A former shadow cabinet minister has accused Labour of “ducking the biggest issue of the day” by not scheduling a full debate on Brexit on the floor off conference.
Mary Creagh, Labour MP and former shadow environment secretary, spoke out last night as a wave of MPs reacted angrily to the decision by the conference arrangements committee.
Speaking to Carolyn Quinn on Radio 4’s Westminster Hour, Creagh said: “The prospect of leaving the European Union is already costing jobs in our country, and I think it is disappointing that we as a party that aspires to be in government have ducked the biggest issue of the day, a live issue before us in parliament, and one that is going to dominate the political debate for at least the next four years.”
This comes after party delegates voted not to include Brexit from a series of debates at conference. Eight contemporary motions were picked, covering issues like housing, the NHS and social care.
Grassroots group Momentum said although Brexit was left of the list, conference would still debate and have a vote on EU policy. This will take place on today.
Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s elections and campaigns chair, said the party was making sure MPs hold the government to account.
“Certainly Parliament, at the very least, wants to have that final say over what deal Theresa May comes back with,” he said.
Creagh defied the party whip to oppose the triggering of Article 50. She was also a signatory of a letter that called on Labour to back remaining in the single market and the customs union.