Labour’s deputy chief, Tom Watson, has warned MPs and friends that an evaluation of the celebration’s losses in current native and European elections that was offered to the shadow cupboard final week dangerously underestimated the disaster it should face if it fails to again one other Brexit referendum.
In a briefing doc circulated to greater than 100 Labour MPs and friends yesterday, Watson says sections of the evaluation leaked to the media have “skewed” understanding of the celebration’s plight. He warns that if Labour doesn’t face the precise classes and grow to be a Stay celebration, it dangers electoral catastrophe.
In his memo, obtained by the Observer, he challenges 5 of the important thing factors made to the shadow cupboard within the briefing, which solid doubt on the advantages of Labour changing into a extra explicitly pro-Stay celebration.
Watson warns that except Labour grasps the truth of its place, it faces a “catastrophic lack of votes” to the Liberal Democrats and Greens “that would allow a Conservative landslide” at a normal election.
His intervention comes forward of additional dialogue on the shadow cupboard on Tuesday of Labour’s Brexit place. After final week’s assembly, the celebration issued an announcement that upset supporters of a second referendum and appeared to depart Labour’s nuanced place on one other public vote unchanged, whereas not committing the celebration to a transparent pro-Stay stance.
Watson is anxious that accounts of final week’s assembly launched to the media misrepresented the total image, essentially underplaying the extent of the lack of votes from Labour to Stay events, whereas overplaying the hazard to the celebration of adopting a extra pro-Stay coverage in key seats that backed Depart within the 2016 referendum.
Watson says accounts of the shadow cupboard evaluation “could have skewed understanding inside the media, the celebration and the shadow cupboard in regards to the big problem confronting Labour”.
In a message to his Future Britain group of MPs and friends, which is backing its personal centre-left set of coverage approaches, he says: “Many individuals on this group have contacted me following the Brexit shadow cupboard that occurred this week and forward of the important thing shadow cupboard that can subsequent week resolve the way forward for Labour’s coverage on Brexit, and specifically whether or not the celebration will marketing campaign to stay in a referendum on any future deal.
“Jeremy has already dedicated Labour to holding a confirmatory public poll on any future Brexit deal, whether or not the deal is negotiated by the Tories or by Labour. That’s the proper factor to do. What’s but to be determined is that if Labour ought to marketing campaign for Stay in that referendum. It’s my agency perception that we should always. The vast majority of Labour’s members and voters are Stay. Our hearts are Stay and our values are Stay.” He provides: “Subsequent week shall be a historic second for our celebration. If we get the choice unsuitable, I worry we may grow to be electoral historical past.”
On Sunday, the previous Labour overseas secretary Margaret Beckett known as on Corbyn to repeat the strategy utilized by then Labour prime minister Harold Wilson in 1975 by calling a referendum however permitting his prime group to marketing campaign as they want. Writing for the Observer on-line, Beckett says: “Jeremy Corbyn is now mentioned to be finding out the historical past of the 1970s as he grapples with this drawback. Labour can and will again a referendum on any Brexit final result. And, if we get such a vote, I feel it’s inevitable that Labour will as soon as extra assist staying within the EU as a result of the concept we are able to safe a deal that can fulfill – moderately than impoverish – our voters, has lengthy since been uncovered as a fantasy.
“Those that nonetheless insist they need to go away may, if they want, marketing campaign alongside Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage in such a referendum. Jeremy himself may take a again seat within the marketing campaign, as Harold did in 1975. What issues now’s that Labour strikes with velocity to shut the hole that has opened up between celebration’s place on the one hand – and its members, voters and values on the opposite.
“If we do that within the subsequent few weeks we are able to nonetheless change the course of historical past. If we don’t, we danger changing into historical past ourselves.”