Don’t vote Labour in European elections

by Hugo Dixon | 30.04.2019

Labour has twice whipped in favour of a referendum and will probably do so again. But its manifesto for the European Parliament elections is too wishy-washy to support. Pro-Europeans should not vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s party on May 23.

Instead, they should vote for one of the parties that is unambiguously in favour a People’s Vote: the Greens, Liberal Democrats or Change UK. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Alliance Party and the SDLP also fit the bill.

Voters who agree that stopping Brexit is the urgent priority should not reward Labour for umming and ahhing. If they vote for another party, Corbyn will see how failing to pin his colours to the mast has a cost.

We will still need Labour’s votes in Westminster to get a new referendum. And they can probably be counted on. After all, the party is most unlikely to agree an alternative Brexit deal with the Tories – because either one or both parties would split in the process.

But this is not 100% certain. And in the event that Corbyn does a deal with Theresa May, he is not committed to a confirmatory referendum on it. So we must keep the pressure on Corbyn.

This is especially important since there could be a general election later this year. If Labour gets away with its fudged European manifesto, it may try to repeat the trick in a general election. A strong showing for the parties which back a referendum without quibbles would be a shot across its bows.

Some will say that pro-Europeans should still vote for Labour to stop Nigel Farage’s Brexit party coming first on May 23. This is exactly the wrong conclusion. If Farage wins the election, Labour supporters will know that Corbyn is to blame and there will be an outcry. The pressure on him to take a pro-European line in both the coming parliamentary battles and a possible general election will get greater.

Others will say that pro-Europeans should still support excellent Labour candidates such as Richard Corbett, the leader of the party’s MEPs. In an ideal world, it would be wonderful if he was returned to the European Parliament. But if we don’t stop Brexit, it will be futile to elect him. Far better to hold Corbyn’s feet to the fire by denying Labour votes.

Yet others will be tempted to vote for the likes of Andrew Adonis, one of the vice chairs of the European Movement. But Adonis was last week forced to pay homage to Corbyn’s fudge and mudge. The best service he could now do for the cause would be to resign his candidacy and suggest that voters back another party.

Finally, it will be said that we need to talk up Labour’s pro-referendum credentials. When the votes are tallied and pundits calculate whether pro-European parties did better than pro-Brexit ones, we will want to include its votes in our column.

That’s true. And Labour, on balance, is a pro-referendum party. But its commitment is not clear cut. And anybody who instead backs a party that is not hedging its bets won’t detract from the total number of votes for the pro-Europeans. They will, though, give a strong signal to Corbyn not to repeat today’s error.

A reference to the votes being tallied on May 24 was removed shortly after publication.

Published and promoted by Hugo Dixon on behalf of Referendum Facts Ltd., Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London SW1P 4QP

Edited by Jenny Sterne

18 Responses to “Don’t vote Labour in European elections”

  • The country cannot both Brexit and remain in the EU. And labour cannot be both a Brexit and a Remain party, it will simply be distrusted by both sides. As for Adonis, a very able man, but yes he should resign his MEP candidacy. In fact Adonis, Starmer, Watson and all other pro-EU labour people should form a new European party, leaving just Corbyn, Milne, Tricket, and a handful of others in the labour party.

  • I’m afraid that for my partner and Myself, Labour is finished. There are many good people in the Labour Party, But I will never vote for them again. Failure to take a stand on this issue, to prolong the suffering of European-British people who seem to be perpetually trapped in something akin to the aftermath of a civil war and partition, is manifestly unforgivable. People are suffering now and these gutless wonders and self- serving talking heads like Rebecca Long-Bailey are not politicians I care to see or hear any more of. Jeremy Corbyn is no better than Jeremy Hunt or any other slimy Tory willing to gamble with people’s lives. The Labour Party, like the Tory party, will never govern alone again. They do not have the vision to lead and are lead by animated hatstands.

  • No problem we certainly will not be voting for Labour fudge. The Majority of labour constituencies voted to leave the eu. It is about time labour realised if they wish to win a GE they need the seats that voted leave. Even the local Labour MP has advised to vote for the Vote Brexit Party if eu elections are held. I and virtually every labour voter here will most certainly be voting for Farage.

  • Phil. You are deluded if you believe Brexit will make things better in your area. No government in a post Brexit world will do anything substantial to help you. This is particularly true if the Tories are in power. They believe in a small state with private enterprise running the show. Private enterprise only goes where the money is. Farage is not bothered about the working class; he is only interested in himself. Deregulation and a private enterprise free for all suits him and the likes of Aaron Banks. Labour has indeed let you down but remaining in the EU is the best option for future prosperity. Personally I agree with everything Bob has said above. I have voted Labour for 50 years but no more. The Greens will get my vote. Corbyn is putting himself first, he is desperate to be PM and hence the fudge. He is as bad as the Tories and l for one will never lend him
    my support after this sell out.

  • I knew this would happen. Corbyn has been useless in opposition. The worst Tory government in living memory and he has failed to lay a finger on them. He should be leading in the polls by a country mile but has lacked the charisma. I agree with Bob (above) and will never vote for Labour as long as Corbyn is leader. He is more interested in preserving his chance of becoming PM than saving the country from the Tory inspired disaster which is Brexit.
    To Phil (above): Farage is not interested in the working class. He supports himself and wants deregulation so that he and his financial friends can make more money. If Farage gets his way and the U.K. leaves the EU do you really believe things are magically become prosperous in your area? If there is a Tory government post Brexit ( if it happens) you will get nothing. They want a small state with private enterprise left to source the needs of the population. It does not work! Your wish to leave is a wish for future uncertainty and a long period of stagnation as the powers that be try to reset the economy. Brexit is crazy.

