Labour leaflet: It’s a lie to say Labour opposes Brexit

This is a Labour leaflet being delivered in Stoke. Here they are, trying to out-UKIP UKIP.

“Every major party except the Lib Dems are supporting Brexit here in Stoke”

They are doing our job for us! It certainly gives voters who don’t want the Government given a blank cheque over Brexit a clear direction about who will stand up for them. That would be only the Lib Dems.

Why does this matter? I mean, the Article 50 vote is done and dusted, isn’t it? Well, no. If the Lords does it job properly and adorns the Bill with helpful amendments like securing the rights of EU nationals, staying in the single market and the Lib Dems’ major amendment securing a referendum on the final deal, the new MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central will have to vote on whether to accept those amendments.

Labour’s Gareth Snell has said that he wouldn’t frustrate Article 50. Liberal Democrat Zulfiqar Ali would vote for the people to have a final say on the deal. The choice is clear.

All this comes at a time when there are signs that the public mood is starting to turn against Theresa May’s strategy.

The Guardian reports on a poll which shows that barely a third of those asked favour a hard Brexit.

The survey – conducted by ICM for the online campaigning organisation Avaaz on the day the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly to trigger article 50 – suggests May would face a considerable backlash if Britain crashed out of the EU on WTO terms. In a welcome boost for soft Brexit campaigners, over half (54%) of those surveyed backed either extending negotiations if a satisfactory deal could not be reached, or halting the process altogether while the public was consulted for a second time.

The Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Tom Brake, said the findings proved the government’s position was indefensible.

Of the 54% of people who opposed the government’s position, 34% said May should continue negotiating. A further 20% backed halting the process pending a second referendum on the terms of the deal, an option backed by the Lib Dems and a cross-party group of MPs including the Labour MPs David Lammy, Heidi Alexander and Ben Bradshaw, as well as the Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas.

While we’re on the subject of all things Stoke-related, you might be interested in this story on Conservative Home. “Labour will win in Stoke, the Lib Dems will come second” File this predication away for use on the night. Highlighting an article in today’s Observer in which our campaign manager Chris Lovell talks up our chances of unifying the Remain vote, Con Home says:

One further point: ConservativeHome has spoken to a lot of Conservative MPs and others, and they are almost unanimous in saying that the Party is not investing as much manpower in Stoke-on-Trent Central as it is in Copeland.

All of the above gives us many reasons to do all we can to help Zulfiqar Ali get the best possible result in Stoke. Let’s not put any limit on our ambitions. Sign up here to help or here to donate. If you need any extra incentive, word has it that the candidate’s brother makes the most excellent samosas. With those and Sara Bedford’s cakes, this army is definitely marching on its stomach.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • And yet, despite the Labour candidate supporting a hard Brexit, More United are backing the Labour candiate. One for Paddy to answer a few questions about, perhaps?

  • @William

  • Not gonna lie when I saw the picture I thought it was a Lib Dem leaflet, even the colour scheme looks Lib Dem

  • It is not a Lib Dem leaflet. It is a Labour leaflet. The imprint is quite clear.

  • Tony Greaves 12th Feb '17 - 1:33pm

    More United are a busted flush (if they were ever unbusted). Them and whose army?

  • Tony Greaves 12th Feb '17 - 1:34pm

    Forgot to add…rather like the Labour Party. I cannot believe what we are observing.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 12th Feb '17 - 2:31pm

    Following the above comments about More United – I didn’t sign up to More United. I don’t really see how support for More United can be compatible with membership of or support for a political party. They have made it clear that they may support a candidate from any party, if they feel the individual candidate meets their rather vague criteria, and if they consider the candidate can win with their help. Therefore supporting More United means supporting an organisation, that will be supporting candidates, who are standing in opposition to candidates from one’s own party – how can this be compatible with membership of a party?
    There seems to be a lot of confusion about what More United are for. Some of those who have commented above seem to be under the impression that they are mainly about supporting a pro EU candidate. But their website says very little about the EU. In the section about their values, there is a brief mention, towards the end of the list of values, about wanting “a close relationship with the EU”. But they do not say a candidate must necessarily support EU membership.
    The values they say a candidate must have are “opportunity, tolerance, democracy, environment, openness.” The website says a little about what is meant by each of these, but it is all pretty vague. In practice, it probably means More United could potentially support a candidate from any party other than Ukip. Presumably in Stoke, they decided to support the candidate who looked most likely to be able to prevent Ukip from winning. Of course we hope the candidate most likely to win is the Lib Dem candidate, but based on past results in Stoke etc, it was probably predictable that More United would decide to support Labour.

  • Hear hear to what William and Tony Greaves have said above. Leaving aside what may or may not be the Labour candidate’s view on Brexit, Stoke Central has been on recent years an entirely safe Labour seat, and if Labour’s position there is now under threat from UKIP (which may in fact not be the case), this is entirely the Labour Party’s own fault. It is surely not the function of More United to rescue the Labour Party from self-inflicted damage.

  • Richard Elliott 12th Feb '17 - 2:34pm

    Would be happy for either for LD or Labour to win Stoke. On More United, their rationale and strength is to be cross-party supporting the progressive principles they set out – they will not succeed if they act as a LD front as they need to bring together progressives in all parties. The LD and Labour positions are both to have a close relationship with the EU and pro-single market, pro-citizen rights. Yes, there are significant differences – and while I personally might favour the LD policy of a second vote, it is understandable if More United don’t get into choosing between two pro-Europe positions

  • nvelope2003 12th Feb '17 - 3:47pm

    Are many voters in Stoke on Trent Central likely to be influenced by what More United have to say ?

