May lost the vote, Labour lost its integrity

May lost the vote, Labour lost its integrity

by Jonathan Stanley
article from Wednesday 16, January, 2019

THIS is taken from Labour’s 2017 manifesto on Brexit.  

Labour accepts the referendum result and a Labour government will put the national interest first.

We will prioritise jobs and living standards, build a close new relationship with the EU, protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, provide certainty to EU nationals and give a meaningful role to Parliament throughout negotiations.

We will end Theresa May’s reckless approach to Brexit, and seek to unite the country around a Brexit deal that works for every community in Britain.

The past 24 hours have been incredible from Labour’s perspective. I have gone through the manifesto in full and commented below on the relationship between Labour’s position and May’s rejected deal. 

We will scrap the Conservatives’ Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union – which are essential for maintaining industries, jobs and businesses in Britain.

The Customs Union IS the Single Market in goods. May’s deal had in effect a UK veto on the EU ending this by requiring both sides to end it. The Single Market is the Four Freedoms of the EU: Goods, Services, People and Capital. They are inseparable.

A Labour government will immediately guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals living in Britain and secure reciprocal rights for UK citizens who have chosen to make their lives in EU countries. EU nationals do not just contribute to our society: they are part of our society. And they should not be used as bargaining chips.

This has been largely done. Spain, France and Austria are all on record saying they will protect UK citizens there. Our country has said it will honour commitments to EU residents here.

It is shameful that the Prime Minister rejected repeated attempts by Labour to resolve this issue before Article 50 was triggered. As a result three million EU nationals have suffered unnecessary uncertainty, as have the 1.2 million UK citizens living in the EU.

This is meaningless now it has been agreed.

A Conservative Brexit will weaken workers’ rights, deregulate the economy, slash corporate taxes, sideline Parliament and democratic accountability, and cut Britain off from our closest allies and most important trading partners.

Parliament has never had more oversight into negotiating a treaty. Corporation tax is reserved to EU member states, has been falling in the UK and independent of Brexit.

Labour recognises that leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ is the worst possible deal for Britain and that it would do damage to our economy and trade. We will reject ‘no deal’ as a viable option and, if needs be, negotiate transitional arrangements to avoid a ‘cliff-edge’ for the UK economy.

A transition was agreed with the EU. Labour just rejected it.

The issues that affect our continent now will continue to do so in the future – and Labour will continue to work constructively with the EU and other European nations on issues such as climate change, refugee crises and counter-terrorism. We will build a close co-operative future relationship with the EU, not as members but as partners.

This is padding, nothing detailed here. We can safely move on.

A Labour government will ensure that the UK maintains our leading research role by seeking to stay part of Horizon 2020 and its successor programmes and by welcoming research staff to the UK. We will seek to maintain membership of (or equivalent relationships with) European organisations which offer benefits to the UK such as Euratom and the European Medicines Agency. We will seek to ensure that Britain remains part of the Erasmus scheme so that British students have the same educational opportunities after we leave the EU.

Horizon 2020 expires in….2020. New schemes need negotiating anyway. MHRA can take on EMA functions very quickly and has wave through all EMA approvals as it sees fit. It could also wave through FDA approvals, making some drugs come to market faster than now. Euratom is an issue, one that the UK should consider rowing back on. It works, don’t fix it.

The EU is the UK’s single largest trading partner in agricultural produce, with the vast majority of British exports being sold to European markets. A Labour government will end the uncertainty for our farmers and food producers by securing continued EU market access allowing British farmers and food producers to continue to sell their products on the Continent. Labour will also protect our farmers and rural economy by ensuring Britain continues to set the highest standards in food quality and welfare. We will not allow Brexit to be used as an excuse to undercut our farmers and flood Britain’s food chain with cheap and inferior produce.

The deal definitely achieved this.

We will drop the Conservatives’ Great Repeal Bill, replacing it with an EU Rights and Protections Bill that will ensure there is no detrimental change to workers’ rights, equality law, consumer rights or environmental protections as a result of Brexit.

The deal confirmed all current EU directives on worker’s rights would be carried over into UK law. Many UK laws provider for superior workers’ rights such as maternity leave and the minimum wage.

Throughout the Brexit process, we will make sure that all EU-derived laws that are of benefit – including workplace laws, consumer rights and environmental protections – are fully protected without qualifications, limitations or sunset clauses. We will work with trade unions, businesses and stakeholders to ensure there is a consensus on this vital issues. A Labour approach to Brexit will ensure there can be no rolling back of key rights and protections and that the UK does not lag behind Europe in workplace protections and environmental standards in future.

The EU has had a huge impact in securing workplace protections and environmental safeguards. But we all know that for many Brexiteers in the Tory Party, this was why they wanted to Leave – to tear up regulations and weaken hard-fought rights and protections.

The deal achieved this.

