During the EU referendum campaign the mainstream political opinion was that should Britain vote to remain, and the Conservative Party would split down the middle. A civil war of sorts would erupt as the eurosceptics blamed their defeat on David Cameron's campaign tactics. As we now all know, in reality the exact opposite has happened. Whilst the Tories sit atop the polls looking largely united, Brexit has left Labour riven with factions. The vast majority of MPs, members and voters chose to remain, but the Labour heartlands in the north of England and Wales voted to Leave. Meanwhile the leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong eurosceptic, voted to remain. Put simply; the party does not know how it should react.
At a time in which the party is split so firmly on the leadership Brexit insults an already painful injury.
There are some MPs, who passionately supported Remain who now believe that Labour must accept the result, but try and build a “progressive Brexit”. This group also tends to agree that we need “some control on immigration” and that the UK should leave the customs union in order that the Government can sign trade deals with other countries.
The other side take a more traditionalist approach to opposition, believing that Labour should fight the Government at every step, from the vote to trigger article 50, until the end. In order to ensure that if Brexit does carry the economic cost that many “experts” suspect, it will be the Tories and not Labour that carry the burden into the ballot box.
Maitland/AMO Political along with the Labour think tank Progress have brought together some of the leading figures formulating Labour’s Brexit strategy to debate the future pf the party, the country and left of centre politics throughout the continent.