Time for Labour to champion a ‘No Brexit’ position
Wednesday 13 July 2017
Tempting as it is for Labour to let the Tories dangle on a noose of their own hubristic making (May appeals to Labour for policy ideas, 10 July), they should instead use Theresa May’s call for policy ideas as an impetus to sort out their own Brexit vulnerability. Promising to protect jobs while having managed migration was a successful election wheeze and minimised the flow of former Labour voters from Ukip to the Tories. However, as the full economic implications of leaving Europe become daily more grim, it’s time for Labour to move to a “no Brexit” position, while pursuing controls over EU migration. Finding cooperation for such a stance in other European countries should not be insurmountable. It’s not just UK citizens who are worried about this; a similar level of concern is found in Germany, France, the Netherlands and many other EU countries.
Labour could start by considering an ingenious proposal by the former minister for Europe, Denis MacShane, for a fair movement of workers directive, ensuring EU workers do not undercut wages. Also key is the recognition that under EU rules no state agency is obliged to hire foreign workers; there are provisions for an emergency brake if public services are being overwhelmed, and European citizens can be made to return home if they have not found work after three months. These could then be the building blocks of a kind of reformed EU which would eventually allow controls on the numbers coming from Europe and so render Brexit irrelevant.
East Twickenham, Middlesex