Hoey slams Blairites for launching pro-single market campaign
A NEW anti-Brexit campaign group backed by right-wing Labour MPs risks alienating wide swathes of the party’s voters, leading EU critic Kate Hoey has said.
The Labour Campaign for the Single Market (LCSM) will launch in London next week, led by Alison McGovern, who chairs the pro-business lobby group Progress, and Heidi Alexander, who resigned from the front bench last year in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
This weekend, Ms Alexander welcomed shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer’s transitional demand for single market membership for a period of years after Brexit.
But she said this did not go far enough, demanding that Labour “must make the case for single market and customs union membership full stop.”
Vauxhall MP Ms Hoey, one of Labour’s most vociferous opponents of EU membership, said the cause of remaining in the single market was being championed by MPs seeking a new “raison d’etre” because they had failed to remove Mr Corbyn as leader.
“The problem is that a lot of this is being led by people in our party who thought Jeremy is hopeless and they were going to be leader,” she told the Star.
“These are the people who want a drip-drip approach to having a second referendum on the EU.”
She said it would be “virtually impossible” to return key industries and utilities to public ownership if Britain remained in the EU’s “internal market.”
And Ms Hoey warned that Labour would “absolutely, without a doubt” lose the support of many voters if it advocated this approach.
“We won back a lot of leftish Ukip voters,” she said. “Ukip’s in a mess and hasn’t got a leader, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Nigel Farage comes back.”
LCSM is circulating a “contemporary motion” for constituency parties to submit to Labour’s annual conference.
Another group, the Labour Campaign for Free Movement, does not explicitly call for continued membership of the single market but says there should be no migration controls after Brexit.
This group is backed by MPs including Clive Lewis and Geraint Davies, as well as the Trotskyite Alliance for Workers Liberty and members of the soft left Open Labour faction.
It is thought that transport union TSSA could submit a motion to the conference backing free movement.
But London Young Labour executive member Marcus Barnett said: “If we’re to represent the many, and not just a metropolitan liberal echo chamber, we have to buckle down and seek a more aspirational approach to Brexit, rather than establishing new fronts that may yet wield fatal electoral results for our party.”