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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Theresa May's Brexit plan makes no sense for Britain but all the sense in the world for internal Tory politics

Theresa May

There is no doubt about it: this Conservative Government is hurtling like a runaway train towards a hard, ideological Brexit, with a weak Prime Minister lacking the guts to stand up to the reckless right-wingers sitting in the driving seat. From the moment Theresa May gave her Lancaster House speech in January setting out her approach, there could be no doubt about it and we should not be afraid of saying so.

Having promised during the referendum campaign that Britain would secure a beneficial new relationship with the European Union, covering all areas from trade to security, these right-wingers are now talking up the prospect of Britain leaving with no deal at all, as the lies and myths they told the British people become a reality – a calamitous outcome for our country, and especially for working people.

Aided and abetted by their cheerleaders in the print media, the right-wingers think they can get away with it. The Labour Party – as the principal Opposition – must make sure they don’t. Our job is to put pressure on the Government to bring this train to a halt and hold them to account for the damage they are doing. Above all, we must spell out in technicolour the kind of post-Brexit Britain the extreme Brexiteers driving the Government’s agenda seek to create and make clear – whether you voted Remain or Leave – that there is a better alternative that can unite our country. So far, Labour has failed to do this clearly and effectively; now we must step up to the plate and do so.

Article 50, implementing the referendum result, simply marked the beginning, not the end, of this process. Those who claim the Article 50 bill was the only vehicle through which to put up resistance to an extreme hard Brexit are mistaken. There is no deal currently on the table for Parliament to consider – when it takes shape, Parliament will get a vote. And there will be plenty of opportunities over the next two years to thwart the extreme course the Tory right want to take this country, with the Great Repeal Bill, the finance bills implementing forthcoming budgets, and in other legislation. The Lib Dems, Greens and SNP will resist a hard Brexit too, but they represent parts of the UK; only Labour can speak for all of it and unite Britain.

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