  • Apologies for the pedantry, but MU haven’t technically supported Gareth Snell yet, they have recommended supporting him (on the grounds he has the best/only chance of beating UKIP), and they are currently polling members to vote Yes or No to this.

    Going by twitter, a lot of people are questioning them on Labour’s Brexit line, and the response was that they want to support progressive CANDIDATES, rather than their parties. However, with no apparent recognition of MU from Snell, and the campaign literature being keen to point out that Labour is supporting Brexit, the distinction isn’t strong. MU are in an awkward phase of their inception. They had a decent list of likely policies on their website when they first launched, but now they have removed much of that and stuck a whole load of very vague stuff, supposedly with a view to polling members on what they/we want. Until there is something more concrete, they are offering everything and nothing.

    I have personally questioned whether he’s expressed a view on PR, as for me that’s very important, and given this is a Brexit constituency, having a PR supporting Labour MP, whose record shows he is a fan of the EU, would be substantially better than some of the possible alternatives.

    I agree that MU shouldn’t be bailing out the Labour party, but I don’t think that’s the intention. The motivation behind stopping a UKIP candidate becoming an MP is because a 2nd UKIP MP would be bad for the UK, and would send a much worse message to the Government to crack on with a hard Brexit. However, my problem with voting for MU to support Snell is that it sends a message that candidates can get support without having to commit to anything.

  • I suspect someone thinks pointing out that only the Lib Dems is a plus in a hard leave area. Perhaps someone should have pointed out to them that 30.6% voted remain and if the leave vote splits between the hard leavers that is a winning percentage. I despair of the Labour Party, truly clueless ( I despair because as yet the Lib Dems cannot provide the opposition we so desperately require, I suppose we will have to do our best though, there isn’t any other option).

  • David Allen 12th Feb '17 - 6:34pm

    Thanks Fiona for thinking hard about how MU could help get us out of the tribalist rut British politics is in. For a party with 9 MPs to act as if they could just stand aloof from and superior to Labour would only make us look ridiculous.

    That said, MU has to be something which effectively brings together a progressive consensus, and I don’t think toeing a three-line whip to vote for hard Brexit hits that button. Playing with support for PR wouldn’t make any difference either, as far as I am concerned. Plenty of Labour people, Blair pre-eminent, liked to talk up PR just as long as they weren’t in any position to implement it.

    As to “the response was that they want to support progressive CANDIDATES, rather than their parties”, that makes sense only if those candidates are free to act in a progressive way. Snell clearly wouldn’t have been selected if he hadn’t promised to toe the line.

    Richard Elliott says “it is understandable if More United don’t get into choosing between two pro-Europe positions”. I agree. Bur Snell’s position is anti-Europe!

  • Labour now have the policy of having a liberal immigration policy in London – which really is rather crowded, and an illiberal immigration policy everywhere else.

  • Alistair,
    Labour has the same immigration everywhere and it’s pretty much the same one that forms the consensus across all the main parties. They just hop no will notice. London is not a special case. Birmingham. Manchester, Liverpool. Leicester. Lincoln. Leeds all have very large immigrant populations. In fact Leicester, not London, was the first UK city to have a population where White British were overtaken by other nationalities. I the think this may even have happened in Birmingham before London. London just has more people generally and because it is the centre of government, finance and the arts it also has more people who bang on about it being a special case. Actually, the old London population now live in places like Essex.

  • I agree with Tony. Meanwhile I told a Methodist congregation in Bradford this morning that in a world that has gone mad this is the hour for those with clear and deep-rooted values.

  • Have More United really only recommended supporting one candidate to their members. Sounds like fairly clear framing of the question really – basically to have any success MU needs to be seen to support Labour relatively frequently.

  • Alisdair McGregor 13th Feb '17 - 7:58am

    If More United are backing a Brexit Labour Candidate then what’s the point of them at all?

    As for the linked article on ConHome; it’s hilarious to read the comments and see how few of the Tories understand by-elections and differential turnout.

  • Rebecca Taylor 13th Feb '17 - 10:15am

    @Glenn, much of the Asian population in Leicester are British citizens, many born and raised in Leicester and coming from families who’ve been British for many generations due to the history of migration to that city (of British citizens of Indian background from Kenya and Uganda).

    So while it’s true to say that White British (a broadbrush definition covering people with a multitude of origins in the UK and elsewhere eg Irish, Polish, Ukrainian, Italian etc) make up less than 50% of the Leicester population (45% in 2011 census), this is not because of “other nationalities” for the most part, but fellow Brits of BAME origin. I think that’s an important distinction.

  • Peter Martin 13th Feb '17 - 4:01pm

    Hang on a minute! Who, apart from UKIP, has actually said that Labour oppose Brexit, anyway?

    The PLP did overwhelmingly favour the Remain argument as I’m sure you’ll all know. Equally overwhelmingly they’ve accepted the argument that having voted, under the leadership of Ms Harriet Harman, for the referendum that they can’t then go and ignore the result of that referendum.

    Obviously to do that would require one to wrestle with one’s conscience. Most Lib Dems seem to be able to win such a contest. Most Labour MPs obviously can’t.

  • Rebeca Taylor,
    I live in Leicester. I am very aware of what Leicester is like. Also I Hindu relatives. I trying not use the word Race as it is loaded. Really I should have said cultures, but sometimes one just writes quickly.. Also it’s not just Asians in Leicester. My main point was about Alistair’s assertion that that Labour’s policy is drastically different outside of London and the usual implication that London is especially multicultural compared with other English cities.

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