Features

Labour defeats a Remainer rebellion

Jeremy Corbyn has faced down a challenge spearheaded by his deputy, Tom Watson, for Labour to signal its backing for a second Brexit referendum.

945-Corbyn-634

Corbyn: sticking to the fence

Jeremy Corbyn has faced down a challenge spearheaded by his deputy, Tom Watson, for Labour to "signal its unequivocal backing for a second Brexit referendum in the forthcoming European election campaign", says Heather Stewart in The Guardian. On Tuesday, Labour's ruling National Executive Committee announced that its manifesto would be in line with its longstanding policy.

That means a "confirmatory referendum" only on what the Labour leader calls a damaging Tory Brexit, says Jim Pickard in the Financial Times, not on his preferred softer version of Brexit, which would involve a permanent customs union with the EU.

Labour has "always been split" between loyalty to its pro-European roots and fear of alienating working-class Leave voters, says James Blitz, also in the FT. But this time there are also differences over the party's tactical goal in the European elections. Watson says Labour's main goal must be to defeat Nigel Farage's Brexit party, which it won't do if it continues to "sit on the fence" over Brexit.

However, some Corbynites see a Brexit Party victory as an opportunity, says Will Hutton in The Observer. It would lead to a eurosceptic nationalist, probably Boris Johnson, taking over from May in the summer. He would argue for a no-deal Brexit, split the parliamentary Tory party and pave the way for a Labour election victory.

Given the disarray among the main parties and the fact that six million signed a petition for Brexit to be cancelled, "I find it remarkable that Change UK, the Lib Dems and the Greens have not made common cause to create an anti-Brexit alliance in what is effectively a proxy referendum' on 23 May", says William Hague in The Daily Telegraph. The election now stands to be a reassertion of Brexit. This failure to unite also suggests that "if and when" a realignment of parties takes place", Labour and Tories will pull left and right, with no real alternative left in the centre.

Recommended

House prices: from boom to even bigger boom
House prices

House prices: from boom to even bigger boom

UK house prices have risen to new to record highs, says Nicole Garcia Merida. Demand continues to outpace supply, but continued low interest rates, th…
9 Apr 2021
1 April 1999: The minimum wage is introduced in Britain
This day in history

1 April 1999: The minimum wage is introduced in Britain

On this day in 1999, the national minimum wage was introduced in Britain, bringing an instant pay rise to 1.9 million low-paid workers.
1 Apr 2021
How the vaccine wars will harm us all
Global Economy

How the vaccine wars will harm us all

Grabbing and hoarding vaccine supplies, or even manufacturing one’s own, might seem to make sense for a state in an emergency. But the damage done to …
27 Mar 2021
House price rise slows – but not by much
House prices

House price rise slows – but not by much

The rate of increase in UK house prices slowed in the year to January. But nothing seems able to halt their determined march higher, says Nicole Garci…
26 Mar 2021

Most Popular

Central banks are rushing to build digital currencies. What are they, and what do they mean for you?
Bitcoin

Central banks are rushing to build digital currencies. What are they, and what do they mean for you?

As bitcoin continues to soar in value, many of the world’s central banks are looking to emulate it by issuing their own digital currencies. But centra…
8 Apr 2021
Nuclear power might never be popular – but now looks a good time to invest
Commodities

Nuclear power might never be popular – but now looks a good time to invest

Nuclear power gets a very bad press, but it is the ultimate renewable energy source. Interest in it is perking up again, says John Stepek. Which means…
9 Apr 2021
How to find companies that can thrive in the post-Covid world
Advertisement Feature

How to find companies that can thrive in the post-Covid world

Many sectors of the global economy will return to something resembling pre-pandemic status, but others will take far longer to recover.
8 Apr 2021