DEBUG: blog_post
No more "waiting for Jeremy"
14 Feb, 2019

He’s not coming

London4Europe Committee member Michael Romberg calls on Labour party members and supporters to protect Remain MPs.


We can still stop Brexit. Just revoking Brexit would not have the necessary legitimacy. That needs a referendum.

The Liberal Democrats have been advocating one since 2016. They have been criticised for putting down a motion recently because People’s Vote strategists believe it is premature, lacking support at the moment; and could scupper the longer term possibility of securing a People’s Vote. Perhaps. 

Or perhaps it is time to stop "Waiting for Jeremy". Of course he should back a referendum at least in the interests of party unity if no higher cause. But after his recent letter to Theresa May anyone who thinks that he is "for Remain really" is seriously deluded. His proposed deal is little better than hers.


What would happen to Labour Remain MPs

The main purpose of putting down a pro-referendum amendment now would be to address Remain-supporting MPs who have preferred to keep their Government and shadow offices rather than back the cause. Some have had enough. They will now vote for a referendum. The vote will be lost. But it is what happens next to Labour rebels that really matters.

Maybe Jeremy Corbyn will do nothing to them. In that case, all Remain-supporting Labour MPs know that next time they can join in without any adverse consequence. Remain-supporting Conservative MPs would know that if they join in the next vote a referendum could pass even without official Labour backing. They should let the organisers of the Labour Remain rebels know.

Or Corbyn sacks the Labour rebels. Yet we learned ten days ago that pro-Brexit rebellions, breaches of the whip by supporters of Jeremy, are not penalised. So if Corbyn takes action against Labour Remainers then those MPs will be able to see the double standard and know that there is no point in sticking with the Leadership in the hope of a change of policy.  Double standards and evasiveness over Brexit have damaged Jeremy Corbyn's reputation for honesty; it is hard to believe they will not tarnish the Party's brand as well as his own.

What you can do to protect Labour Remain MPs

Much will depend on how the party activists see the pro-Remain rebels. Will they be applauded and actively supported for backing Remain and a referendum – the policy of the overwhelming majority of Labour members and voters? Or will the pro-Remain MPs be abused for undermining Corbyn - and that even by Party Members who claim to back Remain?

If you are a Labour Party activist you can play your part in protecting and supporting the Labour pro-Remain rebels; organisations that pro-Remain campaigners in the two main parties can join are listed in our blog Remainers in the Parties are fighting back. You can also adopt a Labour pro-Remain MP, follow their Twitter and Facebook accounts, and support them against unacceptable criticism.


Corbyn has two ways to back Theresa May's deal. He can come out in favour of it, especially if it is amended to achieve some of his goals. Or he can condone Labour Brexiters voting for it against an ostensible whip.

Labour Remainer MPs also have options. 

The London4Europe blogs page is edited by Vice-Chair Nick Hopkinson. Blogs on this page reflect the views of the author and not necessarily of London4Europe.