  • The problem is if you don’t vote labour be they Pro remain or leave – who knows – all you are doing is giving right and far right seats – the other parties are too small to gain seats. I can see us slipping into fascism because we decided to go for smaller parties. The PR system used for EU elections still favours main parties and unfortunately brexit party and UKIP will get a lot of votes.

  • Oh how nice to disagree with Hugo. There’s a first time for everything, I suppose. Surely we should aim to support Labour in some regions and oppose them in others. This, rather than blanket opposition, is the way to teach Corbyn a lesson. Whether he’ll learn it or not is, of course, open to considerable doubt

  • If the European elections are to be treated as a proxy for a People’s Vote, we should be encouraging all voters to choose a party which is unambiguous in its support.
    Labour had the chance today to declare itself as a “pro People’s Vote” party. It decided not to do so, which must be very frustrating for those individual Labour Party members, as well as MPs and MEPs, who’ve been really strong advocates for a People’s Vote, or who have actively campaigned to stop Brexit.
    This is one election where tactical voting is essential – personally I support Chuka Ummuna’s call for Labour members to “lend” Change UK their votes for the Europeans.
    Those who may support Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist agenda need to be encouraged to put this to one side, at least for the duration of the Europeans. The economic impact of any form of Brexit will dramatically reduce the ability of any government to increase public spending.
    If Nigel Farage wants the European elections to be a “single issue” poll, then we should be as clear cut on the Remain side.

  • I am in complete agreement with Hugo’s piece. I shall not vote Labour for those very reasons and shall also email my MP (Labour – Sarah Jones) to advise her that the 4 votes from this household will now be cast for other parties. Hopefully at some point our total frustration with this fudging will make some difference.
    Out of interest has anyone else noticed that Seamus Milne appears close behind Kier and team in any news clip of them arriving or leaving the ‘talks’? That said his name is never listed amongst the attendees even though junior members and union people are fully recorded. For anyone unsure as to how dangerous his influence and inputs can be I recommend reading ‘All out war’ by Tim Shipman. Keep up the good work guys; victory is now possible!

  • I feel I have given the Labour Party every opportunity but no more. Corbyn has always been anti-EU and for as long as he is the leader I cannot see anything changing.

    So the question is, which pro-EU party should we vote for in order to maximise our chances of seats. The Remain camp really needs to work together and sort this out or we’ll be playing into Farage’s hands.

  • How ridiculous
    If we stay we want labour in there
    Fed up with the panicking
    As author says labour will no doubt back another referendum

    This is serious – we can’t pepper the European Parliament with the same olds!!! Come on – if we stay we need labour in there
    I’m not here to start giving corbyn messages and dont like being told to either

  • Disagree strongly with Hugo’s sweeping conclusion re Richard Corbett. Richard has been an immense force in pushing a positive European message, day in, day out. We cannot afford to lose people of this calibre.

  • Hugo is completely right. Labour, and Corbyn in particular, needs to be taught a lesson he will find it difficult to forget. Although one does wonder whether anything ever gets through to him if it’s not from Palestine, Cuba or Venezuela.

    Corbyn suffers the archetypal maverick-syndrome, based on no doubt honestly felt opinions, that do not fit with being a leader, however. In addition, he has found an unerring way of coming across as smug and sanctimonious at the same time, and has great difficulty hiding his irritation with anybody who disagrees with him. All those things combined make him supremely unsuited to appeal to “mainstream” left-leaning people, let alone those who inhabit the centre ground. Hence his inability to make any inroads into the space occupied by the other parties.

    I seriously hope the final outcome will be Brexit revoked, and Corbyn defenestrated, for I would very much like to get off my blood pressure medication.

  • Corbyn has had his day. For a small group of extremists to seize control of a democratic party and ignore the membership is unsustainable. The writing is on the wall for Corbyn.

  • Remainers – we have been betrayed by Corbyn and his cabal of Stalinists. They need to be sent a message they understand – don’t vote Labour, switch to a Remain party, whichever is strongest in your area. I’ve voted Labour in every GE since 1979 but no longer. Bollox to brexit, bollox to Corbyn.

  • Poor journalism, no publication should advise anyone to vote a particular way based on one aspect. Sadly, we all know that a vote for any other party other than Labour is a vote for the conservatives (fptp and gerrymandered boundary lines considered) and this country cannot afford to have the conservatives dismantling it anymore. I’ll be voting Labour as they really are the only true alternative if anyone truly wants change and progressive politics for the UK. Hopefully we can then force the issue of Proportional Representation and/or STV

  • Unusually Hugo has missed something: Labour’s EU election manifesto maybe ambiguous regarding a confirmatory vote BUT if the Labour – Conservative talks fail then the manifesto policy becomes unambiguous and a confirmatory vote is policy.

    So don’t whip up hatred of Labour just yet because we need their numbers in parliament for a People’s Vote. Without Labour support we won’t get one and we don’t want Farage winning in the EU elections.

    Whip up pressure on Labour to stick to Keir Starmer’s six tests including “the exact same benefits” of any deal or require a confirmatory vote.