Labour’s flip-flopping and game-playing on Brexit has failed its voters and the country

Labour’s flip-flopping and game-playing on Brexit has failed its voters and the country

In the EU referendum of 2016, 60% of Labour constituencies voted to Leave the European Union. However, in the last two years you would have thought the very opposite was true, whether this is because of the behaviour of Labour MPs or the Labour leadership’s inaction on Brexit.

More than failing its voters in constituencies which voted to Leave, Jeremy Corbyn and his lack of direction has, above all, failed the country as a whole by providing an ineffective opposition to Prime Minister, Theresa May, within Parliament.

Last week, the Labour leader betrayed millions of Labour voters, the country and his own well-documented eurosceptic beliefs by committing to a second referendum after his suggested Brexit deal was rejected by Parliament. This is nothing more than a partisan panic move to try and stop the wave of Labour MPs ready to jump ship from the party.

Corbyn has said this is just following party policy set at the Labour Party Conference last year – which, by the way, was attended by only 2.1% of members and 0.09% of Labour voters. So, for Corbyn to suggest this is ‘the will of Labour voters’ is simply untrue.

Since the EU referendum in June 2016, Labour has had more policies on Brexit than you can count on one hand, all the while attempting to prove they are both pro- and anti-Brexit. While this may be politically expedient in terms of preparing for the next general election, it has deprived the country of an effective Opposition.

This has escalated in the past fortnight following the resignations of nine Labour MPs, eight of whom have joined the so-called Independent Group – a group which consists of nothing but Remainers and second referendum campaigners. One of their major goals in leaving the Labour Party was to try to pressurise Jeremy Corbyn into backing a so-called ‘People’s Vote’ – a ploy which seems to have worked.

All those MPs are refusing to call by-elections, meaning that despite being elected on platforms to deliver Brexit, they are now betraying their voters by not doing what they were sent to Westminster to do. This is an abject betrayal of the trust placed in our elected representatives.

Brexit should not be an issue with which to play party political games. This should have been a real chance for MPs to come out of their entrenched positions of bickering with each other across the House.

Last month Jeremy Corbyn flip-flopped between repeatedly refusing to meet with Mrs May to discuss Brexit, to then sending her letters outlining Labour’s Brexit ‘position’ – if it is at all possible to call what he proposed a ‘position’. Included within his proposal was the need for the UK to stay in the Customs Union and the Single Market, both impossible if we are to deliver Brexit.

Corbyn has played political games, making Brexit a party political issue, knowing the Prime Minister has alread -, and rightly – ruled out his suggestions as they would mean the UK having to accept the EU’s freedom of movement rules, European Court of Justice jurisdiction, as well as sending vast sums of money to the EU every year.

Meanwhile, throughout this whole process the Prime Minister has put forward a damp squib vision for a global Brexit Britain. Labour had held no formal collective position – being led by Corbyn as a eurosceptic Labour Leader! Now, in the final weeks before Brexit Day, it appears the Labour Party has decided to betray their Leave-voting supporters.

They want to block attempts to pursue our global trading future with World Trade Organisation rules when we Leave the EU. Instead, Corbyn has bowed to pressure from a vocal minority in favour of cancelling Brexit, while ignoring the groundswell of Leave Labour voters in the North.

With Parliament in its current state of disarray, Labour had a real chance to stand up for working-class Labour Leave voters and demonstrate that their voices will be heard. Instead, they have capitulated to the minority of strident London-centric liberal Remainers in their party, chanting for another referendum vote – which was clearly ruled out in the Labour Party manifesto at the last general election. In doing so, Corbyn and Labour have shown no backbone or belief in their own opinions or support for those of their voters. The communities they have sworn to represent and stand for are once again being sold down the river.

Even when the Labour leadership has attempted to become involved with the Brexit process, they have been determined to undermine the UK negotiating position at every stage. At a recent press conference, the Government stated there must be compromise on the Northern Irish backstop by the EU and there are ‘set in stone red lines’ – such as leaving the Single Market.

Yet after the Prime Minister’s most recent trip to Brussels, the following day Corbyn travelled to Brussels to meet with EU negotiators with a delegation of his front bench, only to tell them and the press, that Labour would in effect capitulate to the EU’s demands. By playing these political games, the Labour Party continually undermines the talks and deliberately seeks division within the UK’s negotiating position. Brexit is about making this country a truly great global nation again and it should not be about scoring cheap political points.

Instead of a principled Opposition with a clear line of argument which could have pushed the Government into delivering a solid, true and clean Brexit, we have seen political deception, with the sole focus on trying to play the Great British Public for the fool. This has been followed by a Labour Leader betraying his own beliefs – all for a far-fetched idealistic dream of attempting to gain political power.

The decision to fall in behind the ‘Peoples Vote’ campaigners will come back to haunt the Labour leadership. We need to Get Britain Out of the EU as quickly as possible and make sure we deliver on the will of the British people for our global future – even if Labour Party MPs don’t seem to remember how their constituents voted in the EU referendum!