POLITICS
15/05/2019 15:09 BST

Exclusive: Lib Dems Send Activists 'Jeremy Corbyn Brexit Dossier' As Party Plots Assault On Labour Heartlands

Barry Gardiner telling the Tories "we're trying to bail you out" will be key quote on the doorstep.

Lib Dem activists targeting Labour heartlands in the European elections have been armed with a ‘Jeremy Corbyn Brexit dossier’, HuffPost UK has learned. 

The eight-page document is being sent to candidates and grassroots activists as Vince Cable’s party aims to convince “increasingly soft” Labour votes. 

The document, which is to be issued with Labour attack leaflets, collates pro-Brexit quotes from Labour’s frontbench MPs, including from supporters of a second referendum, such as Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry. 

It also outlines in detail the party’s voting record on a second referendum and soft Brexit options, underlining that Corbyn’s MPs were whipped either to abstain or to vote with the Tories on 29 key Brexit votes. 

Pro-EU Labour activists reacted with dismay when Corbyn refused to back a remain stance in the party’s Euro elections manifesto, with the leader sticking to the line that a second referendum would be “an option” if cross-party Brexit talks fail. 

The local elections, meanwhile, saw the Lib Dems win more than 700 seats, leaving Cable confident of gains in the May 23 EU-wide poll.  

Barry Gardiner telling Brexit Minister James Cleverley “we’re trying to bail you out” during a BBC panel show will be a key quote for Lib Dems on the doorstep, HuffPost UK understands, with the party targeting Remain wards Labour heartlands in the North and Midlands. 

The party estimates some three million Labour Remainers have had a leaflet through their door so far. “We’re just putting Labour quotes out there to speak for themselves,” said one activist.

The Lib Dems have been criticised for their ‘Bollocks To Brexit’ campaign slogan but, alongside the Greens the party is poised to make huge gains among the pro-EU vote. 

Lib Dem MP Ed Davey told HuffPost the Lib Dems’ confidence was riding high and the party was geared up to punish Labour for going into talks with the government.

He said: “The single biggest issue people are concerned about at these European elections is the mess and chaos Brexit will cause. 

“Despite being just days before poll, the Labour leadership is still caught in infighting over whether the party stands for Remainers or not. The hard truth is this; Jeremy Corbyn has aided and abetted this Tory Brexit mess. Corbyn is a friend to the Tories, not Remainers.”

Labour said its campaign was about appealing to both sides of the Brexit debate and focusing on tax dodgers and inequality, adding: "We insist the real divide in our country is not how people voted in the EU referendum. The real divide is between the many and the few." 

It comes as HuffPost UK has learnt the Labour leadership will be under fresh pressure from its pro-EU membership at the party's conference in Brighton this September. 

The annual meeting will be flooded with motions that call for the party to make  a second referendum a central plank of Labour policy and to commit to campaigning for Remain.

Another Europe Is Possible and Labour For A Socialist Europe are among the organisations drafting motions that they say will be sent to thousands of activists. 

Nadia Whittome, from Labour for A Socialist Europe, said: “Constructive ambiguity is failing Labour. It isn’t what our voters or members want, and it isn’t what the public want from us either.”