Posted by Geoff Bishop.
Written by John Spellar.
Hard-left Jeremy Corbyn supporters deliberately blocked a vote on Brexit to avoid highlighting party divisions over the issue, according to a Labour MP.
John Spellar says the ‘bizarre’ decision not to debate Brexit at the Labour Party conference had ‘let down’ many delegates who have ‘real concerns’ about the party’s approach to the issue.
It comes after members and trade union officials picked eight other ‘contemporary’ subjects on the party’s ‘priorities’ ballot to vote on instead, including social care, rail services and workers’ rights.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has insisted that dodging debate on the issue that will continue to dominate British politics for years was proof of ‘democracy at work’.
Speaking from the conference in Brighton, Warley MP John Spellar: “I think it is bizarre. This was a tactic used by Momentum to block debate on Brexit in order to avoid embarrassment to the party leadership.
“Clearly many delegates, particularly younger ones who have real concerns about this issue, will feel let down.”
An email from campaign group Momentum urged its supporters not to back Brexit as a topic for debate, calling it a ‘potentially time-consuming cul-de-sac’.
Mr Spellar added: “It is quite obvious to people what they were doing and it was all very out in the open.
“People were handing out literature urging delegates to vote for other subjects to put on the agenda.”
Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Philips told the Progress rally she had almost lost her voice, but there were plenty of hand gestures she could use to describe the decision to deny a vote on Brexit.
“You shouldn’t be afraid to face the ballot,” she said. “You shouldn’t be afraid to face the vote,” before adding: “Frankly, it’s f***ing ridiculous.”
Liberal Democrat shadow Brexit secretary Tom Brake warned that the move proved Labour ‘do not stand for anyone on Europe’.
“Corbyn’s anti-EU wing of the Labour Party have won the day,” he said.
“Following pressure from his Momentum pressure group, the party have ducked away from debating the biggest issue currently facing the country at their conference.
“Labour have again shown themselves to be neither here nor there, unable to come up with a coherent policy for fear of their own internal politics spilling out into the public.”
A spokesman for Momentum insisted that Brexit was not being ignored at the conference.