Momentum puts pressure on Corbyn for second vote
Members of the left wing pressure group Momentum are reported to be pushing for a vote on the Labour Party’s stance on Brexit at the party’s annual conference in September.
It has been reported by the Observer that senior figures have said that it is “unacceptable” for members not to be able to partake and have a say on the party’s position, citing Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto which called for more power for grassroots members.
Rida Vaquas, a former member of Momentum’s national coordinating group, has said that:
“A Corbyn-led Labour party can only be strengthened by vigorous discussion among our own ranks, on our political differences as well as what unites us. How we approach Brexit is an issue of decisive importance and it is therefore only right it is debated at conference.”
Brexit is proving to be a thorn in Mr Corbyn’s side as he struggles to consolidate the differing views across his party. Corbyn is known to be a eurosceptic and during the referendum debate he was criticised by Remainers for not campaigning passionately enough on the issue.
Corbyn is also under pressure from the right wing of his party, represented by Blairite group Progress, to hold a “meaningful vote” vote on the issue.
To add to the issues within the party, his own Cabinet have struggled to come to terms with the current stance, which is to come out of the single market but to retain a customs union relationship with the EU.
Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said he was not in favour of the UK staying in the European Economic Area after Brexit, akin to adopting a “Norway-style” model in which the UK would remain in the single market and have to accept rules around freedom of movement.
Meanwhile, Labour’s deputy Labour leader Tom Watson appeared on Peston on Sunday to say that no decisions had been made on whipping arrangements regarding membership of the single market as the Commons prepares to vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill next month.
Mr Corbyn appears to be slightly hamstrung on the issue and September may finally bring the issue to ahead for the Labour Party.