Gardiner: Labour is NOT a Remain party

PUBLISHED: 08:44 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:59 27 March 2019

Barry Gardiner MP on Question Time. Photograph: BBC.

Barry Gardiner MP on Question Time. Photograph: BBC.

Archant

Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner has claimed that Labour is not a party of remaining in the EU and that he could not see it supporting a plan for a confirmatory referendum on any Brexit deal.

MPs are set to consider a motion, tabled in the name of former foreign secretary and Labour politician Dame Margaret Beckett, requiring a public vote before ratification of any deal.

However Gardiner said that if Labour voted for it, it could suggest that they were a “Remain party” - which he said was not the case.

He said that under the terms of the motion, any referendum could be a choice between Theresa May’s deal or staying in the EU.

“It would be saying we could accept what we have always said is a very bad deal. Therefore it looks as if the attempt to have a public vote on it is simply a way of trying to remain because nobody likes this deal,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“To put that up as the only alternative in a public vote and say we will let it go through looks as though you believe that at the end of it Remain would be the result.

“It is not where our policy has been. Our policy is clearly that we would support a public vote to stop no-deal or to stop a bad deal, but not that we would allow a bad deal as long as the public had the opportunity to reject Brexit altogether.

“That implies that you are a Remain party. The Labour Party is not a Remain party now. We have accepted the result of the referendum, and we’re trying to get a good deal which is why we have put forward our proposals today.”

He said that options like revoking Article 50 should be “ruled out” along with other “extreme options” like a no-deal Brexit.

Gardiner’s comments have already invoked anger from fellow MPs in his party.

Wes Streeting tweeted: “This the complete opposite of what we’ve been told is happening today. The opposite of what @Keir_Starmer told the Commons. The opposite of what @EmilyThornberry said last night. The opposite of what Labour stands for. Urgent leadership needed. We live in hope...”

MORE: Get a FREE Bollocks to Brexit mug with a £13 newspaper subscription

MORE: Tory MP thinks people should not get a second say... after changing his mind five times

MORE: Government rejects petition to Revoke Article 50 despite 5.75 million signatures

Jess Phillips tweeted: “It is NOT Labour policy only to vote for peoples vote only in circumstances of no deal. NOT AT ALL. It is Labour Policy & has been for years to support compulsory sex & relationship education, guess we’ll see how both are whipped today to see how much we care about members views.”

However Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson clarified on Twitter that whipping arrangements for the votes had not been agreed.

He said: “I’ve had many calls about Barry Gardiner’s interview on BBC Radio 4 Today, which I missed. Whipping arrangement have not yet been agreed. I support the Kyle/Wilson amendment.”

Chris Leslie, former Labour MP and member of the Independent Group, said: “The depressing reality is this: if you’re still campaigning for Labour, you are now campaigning for Brexit.”

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

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.

Find out more

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are increasing the pressure on politicians ahead of Theresa May’s intended Brexit departure date. Here is a list of the events organised across the UK in the coming weeks.

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy