POLITICS
26/04/2019 23:00 BST

Nearly 90 MPs And MEPs Demand Labour Backs Second Referendum In Euro-Elections

The words 'confirmatory vote' could make Corbyn foreword but be banned from manifesto itself, say party sources.

Labour must use its Euro-elections manifesto to pledge a public vote on whatever Brexit deal is agreed by parliament, 89 MPs and MEPs have demanded. 

The group, which includes shadow ministers and Labour’s leader in Europe, Richard Corbett, has written to the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC), ahead of a crunch meeting to decide Labour’s election strategy on Tuesday.

It comes amid growing frustration among the party’s pro-EU rank and file that the leadership will block any campaign for a second vote. 

HuffPost UK understands trade union figures met today and jointly agreed to press Jeremy Corbyn to include the words “confirmatory vote” in the manifesto for the June 23 poll. 

But while the leadership was ready to agree the phrase would be in Corbyn’s foreword, it would be banned from the main body of the manifesto, sources have said. 

Unite, arguably the labour movement’s most influential union, was not at the meeting. 

A draft leaflet for the Euro-elections, passed to HuffPost UK on Thursday, suggested the party had decided on a pro-Brexit stance, trumpeting a “better deal with Europe” and making no mention of a second referendum. 

Party staff were told on Friday that the leaflet would be rewritten. 

The 75 MPs and 14 MEPs, campaigning with the ‘Love Socialism Hate Brexit’ group, say the Euro-elections could become a two-horse race between Nigel Farage Brexit Party, which is absorbing pro-Leave Tory support, and Labour, if the party takes a pro-EU stance. 

Their letter reads: “Our members need to feel supported on doorsteps by a clear manifesto that marks us out as the only viable alternative to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

“We need a message of hope and solidarity, and we need to campaign for it without caveats. To motivate our supporters, and to do the right thing by our members and our policy, a clear commitment to a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal must be part of our European election manifesto.” 

Meanwhile, Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable said he regrets the pro-remain parties have been unable to form a coalition. 

A leaked memo from Change UK, the new party formed from The Independent Group of MPs led by Heidi Allen, revealed on Friday there would be “no mergers, pacts or alliances”.

Cable said: “I’ve got a couple of regrets about this referendum and the first is that we’re not standing on a common platform with other Remain parties to stop Brexit.

PA Wire/PA Images
Nigel Farage's Brexit Party is flying high in he polls

“It’s true that the Brexit parties are also divided, but we should be standing together - the millions of people in this country who voted Remain would expect us to stand together.

“It has not happened, it was not reciprocated, so we’re going our own way, but it’s a pity.”

An analysis for the FT suggested a Remain alliance would win 16 seats, but fighting separate campaigns the Lib Dems would win seven and Change UK none.

Shadow treasury minister Clive Lewis and shadow business minister Chi Onwurah are among the names on the letter to the NEC. 

 

The letter in full 

Dear NEC, 

We wrote to Jeremy Corbyn in early April with the support of 84 Labour MPs regarding our negotiating position with Theresa May. Now, as  MPs campaigning for a Labour victory in the European elections, we are writing to the whole of the NEC.  

This year’s European elections will not be any ordinary European elections. The world is watching, and Labour must be ready to rise to the challenge. We must run a dynamic, energetic campaign around a radical manifesto to transform Europe and a clear position on Brexit.

With the Tories in chaos and the pro-Brexit parties split, Labour has a clear opportunity to win these elections. Because of Labour’s radical politics, we are by far the biggest socialist party in Europe. A strong Labour performance will make the difference between getting a socialist European Commission President and a right wing one.

This isn’t just about winning the momentum in UK politics. The future of our continent is at stake, along with the fight against climate change, and the rights and lives of millions of migrants and workers.

These elections are about the kind of Europe we want to live in, and we can’t make a convincing case in them without being clear about Brexit. Labour has already, rightly, backed a confirmatory public vote. The overwhelming majority of our members and voters support this, and it is the democratically established policy of the party. Our members need to feel supported on doorsteps by a clear manifesto that marks us out as the only viable alternative to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

We need a message of hope and solidarity, and we need to campaign for it without caveats. To motivate our supporters, and to do the right thing by our members and our policy, a clear commitment to a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal must be part of our European election manifesto. We understand the many different pressures and views within our movement, but without this clear commitment, we fear that our electoral coalition could fall apart.

We look forward to delivering an unprecedented European election campaign with you on the doorstep.

 

1. Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP

2. Alex Sobel MP

3. Marsha de Cordova MP

4. Kate Osamor MP

5. Clive Lewis MP

6. Janet Daby MP

7. Anneliese Dodds MP

8. Rosie Duffield MP

9. Ged Killen MP

10. Rachael Maskell MP

11. Chi Onwurah MP

12. Luke Pollard MP

13. Matt Rodda MP

14. Paul Sweeney MP

15. Debbie Abrahams MP

16. Rushanara Ali MP

17. Rosena Allin-Khan MP

18. Tonia Antoniazzi MP

19. Hilary Benn MP

20. Roberta Blackman-Woods MP

21. Ben Bradshaw MP

22. Paul Brannen MEP

23. Chris Bryant MP

24. Karen Buck MP

25. Ruth Cadbury MP

26. Richard Corbett MEP

27. Neil Coyle MP

28. Mary Creagh MP

29. Stella Creasy MP

30. Seb Dance MEP

31. Geraint Davies MP

32. Steve Doughty MP

33. Angela Eagle MP

34. Maria Eagle MP

35. Julie Elliott MP

36. Louise Ellman MP

37. James Frith MP

38. Kate Green MP

39. Lilian Greenwood MP

40. Theresa Griffin MEP

41. John Grogan MP

42. David Hanson MP

43. Helen Hayes MP

44. Meg Hillier MP

45. Margaret Hodge MP

46. Mark Honeyball MEP

47. John Howarth MEP

48. Rupa Huq MP

49. Susan Elan Jones MP

50. Darren Jones MP

51. Ruth Jones MP

52. Liz Kendall MP

53. Wajid Khan MEP

54. Jude Kirton Darling MEP

55. Peter Kyle MP

56. David Lammy MP

57. David Martin MEP

58. Christian Matheson MP

59. Kerry McCarthy MP

60. Alison McGovern MP

61. Catherine McKinnell MP

62. Anna McMorrin MP

63. Claire Moody MEP

64. Madeleine Moon MP

65. Claude Moraes MEP

66. Ian Murray MP

67. Bridget Philipson MP

68. Jess Phillips MP

69. Ellie Reeves MP

70. Rachel Reeves MP

71. Virendra Sharma MP

72. Sion Simon MEP

73. Andy Slaughter MP

74. Owen Smith MP

75. Jo Stevens MP

76. Wes Streeting MP

77. Gareth Thomas MP

78. Stephen Timms MP

79. Anna Turley MP

80. Derek Vaughan MEP

81. Thelma Walker MP

82. Julie Ward MEP

83. Catherine West MP

84. Matt Western MP

85. Martin Whitfield MP

86. Paul Williams MP

87. Phil Wilson MP

88. Daniel Zeichner MP

89. Sarah Jones MP