Left unites to prepare for referendum as Labour faces crunch decision week

24th June 2019
labour conference

Remain Reform Revolt: left unites to prepare for referendum as Labour faces crunch decision week

  • “Remain campaign starts now”, say campaigners, rejecting the “disaster” establishment campaign in previous referendum
  • Campaign will see renewed doorstep campaigning and events across the country with leading figures including MPs Caroline Lucas and Clive Lewis, journalist Paul Mason and economist Ann Pettifor
  • Key allies urge Labour leadership to back the campaign

Left-wing group Another Europe is Possible is launching a new campaign – Remain Reform Revolt – aiming to kickstart the Remain campaign in any future public vote. The campaign is aimed at winning over the public with a radical message in advance of a referendum.

The move comes as Labour faces a crunch week for its Brexit policy, with Jeremy Corbyn meeting union leaders today (Monday 24th June) and expected to make a public statement later in the week. Key allies have urged the Labour leader to back the campaign (quote below).

Remain Reform Revolt will begin over the summer, with a renewed push to get active on the doorstep and on high streets, convincing voters to oppose Brexit. A nationwide series of events, will kick off in Nottingham on July 12thNottingham, followed by London on 13th July, Birmingham on 24th July and Leeds on 27th July. Many more meetings are expected as the campaign gathers pace.

Speakers and supporters of the campaign include journalists Paul Mason and Zoe Williams, MPs including the Greens’ Caroline Lucas and Labour’s Clive Lewis, union leaders such as Manuel Cortes, and grassroots speakers including migrant workers, NHS staff and trade unionists.

Campaigners are concerned that the leadership of the anti-Brexit campaign should not be dominated by establishment politicians and figures from big business, as it was in the 2016 campaign. Another Europe is Possible will directly link the campaign to stay in the EU to a radical vision for Britain.

“Only a message of hope and solidarity can beat Brexit,” the campaign websitereads. “The campaign against Brexit has become a mass movement. But unless we have a radical vision for Britain, we will lose another referendum. We need jobs and homes for all, more rights for workers and unions, and a plan to give people control over their own lives. We want to kick out the establishment and fight together for an economy that works for everyone.”

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, said:
“There can be no more equivocation, no more hesitation. We need to prepare to fight Boris Johnson the moment he gets into Downing Street, and win millions of people over to a vision of staying in Europe and building a greener, more equal Britain in which no one is left behind. Only a radical message that offers hope to people can beat Brexit, and the left must unite to deliver it. I invite everyone – from Jeremy Corbyn to climate strikers to community activists and union shop stewards – to join us in this campaign.”

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
“This summer, we’re going to start the Remain campaign with Remain Reform Revolt. Now is our chance to stop Brexit and transform Britain instead. By fighting together, we can win decent homes and jobs for everyone. We can replace racism and division with compassion and unity. Only a message of hope and solidarity can beat Brexit – more of the same won’t cut it.”

Laura Parker, who ran for Labour in the recent European elections, said:
“The 2016 main referendum campaign was a disaster – fronted by rich white men in suits pushing political messages which completely alienated many of the voters we needed to win over. We can only win a public vote  by tying the case against Brexit into a radical programme to bring up wages and living standards. That’s a message that can only be delivered by a united, insurgent left – and we, the left, need to get serious about preparing for a campaign.”

Nadia Whittome, a left wing anti-Brexit activist based in Nottingham and a member of Another Europe is Possible’s national committee, said:
“On the ground, the tide has turned against Brexit. Lots of people who were once on the fence are now coming out for a public vote and Remain. Most just want this moment to end, and they understand that if Brexit goes ahead, it might never end. But for now, this sentiment hasn’t had a clear plan.  This campaign is about trying to kickstart the creation of the left campaign – one which talks about class politics and people’s lives, not just abstract economics.”