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Rennie calls on pro-EU Labour progressives to speak up to stop Brexit

February 13, 2018 5:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

In his address to the David Hume Institute on Tuesday evening, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP will urge Labour moderates and those opposed to the devastation set in motion by Brexit to join the campaign to secure a vote on the terms of the Brexit deal.

Mr Rennie will call on remainers within the Labour camp to heed changing public opinion and give the people the final say on any Brexit deal, in the wake of the disastrous economic projections revealed in the UK Government's impact assessments.

Mr Rennie will say:

"Support for a Brexit deal referendum is growing.

"There is a new argument that has crystallised in recent weeks that might encourage even more people to step up to support a Brexit deal referendum.

"It is the UK Government that has presented the facts. The new assessments that were released show that it is the poorest parts of the country that will be hit the hardest with Brexit.

"The North East, West Midlands, the North West, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will see an above average reduction compared with other parts of the country. So not only will Brexit make everyone poorer but it will exacerbate the divisions in our country.

"We will be poorer, we will be more divided and we are rejecting our neighbours. And the Labour leadership are just letting this happen.

"I know many in the Labour Party feel very frustrated by Jeremy Corbyn's approach to Europe. His long standing Bennite antipathy. His lacklustre participation in the referendum. His failure to put any real pressure on the Conservative Government. His oscillating position on our future relationship with our neighbours.

"When we look back at this time people will be astonished at the leader of the opposition. Labour has a big responsibility. It cannot stand by as we are made poorer, are more divided, and are rejecting our neighbours.

"My warning to Labour moderates is this. The people are running ahead of the people's party. People want the final say on Brexit.

"Jeremy Corbyn is not playing a long game on Brexit. He does not have a masterplan to swing into action at the last minute. You will get to the last minute. You will check your watch and he won't be there but Brexit will be.

"It is time for pro-EU progressives in the Labour Party to speak out.

"To those who are angry and frustrated with their leadership, now is the time to speak out. Vague complaints about Brexit won't be enough. You need to show how to escape from it. Join us to make that case before it is too late."