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Brexit: Can the divided Labor Party clarify its position?

2019-09-22T11:20:36.075Z

Deeply divided, Labor, Britain's main opposition party, opened its annual congress in Brighton on Saturday. The thorny issue of Brexit, on which Jeremy Corbyn still refuses to tran ...



Will Labor finally pronounce on Brexit? While British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledges his determination to pull the UK out of the EU on October 31, British Labor will try to clarify their position on the issue at Labor's annual Labor Congress. is open Saturday, September 21st in Brighton.

If Jeremy Corbyn, the head of Labor, assured Wednesday, September 18, that he would organize a new referendum on Brexit in the event that Labor win the parliamentary elections, he is always careful to post his position on the subject .

If it comes to power, Labor would set itself the goal of concluding a new Brexit agreement with the EU within three months and a second referendum within six months, according to a draft statement consulted by Reuters.

>> Read also : Brexit: the topic that divides the Labor Party Congress

"To the people the last word"

In a column published Tuesday in The Guardian, Jeremy Corbyn says he wants to give "the people the last word", with on one side, the proposal of a "credible offer" to leave the EU and on the other, a maintenance. "I pledge to carry out what the people will decide, as Labor Prime Minister", he was content to affirm, without specifying his opinion, to the chagrin of Labor activists who in the majority, would like to see him refuse a divorce with the EU.

Playing the compromise card, the 70-year-old leader prefers to tout the merits of a Labor party that would be "the only one in the UK to trust British citizens to make the decision." In this climate of uncertainty, the representative of the left seeks to embody a credible alternative in case of a turnaround, while keeping a line vague enough not to scare some of its pro-Brexit voters.

"A flight forward"

An assumed ambiguity that baffles and looks more like a "flight forward" analysis Nicholas Dungan, researcher at the Atlantic Council, contacted by France 24. "The electorate of Labor is divided into two categories: on one side, the right-thinking on the left for the 'remain' and on the other, the oppressed of the society for the withdrawal Corbyn who wants to remain the leader of the Labor Party prefers to minimize the damage, not to offend anyone and therefore does not not decide, "says the specialist.

The head of Labor has always been more comfortable with economic and social issues than to defend his vision of Brexit. Well-known Eurosceptic, he had paid lip service to the maintenance during his referendum campaign of June 2016. Under the pressure of his party, he changed his official position, supporting in turn the maintenance in the customs union, the single market and finally the holding of a second referendum.

Over 80 motions

However, this lack of readability barely convinces the potential allies of Labor. "To be neutral on Brexit is a shameful abdication of leadership," Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish independence party SNP, the second opposition force in the UK Parliament, even tweeted on Twitter.

'Staying neutral' on Brexit is a shameful abdication of leadership. https://t.co/7WsVzCRmyK

Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 17, 2019

In this context, a group of Labor plans to take advantage of the Labor Congress to force Corbyn to commit to a continuation in the EU. An "unlikely hypothesis," says Nicholas Dungan. Exchanges are on the upswing: activists have tabled over 80 motions that are expected to be debated in Brighton until Wednesday. According to Les Échos, these 400 pages of texts call on the party to campaign for the "remain" in the case of a new referendum, or even to renounce purely Brexit, by revoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which governs the exit from an EU country.

A difficult position for the leader of the Labor Party, according to Nicholas Dungan. "We must not forget that parliamentarians and voters do not have the same point of view regarding the exit of the EU Two thirds of the British population think that the results of the 2016 election must be respected. Article 50 is exactly the opposite of the referendum, "the researcher said.

An ambiguity that benefits centrists

For the time being, several Labor Party leaders, such as trade unionist John McDonnell and MP Diane Abbott, have already warned that they would vote for a continuation in the EU, in the case of a new election. As recalled by the number two leftist party, Tom Watson, "the ambiguity" maintained the Labor Brexit has cost him votes last May in the European elections.

Labor won 13.7% of the vote, a decline of 10 points over five years. Many advocates of a continuation in the EU had preferred the liberal-democrats, who advocate a cancellation of Brexit without a second referendum.

"I will comply with the decision of the party"

A postponement of votes that could be accentuated during the next general elections made probable by the political crisis. Because if Corbyn tries to spare his divided electorate, he "remains very weak in his party," said Nicholas Dungan. Among Labor voters, only one out of two relies on eurosceptics to make the right Brexit decisions, according to a YouGov poll published in September.

"I am proud to lead this party, I am proud of the democracy of this party and obviously, I will comply with the decision of the party, whatever it is", repeated, Sunday, the leader of the Labor Party, in the seaside resort of Brighton.

Source: france24

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