Labour Party right lead demands for second Brexit referendum
29 March 2018
Jeremy Corbyn was forced to sack Owen Smith on Friday after the Labour front bench minister called for a second referendum on British withdrawal from the European Union in the Guardian.
The op-ed by Smith, the shadow minister for Northern Ireland, put him publicly at odds with Labour’s official opposition to a second referendum. His repudiation of party policy was occasioned by the deal struck between Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU earlier this month on the proposed Brexit transition period, between March next year and December 2020.
To arrive at a deal, May abandoned all of her so-called “red lines”, including agreeing to abide by European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings and to continue paying into the EU budget until 2064, as well as ensuring EU citizens full rights, including free movement, until 2027. The government also agreed that the UK will have no representation or say in the EU decisions taken during the transition.
Even so, the deal does not answer the issue of future British/EU relations regarding trade and military/intelligence collaboration, which will not be clarified until after withdrawal. An indication of the tensions emerging around this is underscored by the European Commission stating that the UK cannot automatically assume it will be part of the Galileo satellite navigation system begun in 2001 by the EU. The EC states that the encryption system for the project, which is to operate independently of the United States, would be “irretrievably compromised” if a state exiting the EU continued to have access to sensitive information.
May’s deal angered both the pro and anti-Brexit wings of the British bourgeoisie. However, the opposition of…