangement that makes the British people poorer. Instead, Labour must stand unambiguously for a deal that protects peoples’ jobs and livelihoods and enhances their life chances; not a hard Brexit that could take our economy off a cliff whilst making working people worse off. This requires our party to be full-throated in its defence of Britain’s membership of the single market.

The arguments against single market membership illustrate a level of defeatism and a lack of ambition, not worthy of a great country like ours.

Leaving the EU while remaining in the single market respects the will of people. The UK would regain control over agriculture and fisheries policy, justice and home affairs measures, defence and foreign policy.

Yes, there is a desire to reform the way our immigration system works but we do not need to sacrifice our prosperity to achieve greater immigration control. Britain is Europe’s second largest economy, its most significant military power, and one of its two permanent members of the UN security council. It should not be beyond us to conclude a deal that retains our single market membership while reforming the immigration system. Free movement has been shown to be reformable in the past, and so it can be in the future.

It should also not be beyond the ability of a government, with the right negotiation strategy, to secure an agreement that allows us continued influence over European regulations that will continue to affect our country if we stay in the single market. No government should willingly give up the best economic option for our country at this stage without even trying to retain it – but that is the course on which the government has now embarked.

It is the basic responsibility of the Labour party to mount the strongest possible opposition to Theresa May’s government and fight for a Brexit deal that respects the will of the British people but ensures that they will not be made substantially worse off. As the party that has always stood up for working people, we must fight tooth and nail for a future that does not destroy their jobs and livelihoods. Single market membership outside the EU is the way to achieve this and is what Labour should be arguing for.


Chuka Umunna, Alison McGovern, Heidi Alexander, Chris Leslie, Kate Green, Ian Murray, Chris Bryant, Tulip Saddiq, Mike Gapes, Stella Creasy, Wes Streeting, Graham Allen, Liz Kendall, Anne Coffey, Mary Creagh, Angela Smith, Rushanara Ali, Ben Bradshaw, Karen Buck, Peter Kyle, Julie Elliot, Luciana Berger, Madeleine Moon, Gareth Thomas, Daniel Zeichner, Thangam Debbonaire, Owen Smith, Margaret Hodge, Seema Malhotra


  1. Mick said,

    Poor little Labour. No wonder nobody loves them. They were shredded on Europe in the 70s and here they are again now. Only a dead-handed EU superstate with its own army and theme tune can save the Blairites now!

    There’ll be alright, if only for Tony’s Cronies blocking Brexit in the Lords. (Mother being a bitch for saying we won’t guarantee citizenship rights for EU citizens until they do the same with ours was the pretext.) But if that fails, they can be assured that non-EU countries in the single market have more liberties than we do. And as the EU’s biggest import, handing over 1/5 of their pocket money, we’re in a way superior position to be mere supplicants to the EU any longer.

    Also, focusing the Brexit tantrum into a mere anti-Tory whine is a tactic they could do well to avoid. Even @Friend in Hamas’ Corbyn looks a dash more statesmanlike for saying he respects the will of the referendum result. Bit more country above party.

  2. Glasgow Working Class said,

    Most of the sig na Tories could be out of a job 2020. Beaurocracy and jobs for the bhoys has been ingrained in the EEC and EU since its conception. I hope to see it tumble before I do.
    And we now have thousands of Turks rioting in Holland supporting Erdogan.
    Time for the total collapse of the EU and national sovereignty.
    Just a short time in history left to rid Europe of Islamic Fascism.

    • Mick said,

      Even before the first referendum, hot debates took place in Parliament over loss of essential national sovereignty. With Brexit we can again secure our own borders, armed forces, economy, currency, flag and legislature as solely our own. Even old Tony Benn was solid on that score.

      This means we don’t HAVE to saturate the job market and depress wages either. That has been a proved trend. Nor do we need to argue about who we ‘must’ take in as supposed refugees, to certainly avoid the excess suffered by Eurocitizens.

