Labour MP ‘genuinely wondering’ if the party can survive Brexit
PUBLISHED: 15:44 12 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:36 12 June 2019
BBC 5 Live
In a frank interview, MP Lisa Nandy has said she’s not sure the Labour Party can survive Brexit after a tempestuous meeting between MPs on Monday.
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"It was a pretty terrible meeting," she told BBC 5 Live's Emma Barnett. "We've had a few terrible meetings over the last few years but this was probably the worst I've been to."
"Really honestly I came out of that meeting genuinely wondering whether the Labour Party can survive."
Labour is losing votes "left, right, and centre" to Remain parties, but also to the Brexit Party, she said, adding that Remainers at the meeting were most vocal and the Leave supporters felt less able to speak.
But the issue goes beyond Brexit, she said. "This will determine what sort of party we want to be, whether that coalition that has propelled us to government three times in the last hundred years can actually hold.
"I've questioned it a few times over the last few years but that meeting on Monday was really genuinely one of those moments where I thought: 'I'm not sure that we can hold together this coalition that we've held together for the last hundred years'.
The Wigan MP, who has been tipped for party leadership in the past, voted to trigger Article 50 and has opposed a second referendum.
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She said that Labour has been trying to "chart that course down the middle to bring together Leavers and Remainers and say to people 'look nobody gets everything they want'."
She was challenged on this by Barnett, who said this approach had failed.
Nandy blamed this on senior members of the shadow cabinet - likely referring to Keir Starmer and Tom Watson, among others - "out arguing completely contradictory positions".
She argued that being "in the middle" isn't contradictory when the referendum vote split was 52% to 48%.
"With 52-48, the only mandate is for compromise," she said. "And leaving the EU and respecting the result of the referendum but doing so in a way that protects people's jobs and lives and enables us to continue to cooperate with the EU is a compromise."
Despite this being Labour policy that has been roundly rejected in recent elections, she said she believes the majority of the public supports this position and that it "doesn't have a voice in national politics".
Nandy, who has voted consistently progressively on social issues, has previously been outspoken against the 'rape' comments made by UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin.
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