As a member of the AEIP National Committee, I have been campaigning to reverse Brexit. The personal politics that led me to stand for their NC is based on both an abstract commitment to what the EU could be and a detailed observation of the economic and social advantages of common citizenship, together with the economic advantages to the nation of belong to the European Union. The absence of the EU’s freedom of movement to work and the common citizenship rights do not affect the rich.

Opinion polls are steadily showing a majority to rejoin the European Union but the two major parties in the House of Commons are both triangulating with a dying electorate and rejecting the aspirations of its replacement.  The younger voters that replace them see the reciprocal freedom of movement as a benefit.

At my Labour Party’s general committee, I successfully moved a motion for Labour’s Conference calling on the UK to rejoin the single marker and customs union, together with Erasmus and Horizon. Horizon has just been agreed by the government in another series of small steps back towards the Union. The motion will be submitted to the Labour Conference but will need to survive the priorities ballot and then the composite process.

I believe that Momentum’s model motion, Breaking from the Brexit Disaster, has also been submitted by at least one CLP. I have also posted the words of their motion below. It is probably too late get more CLPs to submit these motion as the deadline is 21st September and notice of a meeting and of business. to be conducted needs to be given. A more effective way of supporting the motion and policy is to argue to include these motions in the priority ballot which takes place at conference.

The following or overleaf is the speech I made, or something very similar to the speech I made. I was very constrained by time; if I’d had more I’d have made more of the human arguments around the racism of the hostile environment and in favour of freedom of movement.

This motion is quite clear, and maybe public opinion has moved on, and we could ask for more but,

Brexit was a con, perpetrated by liars and will go down in history as an act of national self-harm and folly.

Economically,  the Tory ‘Hard Brexit’ has led to reduced foreign inward investment, a worsening balance of trade, reduced employment, a labour shortage in many industries, particularly social care, agriculture, hospitality and the NHS, and sterling has lost value against the dollar and the euro.

The Labour front-bench’s response is not good enough.

It remains a mercantilist, shop keepers’ approach, it focuses exclusively what membership buys and calculates it value in red and black ink. They propose to amend the future trade and co-operation agreement with five changes all of which are of benefit the UK. It’s a version of cakeism. Why would the EU agree to those if there is no commitment by the UK to make their citizens’ lives better too. Why would they make it easier for our musicians and consultants to work in Europe, while we continue to refuse entry to Eastern European construction workers and Western European health workers, all of whom we need!

In order to fix Brexit, we need to rejoin the single market and customs union, and re-engage in Erasmus+; this motion is so much common sense that even the Tories have agreed to rejoin Horizon, although we don’t have it as good as we did.

Much of the reasons for Brexit were based on the xenophobia and racism, as part of fixing Brexit and re-establishing a rule of law we must welcome migrants and repeal the hostile environment.

This is right and decent; arguments opposing this because of electoralism are neither, we are better than that; triangulating on this issue is preferring those that don’t and won’t vote for us to those that do.

Send this motion to conference so Labour can go into the next election with its head held high offering to work as partners with out European allies and welcoming migrants as equals and citizens.

Dave Levy @ Lewisham Deptford General Committee

The text of the Lewisham Deptford motion and the Momentum model is overleaf, use the “read more” button …

Trade, Jobs and the European Union (Lewisham Deptford).

 Conference notes,

  1. that Horizon Europe funded €5.1bn to UK research.
  2. that UK University sector’s pre-eminence is jeopardised by exclusion from Erasmus+ & Horizon Europe
  3. thousands of financial services jobs have moved from the UK to the EU
  4. that the Tory ‘Hard Brexit’ has led to reduced foreign inward investment, a worsening balance of trade, reduced employment, a labour shortage in many industries, particularly social care, agriculture, hospitality and the NHS, and sterling has lost value against the dollar and the euro.
  5. That opinion polls are reporting that the Tory Brexit is no longer supported by a majority of people.
  6. that the labour shortages are compounded by xenophobia and the Tories’ morally disgraceful “hostile environment”.
  7. that there are over 3m EU citizen’s living in the UK, many of whom will have come to be restricted by the measures of the hostile environment and the discrimination introduced by the withdrawal agreement

Conference believes,

  1. That in order to reverse the damage done by Brexit, we must advocate re-joining the European Single Market and Customs Union.
  2. That restoring free movement between the UK and EU would be a benefit, socially and economically, not a cost.

Conference resolves,

  1. to call for a new relationship with the EU involving the adoption of the single market and customs union
  2. to campaign in opposition and in Government to rejoin Horizon Europe and Erasmus+
  3. to call for the repeal the cruel hostile environment.

Break with the Brexit Disaster

Conference notes:

  1. That far more people want to rejoin the EU than stay out, and the gap is growing. The ten polls to 17 April favoured rejoin average 49% to 34.3%. Specific polling shows a big anti-Brexit shift in the “Red Wall”.
  2. The vast chaos and damage Brexit is causing on many fronts – reinforcing the Tories’ attacks on rights, living standards and services.
  3. That a March 2023 Omnisis poll found 72% supporting “mutual free movement” between the UK and Europe, 14% against. Leaver voters supported 66-20.

Conference believes:

  1. That accepting even the Tories’ ultra-hard Brexit as beyond criticism means failing to show the leadership required of any kind of internationalist and working-class party.
  2. That hard Brexit and withdrawal from the Single Market have brought economic damage for working people.
  3. That greater free movement would not be an unfortunate overhead of mitigating Brexit damage, but a positive benefit.
  4. That Labour must stand up for migrants and for working-class unity and solidarity against Tory politics of scapegoating and bigotry.

Conference resolves:

  1. That Labour will
    • – indict the Tories’ Brexit policy
    • – pledge to rejoin the Single Market and Customs Union and restore UK-EU free movement.
    • – campaign for the pro-migrants’ rights policies we passed in 2019, counterposing repealing all anti-union laws, better pay and workers’ rights and restored public services to Tory scapegoating.
    • – aim to rejoin the EU.
Brexit/Brejoin is on #lab23 agenda
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One thought on “Brexit/Brejoin is on #lab23 agenda

  • 17th September 2023 at 8:55 pm

    I have added the text of Momentum Model motion and added the call to support these motions in the topic priority ballot.

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