Momentum chief: Labour ran ‘lacklustre’ EU election campaign and needs to step up

It comes as calls grow across the party for Labour to commit to a clear Remain position.

The National Coordinator of Momentum has hit out at the Labour party’s approach to Brexit, saying the party did not campaign hard enough in the recent EU elections.

In a packed out Hope Not Hate fringe at Labour conference, Laura Parker told attendees that Labour ran a ‘lacklustre’ campaign which failed to mobilise against the Brexit Party.

The coordinator of the pro-Corbyn group added “it should be a matter of shame” for Labour that there are two Brexit Party MEPs in London, adding: “I know [Labour] friends and family who didn’t vote Labour in May,” because of the Brexit issue.  

In the same session, Shadow Minister for Policing Louise Haigh MP became the latest frontbench figure to speak out against the draft National Executive Committee statement.

“People want clarity and leadership – and on the biggest position of the day I believe we have a duty to be clear” and back Remain, said Louise Haigh.

The two figures were challenging a draft NEC statement, which would delay the decision on whether Labour would back Remain in a referendum until after the next General Election.

Laura Parker also challenged those who blame the media for Labour’s poor current polling: “If you’re CEO of a company, you can blame inflation for poor profits in Q1, and maybe Q2, but at some point they’re going to ask how you what you’re doing to manage it.”

“It’s not our fault that 85% of the media is basically Conservative but we have to manage that problem.

“Partly it’s about how we communicate with [the media] but also going around them…we’ve got to improve our comms a little bit,” she said, noting that Momentum reached millions in the 2017 election on a shoestring.

Parker called on Labour to learn from the Brexit Party’s messaging: “If there’s one thing we can learn from this bunch of charlatans it’s how to communicate a simple message.”

As reported by the Guardian, the draft statement from Labour’s national executive committee shows: “Jeremy Corbyn’s current plan is for a Labour government to negotiate a new Brexit deal within three months of coming to power and to hold a referendum within six months of coming to power. The party would decide at a one-day special conference after the renegotiation how it would campaign in the referendum.”

Delegates will be asked to back the NEC statement tomorrow, but many senior party figures including Sadiq Khan, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer and Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry have spoken out against it.

At least 80 motions – coordinated by groups such as Another Europe is Possible – have been submitted backing a clear Remain view. These motions will be ‘composited’ or merged at a Conference Arrangements Committee meeting tonight. The CAC has a pro-Corbyn majority.

Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.

As you’re here, we have something to ask you. What we do here to deliver real news is more important than ever. But there’s a problem: we need readers like you to chip in to help us survive. We deliver progressive, independent media, that challenges the right’s hateful rhetoric. Together we can find the stories that get lost.

We’re not bankrolled by billionaire donors, but rely on readers chipping in whatever they can afford to protect our independence. What we do isn’t free, and we run on a shoestring. Can you help by chipping in as little as £1 a week to help us survive? Whatever you can donate, we’re so grateful - and we will ensure your money goes as far as possible to deliver hard-hitting news.

4 Responses to “Momentum chief: Labour ran ‘lacklustre’ EU election campaign and needs to step up”

  1. Julia Gibb

    It is really quite simple. Labour does not have a clear policy on anything. The were punished in the EU elections for being vague. They will suffer in the GE for being all things to all voters.

    Everyone else has simple clear one line positions. Labour has failed to realise that the country is split and no amount of waffle will change that. The public will vote at the next GE on Europe and they will vote for Leave or Remain parties. I don’t like it but I accept the reality.

  2. ChrisC

    I fear that the views of 500,000 party members (well, actually, the 5-10% of those who turn up to the monthly CLP meeting where conference motions and conference delegates are being chosen – so let’s say 25,000-50,000 in a country of 64 million) which will decide the conference outcome on Brexit are not representative of a large proportion of the 12 million voters we need to vote for us to form a Government, many of whom either voted Leave or at any rate expect 2016’s democratic vote to be implemented rather than subjected to you-bigots-can-keep-voting-until-you-get-it-right tactics. We are often told that polls (usually phrased to get the result desired by the well-heeled pressure group funding them, where that applies) show that a majority of ‘Labour voters’ support Remain, but that ignores the point that millions of people who would once have voted Labour every time have abandoned the party since the 1990s because it reflects the metropolitan liberalism of the ‘Anywheres’ rather than the values of the ‘Somewheres’…… so they are not classified as ‘Labour voters’ by the pollshers.

