Commending evasion?

Submitted by AWL on 9 January, 2019 - 11:05 Author: Martin Thomas

The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD), a longstanding component of the Labour left, is promoting a model motion to “commend” the Labour Party leadership for its stance on Brexit. The motion accuses those agitating for a new public vote on Brexit of seeking to “overturn Labour conference policy”, on the grounds that we supposedly advocate a public vote *before* an attempt to bring down the Tories by a vote of no confidence in Parliament.

In fact those who agitate for a new public vote are also those who express worries that the Labour front bench’s delay on proposing “no confidence” may lead to the motion never being put, or being put only when the Labour front bench can claim that it has become “too late” then to seek a new public vote.

The authority of the 2018 Labour conference resolution is weak, because conference was allowed no debate, instead being presented with only one (deliberately ambiguous) composite. Nevertheless, the resolution definitely did not say that Labour’s alternative to the Tories’ Brexit formula should be a limp claim that Labour could negotiate better and find a deal which will somehow “unite everyone”, Tory Brexiters and socialist Remainers alike. If it had said that, the conference would never have accepted it, and the big majority of Labour members, and of Labour voters too, would have opposed it.

Labour voters prefer Remain to the Tory deal by 83%¬17%, and Remain to “no deal” by 80%-20%. Among Labour members, 72% want Jeremy Corbyn to commit fully to a new public vote, and in that vote 88% of them would back Remain. CLPD should instead back Labour democracy, by backing the call from the TSSA rail union for an emergency special conference of the Labour Party on Brexit.

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