Dear friends and comrades
We are just 3 days away from Boris Johnson’s bad Brexit deal being voted on in parliament. While this government has pulled us back from the brink of a catastrophic No Deal outcome, we must be under no illusions. Johnson’s Brexit deal will damage our economy and leave us all poorer during the worst recession in 300 years. The government will get its deal through the Commons – I have no doubt about that – but it should not be endorsed by anyone who believes Boris Johnson’s Brexit is bad for Britain.
We should hold this government, and this government alone, responsible for this terrible deal. Opposition MPs must refuse to endorse it and lay the blame squarely at the door of this government.
This so-called free trade agreement in the history of free trade agreements is the only free trade agreement that actually erect barriers to trade. We in the Labour Party should not get our hands soiled by walking in the voting lobby alongside Boris Johnson he has negotiated this insanity which will leave us all worse off.
The purpose of a Free Trade deal is to remove barriers to trading across frontiers. Having read this EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement I can say with some degree of certainty that this is not a free trade deal it is not even a Canada Style deal which the Prime Minister articulates. The deal is a regressive agreement because imposes barriers to Trading across frontiers. It imposes extra bureaucracy for businesses to adhere to. That means extra costs of doing business and that will mean lost jobs and reduced profits. When companies are having their profit margins hit by the extra bureaucracy they will take the view that it will be far easier to conduct their business from within the EU than from within the UK.
Whilst it’s welcome that there are no tariffs on exported or imported goods the extra cost imposed on businesses by the extra bureaucracy will make the fact that there are no tariffs rather meaningless.
That is why I am calling on you to refuse to endorse the deal by abstaining. should you on examination of the agreement decide to vote with the government I won’t hold it against you after all we are all Labour and you must do what you think is right according to the dictates of you own conscience and I do believe that this matter is a conscience decision.All I would ask is after careful consideration you do what you think is right.
Arise, Sir Keir Starmer
I am sorry but you are entirely wrong to back the Brexit deal . There are no advantages to Labour in doing so and you will be a hostage to Johnson’s gibes for the future. This is not a good deal it is not even an acceptable deal it goes nowhere near meeting the 6 tests you set out. It is not up to the Labour Party to make sure Johnson doesn’t end up with no deal by default. He has to sort that one out for himself.
Many of the Labour voters in the Red wall seats did not vote in 2019 turnout was relatively low . Proper analysis of the figures shows many of the former Labour voters in those seats started voting UKIP or Tory years ago. You have bought in to the Southern /Westminster narrative about the 2019 election. Many who did not vote couldn’t vote for you predecessor .
Unforgivably, you are taking most Labour members who voted remain for granted and assuming you can count on our support. That is a big assumption. You are now following a path likely to alienate many Remainers as well as not winning over leavers. Why would they choose to leave Johnson and Co? They are not going to vote for the imitation when they can have the real thing.
Labour is about to become completely irrelevant if you are foolish enough to vote for this deal.
I am as furious as I am sure you are to find that Boris Johnson’s Brexit bears no resemblance to what was promised. It is a bad deal for Britain that will cause economic and social harm to our country.
The Government has run down the clock on negotiations with foolish negotiating tactics, leaving MPs with a very difficult decision when it comes to the upcoming vote on the deal. But this is not a vote between deal or no deal – there are three ways to use your vote. It is clear that the government will get its deal through the Commons – there is no doubt about that – but it should not be given a ringing endorsement by anyone who believes Boris Johnson’s Brexit is bad for Britain.
It is in the national interest that Boris Johnson’s Government takes full responsibility for this bad deal, and that Labour is not seen to endorse this moment of national self-harm. Any sense of opposition parties taking joint ownership of this deal will make it more difficult to hold this government to account for the damage it will cause.
Abstaining on a matter of such great national importance may be difficult to do. But it is an honest position, which recognises the impossibility of rubber-stamping this bad Brexit, and of risking a harmful no-deal outcome.
That is why I am writing to you today to ask: will you abstain on this bad Brexit deal?
With thanks to James Chespy, Ellin Stein, Moez Adamjee and Catherine Reynolds for these.