Labour’s Brexit Position Ignores Momentum’s Consultation — Do we not believe in grassroots democracy anymore?

Fellow members of Momentum Westminster, I have a problem. And I think it’s a problem that I share with others.

I took part in the Momentum Brexit consultation, like many others. I am a practical remain voter — I don’t believe in deep EU political integration, but I do believe that we cannot undo 40 years of gradual integration and alignment in two year (or, even less believably, six months). I also do not believe there is any chance that the Conservative Party will vote itself out of government. That said, I voted to prioritise a General Election, for a public vote to remain in the EU, and to adhere to Labour’s six tests. These were all majority opinions of the members who voted in the consultation.

The stated position of the Labour Party, through our leader Jeremy Corbin, is now proceeding in the exact opposite direction of the consultation’s results. We have abandoned the six tests (voted for by 92% of the voters in the consultation). There is no mention of a public vote to remain (voted for, after a general election is ruled out, by 81% of the voters in the consultation). What is Momentum — formerly the Jeremy Corbin for Leader campaign and now in the heart of the Labour Party — doing to serve the democratic will of it’s membership? Should this allow to continue, it is an abrogation of responsibility of the leadership, as well as an abandonment of the principles of democracy itself.

Those in charge cannot recast the results of the consultation as they like. Nor should they be able to ignore them. Grassroots democratic values are supposedly at the heart of Momentum — so why have we ended up without a public vote and abandoning the six tests, when they were voted for by a majority of consulted members?

Kind regards,

Travis Mooney
Former Elected Member of the EC for North Westminster Labour

****** Background

In the consultation, there were six questions, as you may recall. Here they are, with the results (check for yourself here: https://peoplesmomentum.com/181106-final-brexit-consultation-report-for-website/):

Question 1 of 6 – Do you think Brexit is more likely to make things better or worse for your friends, family and community?

7% Brexit will make things better
82% Brexit will make things worse
4% No change
7% Don’t know

Question 2 of 6 – Do you agree with the motion passed at Conference that if the Government’s deal does not meet Labour’s tests, all Labour MPs should vote against it?

(Labour’s tests say Brexit must: deliver for all nations and regions of the UK; defend rights and protections and prevent a race to the bottom; deliver the exact same benefits as the single market and customs union; protect our security; ensure fair management of migration; and ensure a strong and collaborative future relationship).

92% Yes – all Labour MPs should vote against any deal which does not meet Labour’s tests
6% No – Labour MPs should be free to vote for the deal
2% Don’t know

Question 3 of 6 – Do you agree with the motion passed at Conference that a no-deal Brexit should be rejected as a viable option?

89% Agree – no deal is not viable and must be rejected
8% Disagree – no deal is viable and an acceptable outcome
3% Don’t know

Question 4 of 6 – Assuming that Tory Brexit is voted down in Parliament, the Labour Party has said that as a first priority, there should be a General Election – so that the public can judge whether to support the Government’s plan for Brexit. Do you agree that all Labour MPs should vote to maximise the possibility of a General Election?

92% Agree – all Labour MPs should prioritise maximising the possibility of a GE
5% Oppose – Labour MPs should have a free vote
3% Don’t know

Question 5 of 6 – In the event that there is no General Election, Conference has said that Labour must support all options remaining on the table including campaigning for a public vote. Do you support a public vote and, if so, in which circumstances?

28% I support a public vote remaining on the table as an option if there is no general election
12% I support committing now to a public vote but only if there is no general election
41% I support committing now to a public vote in all circumstances
17% I do not support a public vote
2% Don’t know

Question 6 of 6 – With less than 6 months to go before the date upon which the UK is to leave the EU, the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK, and UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU, remain uncertain. Will you add your name to this statement from Momentum making clear that you believe this situation is unacceptable and should be addressed as a matter of urgency?

“Protecting the rights of both those British citizens who live in the EU and EU citizens who live in the UK – our family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and workers in public services upon which people across the UK rely – should be a priority for the UK Government. This should be achieved by jointly committing with the EU to implement the citizens’ rights part of the draft Withdrawal Agreement: unilateral assurances by all sides are not sufficient to secure their rights.

“As members of the Labour Party committed to justice and human rights, we stand in solidarity with those EU citizens in the UK who are now facing uncertainty about their futures. We regret that the UK Government has not been able to resolve this issue before now and call upon it do so immediately as a matter of urgency”.

97% Yes – I support this statement
3% No – I do not support this statement

Somehow, these results were interpreted by Momentum’s team as:

92% of members want all Labour MPs to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal (true)
89% believe a no-deal Brexit should be rejected as a viable option (true)
82% believe Brexit is likely to make things worse for their friends, family and community. (True)
While 41% of members support a public vote in all circumstances a total of 57% either prioritise a General Election over a public vote or do not want any public vote (Totally Misleading, especially considering the failed vote of no confidence in the government — 81% of voters favour a public vote if no general election is forthcoming)
97% of respondents signed a petition calling on Theresa May to immediately end the uncertainty around the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK, and UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU. (True)