Jeremy Corbyn has been calling for a general election for years. Yet he now can’t decide if he wants a general election or not. All we can be sure about is that Labour are only offering more talk, more delay and more indecision on Brexit.
Labour’s manifesto pledged to respect the referendum result. They promised to respect the people’s decision and put the country first.
Now, Labour are refusing to get us out of the EU by October 31st. Labour’s Brexit policy is to attempt to negotiate a new deal, put it to their membership in a private vote, then put it to the public in a vote where they would campaign for remain.
Labour are refusing to leave the European Union. They are refusing to hold a general election. And they are refusing to negotiate with the EU in good faith, pledging to campaign against any deal before even negotiating one.
Only Boris Johnson and the Conservatives can get the best Brexit deal that will keep our economy strong, bring the change that people voted for, and let the country move beyond Brexit.
- Labour voted to stop us leaving the European Union. (Hansard, European Union (Withdrawal), Division 439,3 September 2019, link).
- Labour refused to back a General Election. When the Division was called for an early Parliamentary Election, Labour sat on their hands and abstained on the vote for a General Election for which they have spent the last two years calling (Hansard, 4 September 2019, Division 443, link).
- Corbyn repeated to the House – ‘let this Bill pass and gain Royal Assent, and then we will back an election’. ‘I repeat what I said last night. Let this Bill pass and gain Royal Assent, and then we will back an election’ (Hansard, 4 September 2019, vol. 664, Col. 293, link).
- Keir Starmer said Labour would not back an election until after Article 50 had been extended. ‘Having got control from Boris Johnson last night we are not going to hand it back to him in what is very obviously a trap. [Johnson] says: “Of course I’ll have a general election on 15 October, nothing to worry about” but no one in parliament trusts this man. We are not going to dance to Boris Johnson’s tune. What we want to ensure is we’ve got the insurance policy of taking no deal off the table and we will have a general election on our terms, not Boris Johnson’s terms’ (The Guardian, 4 September 2019, link).
- John McDonnell said Labour was ‘consulting’ with legal experts on how to avoid the proposed General Election. ‘Exactly, so he can bring the one-line bill with a simple majority. Is there a way therefore that we can amend that to determine the date of the election? And that's what we're consulting on, both legal and constitutional experts; but also the other opposition parties and the Parliamentary Labour Party, and people have got different views on this.’(BBC Radio Four, Today programme – Interview with John McDonnell, 5 September 2019, archived).
- Keir Starmer said Labour would not support an election until blocking no deal was ‘complete’. Keir Starmer said: ‘we want a general election but we are not dancing to his tune, we will not be deflected from the task at hand, we will complete the job of ensuring the country against a no deal Brexit’ (ITV News, Keir Starmer Interview, archived).
- Labour MPs have called for article 50 to be revoked:
- Jeremy Corbyn has failed to rule out revoking Article 50. Corbyn refused to outline whether he would support revocation, only stating that the question was ‘hypothetical’ (The Independent, 21 March 2019, link).
- Six Labour MPs supported amendments to revoke Article 50. The amendments tabled by Angus MacNeil, which called for the Government to revoke Article 50, was signed by Jo Stevens, Anna McMorrin, Hugh Gaffney, Keith Vaz, Ged Killen and Barry Sheerman (House of Commons, Order Paper, 12 March 2019, link; House of Commons, Order Paper, 13 March 2019, link; House of Commons, Order Paper, 14 March 2019, link).
- Sadiq Khan called for Article 50 to be taken off the table to ‘stop the clock’ and allow more time. He said: ‘Today, I'm calling on Theresa May to withdraw Article 50 if the British Parliament rejects her deal next week’ (The Evening Standard, 6 December 2018, link).
- Thornberry said any Labour Brexit policy would have to be put to Labour’s half a million members – again. Thornberry said: ‘now the next question therefore is, what's the deal that you're going to put on the table? […] that’s a decision that we have to make when we draft the manifesto but because we're a big old democratic party of half a million members we have to consult our members before we come to a final decision on that’ (Sky News, Emily Thornberry, 4 September 2019, archived).
