The independent London newspaper

What next after a betrayal on a manifesto commitment?

21 March, 2019

• SADLY the Labour Party leadership has found itself supporting a second referendum.

A series of options agreed at the last annual conference included the acceptance of Labour’s five red lines.

This was such a pathetic process, inevitably leading to a second referendum because the other options would never be accepted by parliament.

This decision is such an appalling betrayal of the commitment in the last election manifesto, that Labour would honour the result of the referendum.

To change Labour policy on this required a ballot of all members. Labour leaders should hope that a second referendum is not held.

And now they’ve said they will back a vote in parliament for a second referendum if one of the points on the ballot paper is the government’s deal with the EU. This is before they’ve said what the aim of the referendum would be.

Is it to give people a vote to remain. Or having decided to leave, should it be to choose between the PM’s deal or no deal.

They need to say what else should be on the ballot paper. And which of the options on the ballot paper would Labour support in the campaign?

It has been suggested that a second referendum would start a healing process. On the contrary, as soon as the discussion on the wording on the ballot paper begins, there will be a huge destructive battle between remainers and the rest, and that will extend to the franchise, who will be entitled to vote, etc.

The battle, the uncertainty will take place over at least a year. The 2016 ballot took a year from first reading of the bill to polling day. Remember it will all be happening on the back of a betrayal.

And all this before we get anywhere near the day of the ballot. And whatever the result of the referendum the Labour Party will get the blame, and 50 per cent of the electorate will be dissatisfied and the battle over the EU will continue.

The problem is agreeing a deal, which will still be with us if we hold another referendum. So let’s agree a deal and move on.

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