Tom Watson on Brexit: ‘Me go away Labour? It’s leaving me’ | Politics


Labour’s deputy chief, Tom Watson, has mentioned he believes his get together could be “leaving me” if it can’t absolutely endorse a second referendum, hours after giving a speech through which he mentioned it ought to be the get together of stay.

Watson informed the BBC that Labour “actually would possibly lose some votes” for backing a referendum, however would pay “a really excessive electoral worth” for not taking a transparent place on Brexit.

Requested if he could be ready to depart the get together and not using a clear change of route, he mentioned, “I’m by no means going to depart the Labour get together,” however then added: “Generally I wonder if the Labour get together is leaving me.”

Watson mentioned he had “little question” Labour’s place would change on the get together’s annual convention in September, however mentioned he feared “by then it is going to be too late”.

The deputy chief’s interview adopted a speech he gave at a pro-EU thinktank arguing that Labour wanted to make a greater case for continued EU membership – even at this late hour.

Watson’s intervention was instantly criticised by the get together chair Ian Lavery, a vociferous opponent of a second referendum. “Brexit has turned this nation right into a poisonous nation. Nevertheless, ignoring the 17.four million go away voters isn’t politically good nor certainly significantly democratic. Is it?” Lavery tweeted after Watson’s speech.

Watson mentioned that nobody ought to query his motivation in pushing for the change.

“It’s possible you’ll disagree with me essentially, and I respect that,” he mentioned. “I feel for the Labour get together, having knocked on doorways up and down the nation within the native and European elections, having spoken to many 1000’s of Labour voters, lots of whom are lifelong Labour get together members who informed me they have been voting for the events on the election due to the dearth of readability on our place.”

In his speech on the Centre for European Reform, Watson additionally took a veiled swipe at some Labour MPs and union officers, together with Unite’s normal secretary, Len McCluskey, who’ve cautioned towards a referendum, suggesting they’d not made the case for a way the EU had helped their cities and employees.

“For these on the left to fail to acknowledge that’s to rewrite historical past,” he mentioned.“It’s no ‘boss’s membership’, it’s each an engine of progress and a backstop towards regressive and repressive governments.”

He mentioned his get together wanted to grow to be the house for remainers after European election outcomes that had seen the get together squeezed by the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

“European is who we’re and who we’ve all the time been,” he mentioned. “Our members are stay. Our values are stay. Our hearts are stay. We’d like our Labour get together to be true to who we’re and be loud and proud in assist of Europe.”

Watson mentioned {that a} new public vote was the one choice now that parliament and the federal government had failed to interrupt the deadlock. “We put the query again to the folks as a result of parliament and authorities – as we attain the three-year mark – have proved totally incapable of implementing Brexit, and exhibits no extra signal of doing so now than ever,” he mentioned.

“The notion that it’s ultimately undemocratic to let the folks put an finish to this disaster as a result of, after three years, parliament and authorities can’t, is absurd. And if you’d like Brexit, and also you consider there’s nonetheless a majority for it within the UK, then a public vote will break the impasse and ship the Brexit you need.”

Watson steered the get together wanted to step up its campaigning for a public vote. “Now’s the time to talk out extra loudly than ever, earlier than any additional irreparable harm is completed,” he mentioned.

At a fractious assembly of Labour MPs final Monday, Jeremy Corbyn was urged to maneuver quicker to vary the get together’s coverage. Nevertheless, a particular assembly of Labour’s shadow cupboard attributable to happen to debate Brexit coverage on Monday was cancelled as a result of “quite a few colleagues [were] unable to attend”.



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