Labour does not have a clue about Brexit

The Daily Telegraph - - Letters To The Editor -

On the eve of the most im­por­tant pol­icy de­ci­sion taken in peace­time for more than 40 years, the leader of the Op­po­si­tion might have been ex­pected to have a clear idea of where he and his party stand. But any­one look­ing to Jeremy Cor­byn yes­ter­day for a co­her­ent ex­po­si­tion of Labour Party pol­icy in the event of a de­feat to­mor­row for Theresa May’s Brexit deal looked in vain.

It is the pre­rog­a­tive of op­po­si­tion to let the Gov­ern­ment make the mis­takes and seek to re­place it. But in or­der to do so, it is the nor­mal re­quire­ment of pol­i­tics to have an al­ter­na­tive strat­egy. Mr Cor­byn wants to ex­er­cise the for­mer with­out hav­ing a sin­gle clue about the lat­ter.

On the BBC’S An­drew Marr Show he ducked the ques­tion of what Labour would do dif­fer­ently over and over again, only re­stat­ing his fatu­ous be­lief that some­how the EU would give a new gov­ern­ment all the ben­e­fits of mem­ber­ship, with­out the bad bits.

Mr Cor­byn is a long-stand­ing Euroscep­tic, which sets him apart from many of his MPS, who are work­ing as­sid­u­ously be­hind the scenes to en­gi­neer a re­ver­sal of the ref­er­en­dum vote.

At least Mr Cor­byn seems to want to hon­our that re­sult; but he is con­tribut­ing to the al­mosthys­ter­i­cal uncer­tainty at West­min­ster that could yet be Brexit’s un­do­ing.

He is against leav­ing with­out a deal, am­biva­lent to­wards a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum, con­fus­ing about his com­mit­ment to the cus­toms union and sin­gle mar­ket, and clings to the idea that a Labour gov­ern­ment can ne­go­ti­ate in a few weeks a deal that Mrs May failed to achieve in more than two years.

The most prob­a­ble im­me­di­ate con­se­quence of Mrs May los­ing to­mor­row will be a move in Par­lia­ment forc­ing the Gov­ern­ment to seek an ex­ten­sion to Ar­ti­cle 50, to stop the UK drop­ping out of the EU on March 29.

Mr Cor­byn may ta­ble a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence and seek to pre­cip­i­tate a gen­eral elec­tion. But judg­ing by his per­for­mance yes­ter­day, it is hard to see what his party’s Brexit pol­icy plat­form would be. The same would, of course, be true for the Con­ser­va­tives, given their al­most ir­repara­ble di­vi­sions over Europe.

Par­lia­ment asked the coun­try to de­cide an is­sue it felt un­able to re­solve and it was given a clear in­struc­tion what to do. How sad for the British peo­ple that, at such a mo­ment in our his­tory, they are served by politi­cians so woe­fully in­ad­e­quate to the scale of the chal­lenge.

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