Fri, 14 May 2021

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By Josh Martin
Press releases

Momentum accused of conference 'fix' to avoid Brexit embarrassment for Jeremy Corbyn

Momentum accused of conference 'fix' to avoid Brexit embarrassment for Jeremy Corbyn

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Left-wing campaign group Momentum has been accused of trying to save "Jeremy Corbyn's blushes" by avoiding a Labour conference vote on the party's Brexit stance. 

In an email to its activists, Momentum - which was set up to support the Labour leader - ignored calls for conference delegates to vote on the party taking a more pro-EU stance.

A powerful coalition of unions, Labour moderates and Momentum members has been calling for a change in approach and a vote on the issue.

Just today some 30 Labour MPs were joined by MEPs and unions to urge Jeremy Corbyn to back continued membership of the single market after Brexit.

Labour has said it will commit to quitting the single market and customs union once Britain leaves the EU, and said freedom of movement will inevitably end.

If members rejected the official party view it would be a major embarrassment for the Labour leader, who has championed giving the grassroots a bigger say in policy.

A vote today will decide which issues get voted on when the debates come up. Brexit is already set to be debated on Monday.

In its email, seen by PoliticsHome, the Momentum leadership asked members to push for votes on housing, social care, the NHS and rail.

“Momentum recommends voting for the following four subjects as they are crucial issues that the public care about, and it is vital Labour sets out a genuinely progressive vision on them in order to win the next election,” it said.

Richard Angell, director of the centrist pressure group Progress, said: “It is shameful tactics by the Momentum leadership to try and stop members democratically discuss Brexit let alone commit the party to staying in the single market permanently and debating the important principles of freedom of movement.

“Most Momentum activists are desperate to stop a hard Brexit, but the secret Bennite Brexiteers want to keep Labour’s position as vague as possible for as long as possible – also known as a Tory-lite Brexit position. 

“This is clearly Momentum using a ’stitch and fix to avoid Jeremy Corbyn’s blushes.”

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