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24 September 2018

Labour’s Brexit policy confirms what we already know: the party is anti-Remain

Labour would fight an election on being able to manage Brexit better than the Conservatives, rather than seeking to stop it.

By Stephen Bush

Party like it’s 1995! After a marathon session, the Labour Party’s compositing process has turned the democratically expressed will of members on Brexit into a carte blanche to let the leadership carry on doing whatever it wants.

Labour will continue not to call for a second (or should that be third?) referendum, but it also won’t rule one out entirely – that is to say, the nudge nudge, wink wink, just hold the 2017 electoral coalition together Brexit approach lives to fight another day. It’s a big win for the Labour leadership in general and for Keir Starmer in particular.

But Labour’s pro-Europeans and the People’s Vote campaign aren’t entirely wrong to be declaring victory either. In amid the waffle over what Labour’s actual position is, the policy commitments, such as they are – on Northern Ireland and on British access to the single market – make it harder to see how the next Labour government would avoid ending up in something that looks an awful lot like the EEA.

Other than that, it confirms what we already know: that in the event of another election before Brexit is resolved, Labour will fight it on a platform of being able to manage an exit better than the Conservatives, rather than seeking to prevent it or overturn it.

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