Labour activists reveal anti-Brexit motion to force huge policy change

Sienna Rodgers
© Another Europe is Possible/Jess Hurd

Pro-EU Labour activists have revealed an anti-Brexit motion that they hope to pass at conference in September, which would force a pivotal and historic change to party policy.

The motion drafted by groups Another Europe is Possible, Open Labour and Labour for a Socialist Europe declares opposition to Brexit – described as “a Tory project” – and asserts unconditional support for another referendum.

Under the new proposal, published as polls close in the UK’s European elections, the party led by Jeremy Corbyn would back the ‘Remain’ option in a fresh public vote. This would leave no room for the free vote approach that was taken by Labour in 1975 to prevent frontbench resignations.

The “final and complete shift” in Labour’s Brexit position also includes a clear commitment to defending freedom of movement. In its 2017 manifesto, Labour said the fundamental EU principle would end post-Brexit, but Corbyn recently told Andrew Marr it would be up for negotiation.

To ensure that the motion is sent to conference by as many local parties as possible, Another Europe is Possible plans to run phonebanks and mobilise members across the country. The group orchestrated a similar campaign last year, which led to the composite motion that has dominated Labour’s Brexit rows since its 2018 conference.

Michael Chessum, the national organiser for AEIP, said: “It is time for Labour to make a final and complete shift towards backing a public vote and opposing Brexit. The alternative is that the electoral coalition behind Corbyn’s Labour falls apart.

“The chronology of Labour’s Brexit policy, which we established at last year’s party conference, has run its course. Either we are in favour of stopping Brexit, or we are in favour of delivering it.

“So this motion is about the politics not the process – about an agenda of internationalism, defending free movement and fighting for radical change rather than pandering to the nationalist right.”

Below is the full text of the motion.

Stop Brexit, transform Britain

The real division in society is not between those who voted Leave and Remain, but between the many and the few. Brexit is poisoning politics and stopping us from addressing the issues that matter to people. We need a general election to deliver a radical Labour government.

If the UK leaves the EU, Brexit does not end. Instead, we face years of negotiations and trade deals that deregulate our economy in the interests of the few, making it much harder to deliver our radical manifesto.

Brexit is a Tory project, and Labour opposes it. It would mean a victory for the nationalist right, and is a threat to our rights, jobs, NHS, public services and the fight against climate change.

We will answer insecurity and exploitation with hope and solidarity to bring the country together. We will rebuild communities with investment, expand common ownership, boost wages and union rights, and challenge the narratives of the nationalist right. Free movement is a workers’ right which we will defend.

The Leave vote is more than three years old, and there is no clear democratic mandate for any Brexit settlement. The democratic imperative now is for the people to have the final say. Labour will back Remain in that public vote.

Labour is an internationalist party, with a duty to challenge the far right. We will campaign for a Europe-wide Green New Deal, levelling up of wages, democratising European institutions, ending Fortress Europe, and an international strategy to tax the rich and corporations.

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