Unlike some on the so-called liberal left, Labour has never called for a new referendum or to overturn the result of the EU referendum.
But today, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell went a step further and clearly indicated what Labour’s position should be.
He told a meeting in central London that Labour “must not try to re-fight the referendum or push for a second vote”:
“It is time we were all more positive about Brexit, Labour wants to see an ambitious Brexit Britain”.
He also said that Labour would vote to trigger Article 50 if required.
Let’s be clear, if Labour opposes Brexit it will put the party “against the majority will of the British people and on the side of certain corporate elites” as McDonnell said.
He then added:
“To do so would put us against the majority will of the British people and on the side of certain corporate elites, who have always had the British people at the back of the queue.”
While Labour supported the Remain campaign to protect workers’ rights, free movement, it is also difficult to hide the fact the EU isn’t “heaven on earth” and that it stills put the interest of big corporations before its own citizens.
Of course, the “liberal left wing” will not accept Labour’s new position.
The party was accused of “capitulating” on Brexit, following McDonnell’s speech by Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas:
“Labour’s premature capitulation on Article 50 leaves those of us who oppose a hard brexit in a weaker position”.
While Labour MP David Lammy has called for Brexit to be stopped through a vote in Parliament. In statement published today, he said:
“Wake up. We don’t have to do this. We can stop this madness and bring this nightmare to an end through a vote in Parliament”.
Lammy and the rest of the “liberal left wing” would do well to follow McDonnell and accept the outcome of the EU referendum.
If fully considered, their position of not accepting the outcome of the EU referendum risk alienating the party in its heartland of the North of England, where the majority of people voted to leave the EU.
McDonnell is right; Labour must change its attitude towards Brexit.
But Labour must also influence the debate, which would mean that the PM Theresa May needs to come clean in front the parliament and explain once and for all what Brexit really means.
Undermining our democracy by refusing to accept the outcome of the referendum would be damaging for both the Labour Party and the country.
It isn’t “capitulation” to respect the verdict of the British people. So yes, it’s time that the “liberal left” understand that we are leaving the EU.