by Steve Beasant on 5 February, 2018
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has written to Jeremy Corbyn asking him to join the campaign for a referendum on the terms of any Brexit deal.
Corbyn has taken the same position as the Conservatives in ruling out a referendum, as well as continued membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union.
But evidence from Queen Mary University shows that the overwhelming majority of Labour members want to stay in the Customs Union and Single Market, with nearly eight in 10 also backing a final say on any deal.
In the letter, Vince Cable writes:
“Surely it is time for Labour to join the campaign rather than continue to support Theresa May’s pursuit of a damaging hard Brexit…
“You have energised young people to get engaged in politics, which is a significant achievement. But with three quarters of young people under the age of 25 opposed to leaving the EU, they will be left disillusioned if you do not help the fight to secure them the option of an exit from Brexit.”
Corbyn said he would not back a referendum in an interview on the Andrew Marr Show last week. Sitting in the same interview chair today, Vince Cable told Marr:
“I think Jeremy Corbyn is crucial to this [getting a vote on the terms of the deal]. It is clear that the vast majority of his MPs, his party, and his supporters are very concerned that he hasn’t opposed Brexit.
“He’s effectively worked in collusion with Theresa May and her government to enable Brexit to happen. I think there is a simmering anger about that. I think as we get through the year and we come closer to the final decision and it becomes clear, as it is I think, that we’re going to get a very bad deal from these negotiations, he [Corbyn] will be under enormous pressure to support a referendum on the final deal.
“And I think the Labour Party will come round to it, as will a significant number of dissident Conservatives.”
Below is a copy of the letter sent to Jeremy Corbyn.
Leader of HM Opposition
House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA
2nd February 2018
I am writing to you about Brexit, because I was dismayed by your interview with Andrew Marr last Sunday, when you reiterated your personal objection to letting the British people have their say on the Conservatives’ Brexit deal.
There is now significant momentum behind demands for the people to have the final say. Repeated polls show a substantial majority of people are in favour of a public vote. The most recent ICM survey showed a 16-point lead in favour.
Moreover, the vast majority of your own supporters want this referendum – 78% according to an authoritative study by Queen Mary University, London. We know most of your Parliamentary party feel similarly. Surely it is time for Labour to join the campaign rather than continue to support Theresa May’s pursuit of a damaging hard Brexit.
As the leak of the Department for Exiting the European Union’s impact assessment shows, there is no form of Brexit that will see British workers and their families better off than if we remain within the EU.
You will have noted that Yanis Varoufakis – among many others from your own democratic socialist tradition – endorsing a similar conclusion this week, with strong support for the Single Market.
You have energised young people to get engaged in politics, which is a significant achievement. But with three quarters of young people under the age of 25 opposed to leaving the EU, they will be left disillusioned if you do not help the fight to secure them the option of an exit from Brexit.
I appreciate we have our political differences, but we do have common cause in fighting this incompetent Conservative government and we do vote together most of the time. There should be no dividing lines between progressive parties on the EU.
With your support, we would comfortably win an amendment for a referendum in the House of Lords and would need only a handful of Conservative rebels to repeat that victory in the Commons.
If it would be helpful to meet to discuss this issue, I will make myself available at the earliest opportunity.
Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable MPLeave a comment