- At last year’s conference, Labour members submitted 272 motions, with 151 of them being Brexit-related motions. ‘A total of 151 Brexit-related motions have been submitted by local Labour parties, with dozens asking the party’s annual conference to back either a general election or a fresh public vote on the final Brexit deal […] The document of 272 motions, seen by The Independent, shows that 55 per cent of them relate to Labour's position on Brexit’ (The Independent, 16 September 2018, link).
- Labour members passed a Brexit compromise motion, which Labour leadership refused to back.
- Labour members passed a Brexit compromise motion. ‘The Brexit composite motion has been passed overwhelmingly on a show of hands. Only a handful of people voted against’ (The Guardian, 25 September 2018, link).
- The motion called for ‘all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote’. The motion stated: ‘conference believes we need a relationship with the EU that guarantees full participation in the Single Market […] If we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote.’ (Labour List, 26 September 2018, link).
- Despite this Labour leadership still couldn’t agree on a Brexit policy. ‘Senior Labour figures have refused to rule out a so-called “people’s vote”, or second referendum, and insist repeatedly that it is a “possibility” rather than a priority’ (The Financial Times, 24 September 2018, link).
- Richard Burgon said Labour would take their ‘deal’ to the EU. Richard Burgon said: ‘I think we will win the next general election, whenever it will be. When we win that general election, of course we will talk to our partners in the European Union. If a better deal is offered, or any deal, we will put that to the public, with remain and that better deal’ (BBC News, Interview with Richard Burgon, 3 September 2019, archived).
- Labour would campaign as a ‘second referendum party’. Thornberry said Labour would be ‘going in as a second referendum party, so we will have a second referendum and we will say to the public that it's been many years since you were asked last now that we have some sort of deal which is viable’ (Sky News, Emily Thornberry, 4 September 2019, archived).
- Thornberry said Labour would have a second referendum ‘whatever’ happens. ‘So we have as an agreement that whatever...that before we leave the EU we will go back to the British public and ask them’ (Sky News, Emily Thornberry, 4 September 2019, archived).
- Richard Burgon said Labour would put their ‘deal’ or ‘any deal’ to the people. Richard Burgon said: ‘I think we will win the next general election, whenever it will be. When we win that general election, of course we will talk to our partners in the European Union. If a better deal is offered, or any deal, we will put that to the public, with remain and that better deal’ (BBC News, Interview with Richard Burgon, 3 September 2019, archived).
- In August 2019, Diane Abbott said that she would vote against a Labour Brexit deal in a second referendum in favour of remain. Diane Abbott: ‘We are of course, the party is committed to the referendum and Jeremy has made that clear, and if there is a referendum, and if remain is on the ballot paper and there is every expectation it will be, I like John McDonnell, personally will be campaigning for remain. Studio: Even against a Labour deal? Diane Abbott: ‘I will be campaigning for remain, I think that remain is the best option for the country and for my constituents’ (Radio 4, Today Programme, 20 August 2019, archived).
- John McDonnell said that he and Jeremy Corbyn would vote and campaign for Remain. ‘If there’s a referendum tomorrow I will vote remain, I will campaign for remain, Jeremy will campaign for remain, Labour will campaign for remain’ (Holyrood, 6 August 2019, link).
- Jeremy Corbyn promised to respect the country’s decision to leave, but is now supports re-running the referendum which would take us all back to square one:
- Labour’s manifesto pledged to respect the referendum result. ‘Labour accepts the referendum result and a Labour government will put the national interest first’ (Labour Manifesto, May 2017, link).
- Labour have pledged to back a second referendum and would campaign to Remain. ‘A public vote on any Brexit deal. Labour will campaign to Remain against No Deal or a bad Tory deal’ (Labour Press, 26 July 2019, link).