No ifs, no buts, Labour must now embrace a People’s Vote
- Credit: PA
Young Labour activist NATHAN BORODA on why Labour now needs to ditch the 'constructive ambiguity' on a People's Vote and fully embrace a second referendum.
Watching last night's European election results was devastating for me as a Labour member. Seeing our fantastic MEPs across the country lose their seats and the work of our amazing activists to get some brilliant candidates elected go to waste was really difficult.
But we can stop the tide with one simple policy change.
You may also want to watch:
Last week, polling from MRP showed that Labour would be reaching 38% of the vote, an astonishing 27% ahead of the Tories and 8% ahead of the Brexit Party, if we got fully-behind a People's Vote.
- 1 These are the 322 Tory MPs who voted against extending free school meals to children
- 2 Question Time: Ex-Tory minister accused of making 'sickening' comment about free schools meals row
- 3 Betty Boothroyd delivers scathing assessment of Boris Johnson's government
- 4 Downing Street withholds praise for business and local authorities offering free meals to hungry children
- 5 Priti Patel bullying inquiry may never be released, hints Boris Johnson's new civil service boss
- 6 House of Lords defies No 10 and votes to heavily defeat Boris Johnson's Brexit bill
- 7 Boris Johnson 'plans to resign' in six months because he can't live on £150k salary
- 8 Priti Patel set to hand private firms £28 million in government contracts to deport asylum seekers from UK
- 9 German MEP tells Boris Johnson he 'owes' Britons a Brexit deal as she urged a return to EU trade talks
- 10 At the upcoming US election, Donald Trump really is toast
And yesterday's results showed that polling in practice, finishing behind the Liberal Democrats in many places and losing votes to the Greens. Whilst we, of course, lost some votes to the Brexit Party as well, we should remember Labour lost 4 times more to pro-Remain parties.
Our policy of 'constructive ambiguity' may have served well at the last general election, but it clearly cannot survive another.
So it's time to get off the fence on Brexit and get behind a People's Vote.
I'm not one of the people who thinks that our party's position is a conspiracy of malign influences from die-hard Eurosceptics in the Leader's Office, I do think it's a sincere electoral calculation. I just think it's the wrong one.
It's, of course, true that in order to win the next General Election we need to win back seats that predominantly voted Leave. But at the moment they're not voting for us, in part, because we're seen as not being able to make our mind up on Brexit.
Crucially, let's remember that these seats aren't homogenous. Let's take two examples of seats that neighbour Bury, where I'm from. In Bolton West, a Brexit seat which is 20th on our list of target seats. 42% of people voted to Remain, substantially more than the Tories' 936 majority there. In Rossendale and Darwen, 57th on our target list, over 40% of people voted to Remain.
In fact, Nigel Farage held a rally in Bolton during the European Election campaign, in which he barely made a positive case for leaving the EU, instead making vague references to 'democracy.' Labour should have been more robust in responding that democracy didn't end on 23rd June and that the British people, and not just Farage and the Brexit elite, should decide what happens next.
We can't be competing with two other Brexit parties in these constituencies, and by embracing a People's Vote we have the opportunity to be the only credible force for Remain and Reform.
We can win in seats like Rossendale and Darwen, with the eight point poll lead we'd have if we backed a People's Vote.
With public service cuts, the rising threat of climate change and continued underinvestment in the North, Brexit is by no means the most important issue to working people in Britain. But we're kidding ourselves if we think that our relationship with Europe won't be the dominant issue for our elections in the next five, 10 and even 20 years.
As long as we are ambiguous in response to Brexit, the British people will not be ambiguous in their response to us.
There will be many hot takes in the coming days on the results of the European Elections. What they mean for the political parties, how it changes the dynamic in the Conservative leadership election and what it means for Brexit, and the country.
But surely, this abysmal result for Labour can only mean one thing.
It's time for a Labour to embrace a People's Vote.
- Nathan Boroda is a For our Future's Sake (FFS) supporter from Bury in North West, and also campaigns with the Labour Party.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.