Mike Buckley: Labour’s future depends on opposing Tories on Brexit

None of us wanted to end up here. Over the last four years we have fought hard to prevent Brexit, not only because it will harm our economy and our country, but also because it challenges our Labour values and our belief in cooperation, solidarity and internationalism. We got close to a second referendum. Had MPs made different choices last
autumn we could by now have been in the middle of a referendum campaign. I am
convinced that we could have won that, and a subsequent General Election. But the reality is  now very
different. Brexit is upon us and the Tories are in power with a big majority –
and at least four years to further damage our country. They are already attacking the BBC – an attack on
free and objective media we would expect from far right governments in Hungary
and Poland, or from authoritarian regimes like Russia, but not from supposedly
mature democracies like the UK. They have made life harder for refugees, refusing to allow child refugees to reunite with
their families in the UK. They are making life harder for migrants,
ending free movement and putting in place measures to make life harder. They
are making life harder for people who own or work in businesses – with reams of
new red tape and procedures to follow
just to continue to make a living. They are making life close to impossible for our
manufacturing sector, promising to leave the Single Market and Customs Union –
for many manufacturers the only reason that their businesses make economic
sense. Job losses and closures are almost certain to follow. They will make life
harder for workers – as they refuse
to sign up to keep rights and protections in place once
the transition period is over. In Labour we now have a choice. We can let the Tories get away with it ,
decide that Brexit has happened and we should move on. But this lets the Tories
off the hook – lives will be harmed and we will have failed the people who put
their trust in us. Alternatively we can continue to hold the Tories to account.
They have promised to make a success of Brexit and the ‘ exact same benefits ’ as EU
membership. We need to highlight every lost business, every falling standard in
food or safety, every lost citizens’ right, job and opportunity. The public
deserve to know what Brexit means for our country, our jobs and the NHS. At Labour for a Public Vote we still believe that Britain’s best future is
in the EU under a Labour Government. The time now is not for a rejoin campaign,
but to hold the Tories to account. We will keep track of what the Tories are
doing, what deals they’re negotiating and how they are damaging our democracy,
and our open and tolerant society. Labour getting Brexit right from now on is important to the country. We
must keep up the pressure on the Tories to help make Brexit as least damaging
as it can be – and to undo it as quickly as possible. It is also important for
Labour. The vast majority of our voters are
Remainers – they want us to fight this battle. If we fail them they will leave
us for the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Greens. If you haven’t yet, please join us as a member. In coming weeks we will
relaunch with a new name, but the same mission: to help get Labour into power,
to end Brexit, and to build the best future for all who live and make their
home in the UK. You can join
as a member here . In what is a hard time for all of us, we must not despair. The Tories look
powerful now – but the future is ours to make. Brexit is a flawed project. It
won’t make anyone’s life better, reduce inequality, create jobs, build houses
or pay for new trains. It will fail. Labour needs to be ready with an alternative, better vision, not just for our relationship with the EU, but for how our economy is run, who it benefits, and where power is held. Working with our members, the new Labour leader and our MPs, and with our friends on the Left across the EU, we can build that vision and a better future. The future is ours to make. Mike Buckley is the director of Labour for a Public Vote

2020-02-05 | Brexit & Foreign Policy, Brexit, EU withdrawal agreement | English |