Labour position on Brexit could change 'if public opinion shifts', says Corbyn campaign chief

Posted On: 
26th July 2017

Labour could change its line on Brexit "if public opinion shifts", the partys' election campaign chief has admitted.

Andrew Gwynne campaigning in west Yorkshire
Credit: 
PA

Andrew Gwynne said Labour had so far managed a "very clever" line on Brexit, but admitted that "could become a political problem" for the party. 

Jeremy Corbyn has so far emphasised a flexible approach, with a spokesman for the Labour leader saying this week that it would be wrong to "sweep options off the table".

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And Mr Gwynne hinted that the party could yet change tack if public opinion changes.

“We recognise that the country voted to leave. Whether public opinion shifts in the course of the next couple of years will be interesting to see," Mr Gwynne told an event organised by PR firm Four Public Affairs.

“And I think once the reality of what Brexit is going to look like becomes more apparent, it may well be that the political situation changes sufficiently that the Labour Party’s nuanced position might also have more flexibility.” 

He argued the party had done well to neutralise Brexit during the election campaign, but predicted possible problems ahead.

"I actually think the Labour Party trod a very clever fine line in the election that appealed to both Remain and Leave constituencies and Remain and Leave voters.

“I think it is our challenge to keep treading that fine line. Because yes, this could become a political problem for the Labour Party - but right now it’s one hell of a political problem for the Tories," he said.

'DEPRESSING'

The party has been beset by internal rows over Europe, with former frontbencher Heidi Alexander yesterday launching a savage attack on the Shadow International Trade Secretary, Barry Gardiner, over his claim that staying in the customs union would be a "disaster".

Ms Alexander, who was among 49 Labour MPs who backed an amendment to the Queen's Speech to stay in the single market and the customs union, described her colleague's remarks as "depressing" and "disingenuous".

In a piece for the Guardian, she claimed Mr Gardiner's description of the causes of the Brexit vote could have "come straight out of Tory Central Office".