Labour grassroots turn against Brexit with policy change call

PUBLISHED: 12:08 06 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:09 06 August 2018

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Labour grassroots members have turned against Brexit, with nearly 200 constituency parties pushing for a policy shift at the autumn conference next month.

A motion to "stop Tory Brexit and win a radical Labour government" will be put forward by the unprecedented number of Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs).

Supporters want to see Labour vote down Theresa May's Brexit deal in October, call a general election, then call another referendum, or People's Vote.

The surge in support for a People's Vote from activists is backed by key figures, including Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA union and a leading Corbynista.

Mr Cortes said Brexiteers had tried to "pin the blame" for falling living standards on migrants when "their austerity" was the cause.

"Brexit is a Tory con trick for the benefit of the richest 1%," he said. "It will rob workers and drive down wages.

"The wealthy chums of Boris [Johnson], [Michael] Gove and [Liam] Fox will line their over-filled pockets on the back of burning workers' rights and attacking the rest of us.

"Labour cannot collaborate with their Brexit agenda as it's out of [Steve] Bannon's fascist notebook."

Ann Pettifor, an economist who advises shadow chancellor John McDonnell, said she was "no fan of the EU elite" or "neo-liberal orthodoxy", but warned Brexit would "bolster the far-right".

She said: "Brexit isn't just about Britain's membership of the EU.

"Its right-wing proponents are the British franchise of a global movement, stretching from [Donald] Trump in America to [Viktor] Orban in Hungary, [Matteo] Salvini in Italy and Marine Le Pen in France.

"Its effects will be to bolster these far-right and neo-fascist movements internationally, and domestically to further deregulate the economy and attack working-class people."

The conference motion states that the Brexit deal being pursued by Theresa May is "a threat to jobs, freedom of movement, peace in Northern Ireland and the future of the NHS".

It continues: "Tory Brexit will mean a future of dodgy trade deals and American-style deregulation, and undermine our rights and freedoms.

"This binds the hands of future Labour governments, making it much harder for us to deliver on our promises."

The call comes after a series of town hall meetings as part of the Left Against Brexit tour of Manchester, London, Liverpool, Bristol, Nottingham and Birmingham.

The tour, run by Another Europe Is Possible, will continue in late August and September with events in Glasgow, Leeds, York, Sheffield, Cambridge, Northampton, Newcastle, Norwich, Cardiff, Cornwall, Plymouth and Oxford.

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