Responding to comments by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell this morning, a series of delegates and Labour members who were in the room as the composite motion was being discussed have spoken out. All of them have emphasised that the motion they wrote not only opens the door to Labour backing a People’s Vote but also that they were determined to keep the option of staying in the EU.
Labour Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer who helped draw up the composite has told Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor, that the decision was definitely not to take anything off the table - and a vote to remain may well have to be one of the options. He subsequently told reporters that: “The meeting last night was very clear that the question of a public vote should be open. We weren't ruling out options and nobody was ruling out remain. There were 300 people in the room and that was absolutely clear.”
Andrew Lewin, CLP delegate for Brentford and Isleworth and founder of Remain Labour, said:
“The motion we agreed calls on Labour to, ‘back a relationship with the EU that guarantees full participation in the single market’. That is a significant step forward. It commits the party to backing EEA membership as an absolute minimum. Moreover, we deleted a line which said that any public vote would be, ‘on the terms of Brexit’. In short, we explicitly rejected the idea that any future referendum could be between two different types of Brexit. We have a motion that effectively rejects the idea of a referendum solely on different forms of Brexit and increases the chances of a Peoples Vote.”
Laura Vogel, CLP delegate for Bromley and Chislehurst said:
“It was clear last night that we were voting as delegates to keep all options on the table, including the option to stay in the EU. That's what we understood from Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary for Brexit, so today’s comments from John McDonnell are puzzling.”
Izzy Lenga, CLP delegate for Chipping Barnet and member of the group FFS, said:
“I was in the room as Labour's motion on Brexit was being discussed and debated. It was quite clear that a People's Vote is being kept on the table as an option, and that any such vote could include an option to stay in the EU. To suggest that any People's Vote would be limited to a disastrous choice between different bad Brexits is not an accurate reflection of the motion that was agreed by Labour delegates.”