Don't leave it to the Lib Dems to protest against Brexit

PUBLISHED: 13:52 18 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:12 18 October 2018

People protest against Brexit during the Labour party's annual conference. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

People protest against Brexit during the Labour party's annual conference. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

LIRON VELLEMAN calls on Labour supporters to be heard loud and clear at the People's Vote March.

Respect for human dignity and human rights. Democracy and equality. These are reasons why I joined the Labour Party in 2011. They are also the basic tenets of the European Union. I’ve been an active campaigner ever since. Not just in my local community in Barnet, but from Leeds to Liverpool, Wales to the West Midlands. I’ve been proud to be campaigning for Labour values on doorsteps, in communities and in the corridors of power, and for the voices of people across the country agitating for the changes we need to make our country fairer, safer and more prosperous – for the many, not the few.

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It’s because of the conversations I have had with residents who want a better future for themselves and their families that when looking at the blindfold Brexit that Theresa May is taking us into, or the no-deal catastrophe that could be right around the corner, that makes it so clear that we need a People’s Vote to sort out this mess.

Brexit - something that makes our country worse off and more isolated, is something that I would expect my party to be railing against. But instead, I’ve been disappointed at the lack of opposition to the single worst self-inflicted disaster in our history. We’ve been misled by the politics of fear and electoral triangulation. But with just over five months to go, and the possibility of food and medicinal shortages looming large, it would be a betrayal of those voters to allow this to happen.

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In any case, if the leadership’s decision to fudge the issue was an electoral one, let’s look at the data. Labour stands to receive a net gain 1.5 million voters if they change their position on the issue, joining the 86% of the membership that is calling loudly for a People’s Vote. These voters aren’t ‘metropolitan elites.’ The biggest swing towards a People’s Vote and remaining in EU are in the North East and Wales - Labour strongholds. These are the people who see the broken promises from 2016 result in more economic pain in 2018. But in any case, the job of leadership is to lead and there’s no better time than the present to start showing strong leadership on this issue.

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That’s why I was so glad to play a small part in supporting Labour members, through constituency party motions, on social media and at party conference to stand up and say – we demand a People’s Vote. That grassroots action helped move the Labour Party in the right direction. But we need to keep the pressure on until the meaningful vote. So if you want your voice to be heard on this issue, join me at the Labour bloc at the corner of Curzon Street and Park Lane on 20th October and let’s together March for the Future.

• Liron Velleman is a supporter of the For our Future’s Sake campaign and is also a Labour Party activist.

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