School of Politics and International Relations

Labour conference: Jeremy Corbyn battles it out with members over Brexit

22 September 2019

Professor Tim Bale wrote an opinion piece in The Conversation discussing the divide amongst Labour members and the leadership on Brexit policy. Professor Bale writes: “Labour’s conference in Liverpool last year was essentially about defusing a bomb that threatened to go off over Brexit. And it looks like this year will be the same. That’s because there continues to be a major mismatch between what the party’s membership wants on Europe and what its leadership – Jeremy Corbyn, his close advisors, and a handful of powerful trade union general secretaries – is prepared to give them. Labour’s rank-and-file are overwhelmingly pro-European. Eight out of ten of them voted Remain. Three-quarters of them want a second referendum. And if one were held, nine out of ten of them would vote to stay in the EU. If a second referendum were held a number of members demand Labour commit to campaigning for Remain, yet there is no guarantee that it will go into the party’s programme and therefore make it a contender for Labour’s next manifesto. Labour members are very left wing and even more socially liberal. But most Labour members still love Corbyn. And even now, as we approach what some see as the European endgame, they may still love him more than they hate Brexit.”
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