Friday 24 August 2018


One of Labour's most frequent accusations against the Tories is that they are so utterly divided on Europe.  They're not wrong, for once, but it is rather a case of pot calling the kettle black.  This week was a point in mind.

On Tuesday we had whispering Barry Gardiner (Shadow International Trade Secretary) telling BBC Radio 4 that a second referendum would be "undemocratic" and any attempt to block Brexit could lead to "social unrest".

"If you then say to people: 'We did give you a vote here and we, the Remainers, lost the vote, but because you were stupid enough to do what you wanted rather than what we wanted, we'll give you another chance to get it right'.  That undermines the whole principle of democracy in this country".

Barry Gardiner (Shadow International Trade Secretary)

Bravo said Brexiteers.  Gardiner, for the record, is a Remainer, but at least he could rise above the stubborn "heads in the sand" attitude that afflict so many of his colleagues (think Chuka, Mandelson, Ben Bradshaw, Dave Lammy).  Few Remainers appear able to respect the referendum result and immediately after this interview they were spitting feathers.

Two days after Gardiner's comments there was a different tune being spun from his fellow front bencher Sir Keir Starmer.  The Shadow Brexit Secretary contradicted Gardiner by refusing to rule out a second referendum and said it should remain "on the table".

"We are not calling for it, but in the event that Article 50 is voted down, we think all options should be on the table.  That is the Labour Party position".

Sir Keir Starmer (Shadow Brexit Secretary)

Of course Starmer, an ardent Remainer, will do his utmost to persuade his fellow MPs to vote down any Brexit deal because he ultimately wants to stop Brexit.  Just goes to show that Labour are just as divided as the Tories, if not more so.