Labour MP: Party will get 'crushed' in EU elections if it doesn't take a position on Brexit
PUBLISHED: 11:50 27 April 2019
Before he embarks on a Remain tour, Labour MP Clive Lewis said that he's "not happy" with the Labour European election leaflets he's seen, which are widely being interpreted as pro-Brexit.
The leaflets say Labour will seek “a better deal with Europe” and make no mention of a second referendum.
At the Labour party conference last year, the party voted on a series of six tests for a satisfactory Brexit, pledging to put a second referendum on that table if they are not met.
The six tests, including delivering the “exact same benefits” as Single Market and Customs Union membership, have not been met by the deal that the EU has agreed with Theresa May.
Remainer Lewis has joined the frontbenchers such as Tom Watson and Keir Starmer in complaining that the prospect of a second referendum isn't even mentioned.
ITV political editor Robert Peston has tweeted that Labour are now rewriting the leaflets.
“I'm not happy with the leaflets that I've seen so far,” the Norwich South MP told The New European.
He argued that because influential Conservatives have “pigheadedly” been pushing for the hardest Brexit possible, the electorate has become increasingly polarised - with the Brexit Party looking likely to take up much of the Leave breathing space.
“This should be a fight between Labour and the Brexit Party,” he argued.
“If Labour is going to sit in the middle of these two polar extremes it's going to get crushed because we don't have a clear position.
“This election, as much as we might wish it was on domestic issues, it's not.
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“It's really an election on Britain's future role in the EU.”
It's not the first time Labour's leadership has overlooked key Brexit questions in its communications.
In February, Jeremy Corbyn's team said that the leader “forgot” to mention the possibility that his party would back a People's Vote if Theresa May didn't agree to his Brexit terms.
READ MORE: Corbyn's team say he FORGOT to threaten a People's Vote in letter to May
Lewis is one of several passionate Remainer Labour MPs embarking on a “Love Socialism Hate Brexit” roadshow in towns and cities across the UK to galvanise Labour's Remainer base, starting in Norwich.
“One of the things we notice about people who are really passionate about this is how many questions they have,” said Lewis.
“Some of this is uncharted territory, constitutionally and electorally, so you can imagine members of the public are asking questions.”
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Many of Norwich South's majority-Remain constituents were “gutted” after the referendum, said Lewis, which increased his impulse to get out and talk to voters.
“The common feeling was, we're British, we're a democracy, we lost.
“I just wanted to make it as painless as possible.”
He added that the revelations of electoral wrongdoing, and the increased understanding of the impact of Brexit, have also built the argument for questioning the referendum.
The Love Socialism Hate Brexit tour start date is April 27 at The Open in Norwich: www.lovesocialismhatebrexit.org/roadshow