Pro-European activists today unveiled billboards and ad vans in the constituencies of four leading Labour MPs they accuse of failing to oppose the Tories’ approach to Brexit.
Pro-European youth movement Our Future, Our Choice (OFOC) displayed the ads in the constituencies of shadow chancellor John McDonnell, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith and shadow international development minister Preet Gill.
The group said the decision to target the MPs in their own backyards followed the failure of the party’s leadership to offer meaningful opposition to “the enfeebled Conservative government’s botched Brexit”.
Labour’s support for a Hard Brexit – leaving the single market and refusing to back growing calls for a referendum on the final Brexit – were a betrayal of young people who overwhelmingly backed Jeremy Corbyn’s party in last year’s general election, it said.
Will Dry, co-founder of OFOC, said: ‘The shambolic scenes in Westminster over the past couple of weeks has underlined that Britain is now headed for a bad Brexit deal that will hurt young people first and worst. Young people are angry that Labour is barely any better than the Tories on Brexit. The ad van unveiled in the Llanelli constituency of shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith
‘The Labour leadership is doing its best to duck this issue so we decided it was time to do something they couldn’t ignore – by demanding a People’s Vote with adverts on their own turf. It’s time Labour voters in Labour constituencies realised that their MPs are doing next to nothing to stop the devastating consequences of Brexit.
‘In some cases, we believe Labour MPs would like the support a People’s Vote but are being prevented from following their convictions or standing up for their constituents. We want to encourage them to stick to their principles and do the right thing.’
The ads depict Mr McDonnell and Ms Griffith in the pockets of hardline Brexiteers Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nigel Farage.
Ms Abbott is singled out for telling a constituent in November that she supported a vote on the Brexit deal before retracting her comments. Since then, OFOC says, she has rarely spoken about Brexit.
The group also questions who silenced Ms Gill after she was forced to delete a tweet which stated “a people’s vote on the deal is an absolute must”. The billboard unveiled in the Birmingham Edgbaston constituency of shadow defence minister Preet Gill
The advertising campaign is being paid for by small donations from young people and a crowdsourced online fundraising campaign. Ad vans have been sent to Hayes and Harlington and Hackney North and Stoke Newington, the constituencies of Mr McDonnell and Ms Abbott, while billboards have gone up in Llanelli and Birmingham Edgbaston, represented by Ms Griffith and Ms Gill.
OFOC described it as “another instance of OFOC giving a young, anti-establishment edge to the Brexit debate”.
It plans to keep rolling out billboards and ad vans in the constituencies of senior Labour figures until the party agrees to back a People’s Vote on the final deal Theresa May brings back from Brussels.
‘Brexit done badly will only further marginalise young people in politics, leaving them voiceless in the future of the NHS, reskilling Britain’s economy, and fixing public services,’ said Lara Spirit, OFOC’s co-president.
‘Young people will be hit first and worst by a bad Brexit, and will feel its costs for decades.’
‘Any member of Labour’s frontbench betraying young people by allowing Britain to slide out of Europe on the back of a bad Brexit deal should expect to hear from us soon.
‘Young people expected more of Labour than this. Labour should now expect to hear more from young people.’