      Petty things can be ditched too, like the EU rule telling us not to eat pet horses. We wouldn’t but there are those in foreign climes who do eat goats. Also, the bendy banana rule is REAL: http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/586742/European-Union-barmy-decisions-rules-regulations-Britain-EU

      We can get our proper light bulbs back as well, plus the powerful vacuum cleaners. You’re lucky if you can light the cupboard under the stairs, or suck up a fart with the peoples’ community crap we get these days.

  3. John Rogan said,

    Labour is morphing into an anti-immigration Party. Look at this report on Peter Hain’s amendment in the House of Lords for Labour to stay in the Single Market.

    It is just really strange what is going on.

    “A cross-party group of Labour members of the House of Lords put forward the amendment seeking to maintain Britain’s current trading relationship with the EU.

    However, it was defeated by 299 votes to 136 after Labour whipped its peers to vote against any changes that would have allowed the free movement of people from the EU to continue.

    Labour’s Brexit spokesperson Baroness Hayter said that a vote to stay in the single market would have defied the will of the people on immigration.”


    • Mick said,

      Labour has been an open door immigration party for years, so this about-face, for them, is a surprise. But the world of left wing latrines has been upended for a while, leaving them scurrying like mice from a fire. (Or their own crap.)

      Just lately, Corbyn saying a new referendum on the breakup of the UK would be ‘fine’, leaving the rest of Labour on panic alert to rescue its Unionist credentials. And on the budget, the socialist principle of penalising the most successful aspirational risk takers was overlooked for them to whine about championing good schools being a ‘vanity project’.

      So for Labour’s establishment to have a Damascene conversion on the public’s key concern – especially as the Office For National Statistics say we now have all the migrants we need to ‘save the NHS’, etc. – is just one more panicked u-turn to desperately they and grasp how to not be a cynical bunch of aloof losers for once. Only, of course, to again be shot by their own side.

  4. Glasgow Working Class said,

    Labour is not an anti immigration party and neither are the other main parties. Immigration is a matter for sovereign countries and not the EU beaurocrats. The EU has turned Europe into a killing zone for islamic fanatics with unfettered immigration.

    • Mick said,

      Well said. Labour are in a panic but even if they were in office now, I would rather an inept national government than an inept international one. The EU government is actually unaccountable and unejectable by the people.

      In Euro elections, we only elect MEPs, who can pretty much only accept or delay legislation. The real lawmakers are the unelected European Commission, who have more sway than even Euro Ministers.

      That’s how no budget is passed by auditors, disjointed government is the norm and kooky projects like wanting Turkey and beyond to be in the EU over time. The system is ripe for a fall.

  5. Glasgow Working Class said,

    The Turk islamic fascists are now confident they can hold political rallies in foreign countries.

    • Mick said,

      Oh that is absolutely hilarious, isn’t it? Even the Dutch see how things can maybe go too far and the Turks have an epic tantrum when they can’t rabble-rouse their own, well, rabble in someone else’s country.

      The EU has put itself in a supplicant position to Turkey with even just the supposed refugees. The vast majority are bogus. The EU surely has the power to just dump them back where they came from, with little recourse to Turkey.

  6. rotzeichen said,

    This video of Professor Steve Keen throws a great deal of light on the issues the EU and why Brexit is a distraction from what is really happening in the world.

    Staying in the EU is not a viable option unless you support the Neo-Liberal agenda.

    • Jim Denham said,

      • Mick said,

        Once again, the ‘real’ Left just enjoy an opportunity to block Brexit anyway. Pointless legal challenges on petty niggles beside the real objective go very well with Remoaner lord blockers.

        Also, letting the EU off the hook of having to guarantee British citizens’ rights abroad too, the left again show abdication of responsibility is their forte.

        They want the real government to be done in a foreign capital, leaving them here to concentrate only on trifles. Like Flintshire Labour council blaming the public for collecting the rubbish only every three weeks, when in reality they failed the test of real government by flouting recycling standards!

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