MIL-OSI UK: Keep your eyes on the prize, Labour members, and help sink the Tories

Source: Labour List UK

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We’re heading towards… something. Just one day before the big Brexit vote, and with 74 days until our scheduled departure from the EU, nobody knows whether we will be cancelling Brexit, delaying it, leaving with a deal or leaving without a deal. Whichever our destiny, there are enormous risks, either political or economic.

More reassuringly for LabourList readers, any path taken would seem to split the Conservative Party. Of course, Labour has its own deep and numerous problems with Brexit. The famous conference composite motion is used by every camp to argue their position, and there is little consensus on the meaning of the commitments made in September. Various pro-EU groups from across the factional spectrum have clashed with the leadership’s position on a fresh EU referendum in particular, and other issues such as free movement have angered some grassroots activists.

Labour MPs represent the Brexit rainbow: there’s Kate Hoey, who supports no deal; Leavers willing to vote for Theresa May’s deal; left-wing Eurosceptics reluctant to defy the whip thanks to their support for Jeremy Corbyn; Corbynsceptics and soft-lefties who campaigned to remain but represent Leave seats; People’s Vote campaigners opposing any deal in the hope they can stop Brexit; the list goes on. Back in November, the Guardian designated categories such as ‘the Labour frontbench’ and ‘Veteran Labour Brexiters’, but even those aren’t internally congruous.

Labour and Corbyn are still doing better than the Tories and May on party unity, however. Perhaps this is the fate of both main parties eventually, but it’s important to note that it seems anything Theresa May does now will divide the Conservatives or bring down the government. Several ministers have openly admitted they would resign should no-deal happen; if she drives through a version of her deal, the DUP will end the confidence-and-supply agreement. Despite Labour’s many tensions, ahead of the meaningful vote taking place tomorrow, only three Labour MPs so far look likely to vote in favour of the Tory deal: John Mann, Jim Fitzpatrick and Kevin Barron.

That isn’t to underestimate the Labour drama that will follow the meaningful vote. Those in favour of another referendum fully expect the leader to table a motion of no confidence in the government quickly, then move on to supporting a fresh public vote (although the composite motion only promises to keep that option on the table). Many members have expressed this assumption, including Sadiq Khan on Pienaar’s Politics yesterday, and yet this sequence of events is far from certain. Don’t be surprised when the Labour leadership continues to factor in electoral strategy and the need to gain Conservative-Leave marginals when taking its next steps on Brexit this week. Remember that our enemy is the Tories, not the man trying to win the next election for the Labour Party.

Sienna @siennamarla

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MIL-OSI UK: Sunday shows round-up: No confidence vote, fresh referendum and ‘no deal’

Source: Labour List UK

Andrew Marr Show

Andrew Gwynne confirmed reports that Labour will be ‘throwing the kitchen sink’ at the government before Christmas recess with urgent questions and debates in parliament, in an effort to force May to bring her deal to the Commons. Labour’s local government spokesman also revealed that a motion of no confidence in the government would only be tabled once May’s deal is put to parliament.

  • On the next week in parliament: “We will be using whatever mechanisms we have at our disposal next to week to try and force the government to bring forward that deal for a vote before Christmas.”
  • On a motion of no confidence: “We want to do that when we can succeed, and the first step is to get this deal decided on by the House of Commons. Until the Commons has had its view on Theresa May’s deal, she’s going to limp on, pretending that this can get through.”

Chuka Umunna, a prominent ‘people’s vote’ campaigner, admitted that not enough MPs back a fresh referendum, but said they would change their positions in due course. The backbench Labour MP warned the Prime Minister was “leaving our country in limbo” by deferring the vote on her Brexit deal, but also disagreed with Labour’s line that a better deal could be negotiated.

  • On a fresh referendum: “I’m honest enough to say, look, do we have the numbers for a people’s vote on this Brexit mess right now in the House of Commons? No, we don’t.”
  • On May’s deal being voted on by MPs in mid-January: “That is unacceptable.”
  • On Labour’s alternative: “There is no better deal at the moment.”

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