A new pamphlet setting out six progressive principles against which the government’s future Brexit deal should be judged has been backed by eight Labour MPs – Mary Creagh, Mike Gapes, Peter Kyle, Pat McFadden, Alison McGovern, Wes Streeting, Chuka Umunna, and Phil Wilson. Co-published by Open Britain and the Fabian Society, the pamphlet will be launched at the Fabian Society’s New Year Conference where Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer, who wrote report the foreword to the report, will welcome it.
Its publication is a call for the Labour party to set clear standards for the Government ahead of the Brexit negotiations, amid concerns that the Government is prioritising immigration policy over everything else, including economic policy. The introduction, endorsed by the Labour MPs, calls on their party to play a more active role in shaping the outcome of Brexit negotiations, arguing:
“Labour must fight for a Britain that is internationalist, open and tolerant, seeking close cooperation with our European neighbours in the years ahead. No-one voted to make their families poorer, to make workplaces insecure, to make our country weaker, to put our national security at risk or to shift blame on to migrants for the failures of the state and the market. But that would be the consequence of conceding political arguments to our opponents.”
The pamphlet, written by Joe Carberry from Open Britain and Olivia Bailey from the Fabian Society, sets out six principles for progressives to hold the Government to in the Brexit negotiations. These are:
- Retain the benefits of the Single Market and commit to a transitional arrangement. Any decision to leave the Single Market must be based on evidence that the economic advantages are comparable.
- Reform free movement, while making the positive case for migration.
- Expand the UK’s role and influence on the world stage, and maintain the crime and justice. co-operation that keeps Britain safe.
- Defend rights and protections and prevent a race to the bottom.
- Build a new political economy that works for everyone in our country.
- Win the consent of Parliament and involve elected representatives from across the nations and regions.
Specific policy ideas discussed within the pamphlet include:
- Only leave the Single Market or the Customs Union if this decision is based on clear demonstrable evidence that the economic advantages from alternative arrangements are comparable to those we enjoy today.
- Rule out the ‘WTO model’, where the UK leaves the EU with no trade deal at all.
- Drop the ‘tens of thousands’ net migration target and seek a new deal on free movement that considers tying free movement to those who have a job offer and arguing for sector-specific emergency brakes.
- Maintain the same levels of crime and justice cooperation, including with a transition period if required.
- Commit to maintaining all existing EU employment law and pledge to have stronger employment protections than Europe in the future.
- Develop a new industrial strategy to create a fairer political economy in the UK – with skills, regional growth, exports and a real voice for workers at its heart.
- MPs should have a say in determining the government’s negotiating objectives before Article 50 is triggered; should have a role in reviewing the Government’s progress throughout negotiations; and should be given a vote on the final deal.
Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, will today in a speech at the Fabian Society New Year Conference welcome the publication of the pamphlet and the progressive principles it contains as an important contribution to the Brexit debate and Labour’s policy formulation.
In his foreword to the pamphlet, Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, and the whole Labour Shadow Brexit team write:
“This is not the time for progressives to leave the stage. It is time for progressives to stake out a bold and radical vision of the future that works for everyone.”
"It means putting jobs and the economy first, while recognising that the way freedom of movement rules currently operate in the UK will have to be part of the Brexit negotiations. In particular, the Government must ensure that a final Brexit deal enables all businesses – large and small – to have arrangements that are free of tariffs and bureaucratic impediments. If the Government are able to make that very welcome assurance to Nissan, they need to do so for businesses across the UK.”
Notes to editors
The full pamphlet can be downloaded here: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/in/pages/11527/attachments/original/1484328213/OBFAB_progressive_principles_Brexit_final.pdf?1484328213
The pamphlet’s authors are Joe Carberry, Co-Executive Director at Open Britain, and Olivia Bailey, Research Director at the Fabian Society, both of whom previously worked as advisers at the Labour Party.
Sir Keir Starmer will address the Fabian Society’s New Year Conference as the pamphlet is launched, on Saturday 14 January at Friends’ House near Euston station at 1600. To accredit email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This pamphlet, like all publications of the Fabian Society, represents not the collective views of the Society but only the view of the authors.