Unite the Union’s Policy Conference has adopted a statement on Brexit which contains an explicit commitment to consider supporting a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.
Unite’s statement says:
… it remains highly unlikely that the final EU-UK Brexit deal due to come to parliament in the autumn 2018 will satisfy the criteria that Unite and the wider labour movement, including the Labour front bench with its six tests which must be met, have set.
At such a moment Unite will mobilise against the deal. Our priority will be to force an early general election which can lead to the election of a Labour government which would, among other things, reach a better deal with the European Union and improved relations with Europe all round. We are also open to the possibility of a popular vote being held on any deal, depending on political circumstances. Within these principles, the Executive Council has authority to respond as it thinks best to a fast-changing political situation.
The decision comes after a YouGov poll of Unite members commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign showed they:
- Support a People’s vote on the final Brexit deal by a margin of 57 to 34 per cent (even 24 per cent of those who voted Leave agree with this demand).
- Prefer prioritising free trade with the EU to limiting immigration by a margin of more than two to one – 61 to 30 per cent.
- Believe Britain will be worse off outside the Single Market by a margin of 58 to 21 per cent.
- Think that they and their family will suffer if Britain leaves the Single Market – with just 14 per cent believing they be better off.
- Say leaving the Single Market will be bad for jobs by a margin of 57 to 18
- Know Brexit is being botched – with just 1 per cent saying the process is going very well
Commenting, a spokesperson for the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“This is a significant victory for advocates of a People’s Vote and underlines the shift in opinion across the wider Labour Movement.
“The three biggest unions – Unite, GMB and Unison – are now unequivocally opposed to the Government’s drive towards a hard Brexit and Unite, as the biggest affiliate to Labour, have left door open to the option of supporting a People’s Vote.
“The direction of travel is clear, but time is short. It will be essential for the Labour Movement to mobilise quickly if the Government attempts to force their bad deal or even a no deal Brexit on the country. Support for a People’s Vote is the way to build a mass movement to oppose such a catastrophic outcome for working people.”