We will introduce legislation to ensure there are no gaps in national security and criminal justice arrangements as a result of Brexit. Labour recognises the vital role that cross-border agencies such as Eurojust and Europol have played in making Britain safer and that European Arrest Warrants have been invaluable. A Labour government will seek to retain membership of these agencies and continue European Arrest Warrant arrangements.

The deal did this, specifying our role in EU judicial procedures such as the Arrest Warrant and Europol

Labour will seek a Brexit deal that delivers for all regions and nations of the UK. We will introduce a ‘presumption of devolution’ where devolved powers transferred from the EU will go straight to the relevant region or nation. For many people and for much of our country, power can feel just as remote and unaccountable in Westminster as it does in Brussels. So a Labour government will seek to put powers as close to communities as possible.

The Scotland Act has this already. A reserved powers model can be introduced independent of Brexit.

We will ensure there is no drop in EU Structural Funding as a result of Brexit until the end of the current EU funding round in 2019/20. As part of Labour’s plans to rebalance and rebuild the economy, we will ensure that no region or nation of the UK is affected by the withdrawal of EU funding for the remainder of this Parliament. This will also apply to the funding of peace and reconciliation projects in Northern Ireland.

This is a domestic budgetary issue and does not need a deal with the EU.

We will also improve engagement and dialogue with the devolved administrations and seek to ensure the final Brexit deal addresses specific concerns. In particular, Labour will ensure there is no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and that there is no change in the status or sovereignty of Gibraltar. We will also protect Gibraltar’s economy and ensure that its government can continue to create jobs and prosperity in the years to come.

The Irish hard border has been reported to death and delirium. It is not required. Dublin and Brussels confirm this.

Where Theresa May wants to shut down scrutiny and challenge, Labour will welcome it. We will work with Parliament, not against it. On an issue of this importance, the Government can’t hide from the public or Parliament.

Parliament was given a binding vote on the Brexit deal. Labour rejected it.

Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union. Britain’s immigration system will change, but Labour will not scapegoat migrants nor blame them for economic failures.

This directly contradicts Labour’s policy on retaining the Single Market which forbids this.

Labour will develop and implement fair immigration rules. We will not discriminate between people of different races or creeds. We will end indefinite detentions and distinguish between migrant labour and family attachment and will continue to support the work of the Forced Marriage Unit. We will replace income thresholds with a prohibition on recourse to public funds. New rules will be equally informed by negotiations with the EU and other partners, including the Commonwealth.

This directly contradicts Labour’s policy on retaining the Single Market which forbids this.

Whatever our trade arrangements, we will need new migration management systems, transparent and fair to everybody. Working with businesses, trade unions, devolved governments and others to identify specific labour and skill shortages.

This directly contradicts Labour’s policy on retaining the Single Market which forbids this. As Official Opposition with Short funding they should have this policy drafted by now.

Working together we will institute a new system which is based on our economic needs, balancing controls and existing entitlements. This may include employer sponsorship, work permits, visa regulations or a tailored mix of all these which works for the many, not the few.

This directly contradicts Labour’s policy on retaining the Single Market which forbids this.

Labour will protect those already working here, whatever their ethnicity. Our National Education Service will raise the level of skills and training. We will take decisive action to end the exploitation of migrant labour undercutting workers’ pay and conditions.

Independent of Brexit and ethnic discrimination is illegal already.

Labour will crack down on unscrupulous employers. We will stop overseas-only recruitment practices, strengthen safety-at- work inspections and increase prosecutions of employers evading the minimum wage.

This directly contradicts Labour’s policy on retaining the Single Market which forbids this.

 Such an extensive list is not challenged for the sake of it. Integrity matters. I have spent months reading the Withdrawal Agreement and prior policy statements from the Government and though I reject the Withdrawal Agreement I can find nothing in it that Labour would change. A temporary customs union lends itself to a permanent one. That’s why Brexiteers don’t want it!

Article 19 of the Political Declaration attached to the WA reminds both parties to seek a new trade deal to terminate the backstop clause no one seems to like even if they think it’s needed.

If Labour really believes a clean Brexit on WTO terms is harmful then why has it shot down a Withdrawal Agreement that not only prevented it but also without exception entirely consistent with Labour policy?

Either Labour lied in its manifesto, or its leaders are lying about the dangers of a clean Brexit – or worse they are prepared to bring it on if that means the prize of power. They would rather plunge their voters into poverty (in their eyes) if it meant governing them. That is disgusting. It holds members and voters in derision and makes its obsession with power even more disturbing than the SNP’s. At no point has the SNP made this move, rejecting a compromise just because they didn’t author it alone.

Even though they carped over the Smith commission they did sign it off. Alongside Corbyn and co they look like statesmen by comparison! Yesterday’s vote was not about Brexit. It was about integrity. They were the only ones who did not vote for what they believed in over and above their belief in an entitlement to power at any cost. 

That blinkered view is shared by many in the EU. Another reason why we are leaving it.

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