Template Letter to Brexit-Supporting Labour MPs:
Dear Jo Platt, Caroline Flint, Jim Fitzpatrick, Kevin Barron, Stephen Hepburn, John Mann, Laura Smith, Tacy Babin, Judith Cummins, Jim McMahon, Melanie Onn, Ruth Smeeth, Gareth Snell, Graham Stringer, Yvonne Fovargue, Lindsay Hoyle, Kate Hoey, Dennis Skinner, Stephanie Peacock, David Crausby, Yasmin Qureshi, Ian Mearns, Jon Trickett, Emma Lewell-Buck Ian Lavery, Lisa Nandy, Roger Godsiff, Julie Cooper, Grahame Morris, Derek Twigg,
What is the real reason you resist a new public vote on Mrs May’s Brexit deal? Why do you insist on wanting to harm the British people by quitting the EU?
You all know perfectly well that in your constituencies – and across the country – voters have changed their minds. The polls show the biggest swings toward supporting a public vote and remaining in the EU are in constituencies that were most pro-Brexit in 2016. Overall, UK voters now want a new public vote by a margin of two to one. That’s 22 million of the 33 million who voted in 2016.
You all know perfectly well that a new referendum is no less democratic than the previous one. You voted for the first one. And only a couple of months ago you voted for a Brexit plebiscite - a General Election. You changed your minds and want voters to listen to you. But you refuse to listen when voters change their minds.
You all know perfectly well that the Leave campaigns corrupted the first public vote with dirty tricks and dirty money. Had this been an election in some faraway country, you would call for a re-run with tighter controls to ensure a clean and fair election. Wouldn’t you? So why not a clean and fair new public vote in your own country?
You all know perfectly well that you didn’t betray the 2016 referendum: you all voted to trigger Article 50 and send Mrs May on her miserable way. If anyone betrayed that referendum, it was her - her useless deal breaks promises made in 2016 left, right and centre.
You all know perfectly well that referendums are not the best way to address complex questions. But in 2015 you voted for one anyway. Yet now, you don’t want a new one where the question can be precise.
You all know perfectly well that the EU has started a process of reform that addresses the causes of Brexit. Only a couple of days ago French President Emmanuel Macron called for “strict border controls”, for “the same pay in the same workplace” and for “a minimum European wage appropriate to each country and discussed collectively every year”.
If you know all this and still resist a new public vote, then I can only think there has to be some anxiety in the back of your minds that is driving you all perilously close to the Brextremists.
I suggest your resistance arises from concerns about civil disorder. Some politicians are fearful of this and remember Jo Cox. But few have spelt out how to forestall it. You could – and should – lead the way on this. The Jo Cox Foundation has shown one way. What more can be done? How can Labour and its friends work to build the bridges we need so as to neutralise the men of violence?
There are, of course, violent extremists in this country. We had this problem during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Attempts were made on politicians’ lives (Airey Neave and Margaret Thatcher come to mind).
Did any MP respond by saying: “Oh, this is terrible. We need to cave in to the extremists’ demands”? Of course not. Instead, UK politicians like John Major and Tony Blair redoubled their efforts to address some of the causes of violence, such as the closed border.
Should you not redouble your own efforts to address the causes of Brexit? Who precisely do you think would thank you for hard times post-Brexit? Only the men of violence and maybe some hedge fund managers. No-one else.
Mrs May wants over 200 MPs to change their minds and back her. The fact is that millions of voters have indeed changed their minds. Yet you are made deaf to that by fear.