I was intrigued by the line in the editorial in Solidarity 472, headlined “Build the left against Brexit”.
It states Solidarity supports the PLP voting for amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill that would keep the UK in the EEA. Whilst this is an improvement on the prospect of a hard Brexit, I think it is the wrong approach to the question.
The AWL has been raising the slogan of “Stop Brexit” and rightly so. Membership of the EEA is a poor substitute for full membership of the EU. EEA members must make budget contributions and accept regulations without having any say in decision making.
Further, if we accept Labour is only arguing for EEA membership, we lose the opportunity for debate and give credence to the Labour right. The article correctly states their primary concern is for businesses to continue trading freely. Therefore whilst a Government defeat in Parliament is welcome, it will do nothing to aid our cause of building the left against Brexit.
Secondly, I think there is a typo in the phrase “A minority of Labour voters opposed Brexit”. From the context of the paragraph, I think this should read “A minority of Labour voters supported Brexit”. There were various arguments for a leave vote, from the Red Tories of Labour Leave to sections of the hard left peddling the myth of Lexit. In contrast, polling just after the referendum showed two thirds of Labour supporters voted “Remain”. Today, opposition to Brexit is estimated at 80% among Labour members.
These statistics give further weight to having a proper debate on Brexit at this year’s Labour Party Conference.
Alex Stuart, Basingstoke