  3. BBragg

    I do believe that the internet is too full of hate and bile and that we should listen to each and try toengage in rational debate. But when ChrisC comes up with such utter tosh it’s very hard to keep it polite, especially on a day when the Labour Party just scored one of its great own goals, ignoring its own members in an undemocratic farce of epic proportions. But lets try, for a minute at least, to look at facts, eh, Chris. Have you got any facts to say that the polls are biased – or do they just give results that you don’t like. Because the fact is that most people who voted Remain are young and most Labour voters are young. And most Labour supporters are (very) against Brexit. And on the other hand most Leavers are old and most older voters are Tory (or Faragist), whatever they might have voted 30 years ago. You can’t wish that away Chris. You can’t pretend it isn’t true just because it doesn’t fit in with your world view. Please, just for a moment open your mind to what’s actually going on. This isn’t 1976. It’s 2019 and it’s horrible.

  4. Gary

    True, of course, but little else could have been done in the circumstances.

    You have Messrs Corbyn & McDonnel, popular even in Scotland where Labour are now placing FOURTH. The problem is the PLP are a different animal and are the party’s worst enemy at the polls. You don’t even need a “Conservative” press when you have Watson et al putting out stories against Corbyn and giving speeches that constantly contradict confirmed Labour Party policy. This group have constantly sought to oust Corbyn and have resorted to the dirtiest of dirty tricks even extensively damaging their own party as part of the plan. The BBC, for example, are ‘Labour friendly’ and run many stories on the NHS which should bolster support for Labour. However, they have also gone to great lengths to run stories that are specifically anti-Corbyn too. It’s not that they hate Labour per se, it’s that they hate anything that isn’t ‘Blairite’ Labour.

    Luckily Labour has not followed suit with the LibDems and has not gone full ‘revoke Article 50’ The party faithful would do well to remember that most of their votes DON’T come from party members. Even many lifelong voters aren’t members. That being the case they may, or may not, have decided to vote Leave in 2016. But, contrary to what the BBC, newspapers etc would have us believe, this nation is NOT divided. Yes, a few extremists outside Westminster ARE divided but not the other 90% of us. We’ve all moved on in the past three years. We’re sick of it and want it resolved. Those who voted leave, after voting in a referendum the government promised to enact, having the majority of parliament (including Labour in opposition) vote to enact the result, then vote to trigger Article 50 and debate exactly HOW to do that for three years – fully expect the result to be implemented within the next few months. Those who voted Remain, voted ALSO expecting the result to be implemented, voted then saw a result that they didn’t want/vote for BUT, as usual in this country, they ALSO respected and expect to be implemented as that is the very CORE of our democracy. Even THEY will be angry if after ALL of this any government had the temerity to simply overturn the result.

    But what about a second referendum, a ‘People’s Vote’ because we didn’t know then what we know now and we could choose between a ‘new deal’ and Remain on the ballot? NO! Again, this is a terrible idea. You can’t have ANOTHER vote on the same issue without first implementing the result of the first one. To do so is to ignore/devalue/overturn the first one, again, this is simply anti-democratic and all of the wording used is simply to cover that inescapable fact. There is NO way to cancel Brexit democratically. The ONLY thing that COULD be done to have membership is to leave THEN have a vote to rejoin, using the facts of the consequences of leaving as a campaigning tool.

    The other reason such a vote can’t take place is that there is no chance of Labour securing any kind of a different deal than May did. That deal has been boxed in and the EU countries resolve remains strong. The only democratic way to have a vote on the subject of leaving the EU is to vote on the METHOD by which we leave ie May’s deal or ‘no deal’ on a ballot. Although it’s not much of a vote as it simply represents how we leave and not the ‘future relationship’ Unless Labour gets a MASSIVE majority it will be beset by the same problems the Tories have, Labour is split on this and there is nothing the party can coalesce around except, perhaps, their willingness to kick the can further down the road in the hopes they’re not actually elected and can get to blame the Tories for decades to come for the mess they’ve made…

Comments are closed.