Labour needs to be honest about the true costs of Brexit
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We the undersigned supported Labour at the General Election on 8 June 2017.
Now that the Brexit negotiations are underway, we are asking you to lead an open, honest and factual dialogue within our Party, and across the country, about the true impacts of Brexit on the UK.
Brexit is the single greatest challenge facing the UK since 1945, although our Party’s stance on this vital issue has been decided by the few at the exclusion of the many. When Labour’s Annual Conference debated the issue in September 2016, it resolved:
“Unless the final settlement proves to be acceptable, then the option of retaining EU membership should be retained. The final settlement should therefore be subject to approval, through Parliament and potentially through a general election or referendum.”
Nevertheless, the rhetoric of our Party’s Shadow Cabinet during and since the election has sought to present Brexit as a fait accompli – accepting an end to the ‘four freedoms’, and thus our place within the Single Market and Customs Union. This is despite a clear majority of Labour members and supporters being pro-European, and in the face of our Party’s core internationalist principles.
The negative economic effects of Brexit are already being felt, as sterling devalues, incomes fall, investment declines, major companies begin to relocate, inflation rises and growth slows. All serious economic projections show things only getting worse; a failing economy would make our manifesto commitments undeliverable.
By expressing support for Brexit, our Party’s leadership is colluding in a false prospectus. There is no form of Brexit that would not be deeply damaging to our country: socially, politically and economically.
We gave our votes to Labour during this last election despite misgivings about the leadership’s stance on Brexit. Some of us did so to vote tactically against the Tories, whilst others were reassured by the great many pro-European Labour candidates who were clearly willing to fight in the national interest for a Britain of wealth, openness, fairness and freedom inside the EU.
Many of us would not be willing to support Labour again if we felt our votes had been misconstrued as support for Brexit.
We challenge the leadership to reflect the true values of our Party on this vital issue: to be honest about the true impact of the UK turning its back on the world’s largest trading bloc; to be candid about how Brexit is harming the UK’s reputation and credibility on the world stage; to be clear the appalling surge in hate crimes and animosity towards migrants that the Brexit vote has unleashed is the antithesis of the sort of tolerant and outward-looking society we want to build
It’s time for the Labour Party to start an open, honest and transparent dialogue with the British people about the true costs of Brexit. We ask that the leadership of our Party initiates such a debate.
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