View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. The Staggers
8 February 2019

How Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit demands have caused yet more conflict in the Labour Party

The Labour leader’s proposals appear to have pleased everybody but Labour.

By Stephen Bush

Good news for Jeremy Corbyn! His Brexit proposals have been welcomed by Donald Tusk, several members of the European Parliament and enough soft Brexiteers – including Stephen Hammond, a sitting minister – to demonstrate that his five Brexit demands could form the basis of an accord with both the EU and command a majority in parliament.

Bad news for Jeremy Corbyn! The reaction to his proposals within the Labour Party is a mixed one. Clive Lewis, the Corbynite MP who quit the frontbench once to vote against triggering Article 50, has hinted he would do so again if the party whips support to back Brexit. Owen Smith, former leadership candidate, has said that he would find it hard to remain within the Labour Party, much to the surprise even of his close allies. And Corbyn’s proposals have been criticised by some, but not all, of the Labour MPs backing the People’s Vote campaign.

Keir Starmer has insisted that the option of a second vote remains a real one – and that Corbyn’s proposals are merely a list of what May must do to secure a Brexit deal, while Matthew Pennycook, one of his junior ministers, has insisted that a public vote is the fall back option should the five demands not be met.

The reason why European politicians are welcoming and some Labour’s second referendumers are criticising Corbyn’s five demands are the same: they are credible proposals that can be met by the European Union and have a serious prospect of delivering a Brexit majority in the House of Commons.

Added to that, you have the added subplot of a looming Labour split. Four of the MPs widely considered by Labour MPs to be planning an imminent split have publicly criticised the accord.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

I said yesterday that Corbyn’s demands, like May’s Chequers proposals, represented the point where the Labour leader had made a decisive choice on which risk he was going to take, and he had chosen to risk alienating Remainers by explicitly setting out his preferred outcome and a serious path to it, just as May chose with her Chequers proposals to choose market access over regulatory freedom.

Of course, one consequence of May’s choice was the loss of several ministers from her cabinet and frontbench. It would be highly surprising if Corbyn’s choice didn’t have the same consequence – but it would also be a surprise if, like May, his leadership didn’t survive the fallout unscathed.

Content from our partners
Future proofing the NHS
Where do we get the money to fix the world's biggest problems? – with ONE
Labour's health reforms can put patients first

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU