Labour – ‘This Is Our Brexit Position Now – But We Do Have Others!’
Labour’s election chief Andrew Gwynne (pictured above) praised himself for creating a ‘very clever’ line on Brexit for the party, but admitted that it could become ‘a bit of a problem for the party’ and ‘may need to change’. He said that if public opinion shifted on the issue, then there is no reason why Labour’s position on the issue couldn’t also change.
Jeremy Corbyn has so far emphasised a flexible approach, with a spokesman for the Labour leader saying this week that it would be wrong to “sweep options off the table”.
Mr Gwynne hinted that the party could yet change tack if public opinion changes:-
‘We recognise that the country voted to leave. Whether public opinion shifts in the course of the next couple of years will be interesting to see,’ Mr Gwynne told an event organised by PR firm Four Public Affairs.
‘And I think once the reality of what Brexit is going to look like becomes more apparent, it may well be that the political situation changes sufficiently that the Labour Party’s nuanced position might also have more flexibility.’
He argued the party had done well to neutralise Brexit during the election campaign, but predicted possible problems ahead.
‘I actually think the Labour Party trod a very clever fine line in the election that appealed to both Remain and Leave constituencies and Remain and Leave voters.
‘I think it is our challenge to keep treading that fine line. Because yes, this could become a political problem for the Labour Party – but right now it’s one hell of a political problem for the Tories.’
The party has been beset by internal rows over Europe, with former frontbencher Heidi Alexander yesterday launching a savage attack on the Shadow International Trade Secretary, Barry Gardiner, over his claim that staying in the customs union would be a ‘disaster’.
Ms Alexander, who was among 49 Labour MPs who backed an amendment to the Queen’s Speech to stay in the single market and the customs union, described her colleague’s remarks as ‘depressing’ and ‘disingenuous’.
In a piece for the Guardian, she claimed Mr Gardiner’s description of the causes of the Brexit vote could have ‘come straight out of Tory Central Office’.
Westmonster Dave is the editor of alt-politics.com