Labour grandee urges Jeremy Corbyn to ditch 'left-wing Brexit nonsense' and back second referendum

Posted On: 
12th January 2019

Jeremy Corbyn should stop spreading "out-dated nonsense about a socialist economy being impossible in Europe" and back a second referendum on Brexit, Labour grandee Lord Roy Hattersley will say today,

Labour's former deputy leader Lord Hattersley said support for a so-called 'People's Vote' was growing 'stronger every day'.
Credit: 
PA

The party's former deputy leader will tell a rally for the People's Vote campaign that Mr Corbyn should not "waste our time" by promising a Labour-led renegotiation of Theresa May's Brexit deal.

And he will urge the Labour leader - who last month said the "failed neoliberal policies" of the EU had contributed to the 2016 Brexit vote - to listen to the "vast majority" of party members who want a fresh public say on leaving the EU.

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Speaking in Sheffield, Lord Hattersley will say: "Jeremy Corbyn promised the party that policy would be made by the membership. Conference resolutions would he said, be implemented.

"That means he must, difficult as it may be, put out of his mind all the out-dated nonsense about a socialist economy being impossible in Europe.

"The vast majority of party members now expect that when the hope of an early general election is extinguished, Labour will campaign for a People’s Vote."

A resolution passed at Labour's annual conference last year leaves open the option of the party backing a second referendum.

However, the party has said it will first try to oust Theresa May in a general election after voting against her Brexit deal when it comes before the the House of Commons next week.

In a speech on Thursday, Mr Corbyn repeated his demand for an election and said if Labour won he would "negotiate a better deal for Britain and secure support for it in Parliament and across the country".

But Lord Hattersley - who has previously taken digs at Mr Corbyn's leadership of Labour - will tell People's Vote supporters that there is "no conceivable deal which is remotely as beneficial to Great Britain as full membership of the European Union".

He will argue: "None of us – and that includes the leadership of the Labour Party – ought to waste our time talking about a another renegotiation."

And the Labour veteran will add: "Support for a People’s Vote on Britain’s future grows stronger every day.  If it were backed by the Labour Party, and in consequence, by the progressive trade unions, the idea would be irresistible. 

"The People’s Vote must enfranchise the young - not because they are passionately in favour of a European future, but because the Europe we build this year will belong to them.

"The elderly – people like me – would  be protected from the long-term penalties of leaving the Union or hovering half in half out. We can rely for a year or two on the prosperity which is bequeathed to us by forty years of European membership.

"It is the young who will pay the price if Little England rises from the dead – reduced job opportunities, a retarded rate of economic growth and investment diverted from Britain to tariff-free markets."

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “As unanimously agreed at our party conference, if Theresa May’s botched Brexit deal is voted down in Parliament then a general election should be called.

"In line with the policy agreed at conference, if the Conservatives block a general election then we will keep all options on the table, including the option of campaigning for a public vote.”