Don’t write off Andrew Adonis yet

by Hugo Dixon | 25.04.2019

Andrew Adonis’ parroting of Labour’s mealy-mouthed Brexit policy will be vindicated if Jeremy Corbyn comes off the fence and unequivocally backs a referendum. If not, he should stand down as a candidate for the party in the European Parliament elections.

Adonis, a darling of the pro-European grassroots, has toured the country in the past year making fiery speeches against the folly of Brexit. He shocked supporters yesterday with a Facebook post which, among other things, said: “Labour has put forward a sensible alternative plan that would ensure a close economic relationship with the EU after Brexit, based on a new customs union and dynamic alignment on rights and standards.”

What on earth was the Labour peer doing backing a form of “soft” Brexit which he knows is against the national interest and makes a mockery of much of what he has said and written in the past year?

The clue is the start of Adonis’ Facebook post, where he apologised for saying on LBC earlier this year that Brexiters shouldn’t vote for the Labour Party. Nigel Farage latched onto the remark and was using it to drum up support for his new Brexit Party. Telling people not to vote for Labour contravenes party policy. If Adonis hadn’t eaten his words, he would probably have been deselected as a candidate for South West England in next month’s elections.

Many pro-Europeans will say he should have stood by his principles and become a martyr for the cause. Others will say it was unwise to stand in an election in the first place without knowing what would be in the party’s manifesto.

At time of writing 577 people had indicated on his Facebook post that they were angry and 241 that they were sad, compared to just 371 who liked it. Adonis has today sought to repair the damage by tweeting that “the people must be given the final say!”

Whether he was wise to put himself forward as a candidate and then to kowtow to Corbyn via his Facebook post largely depends on what Labour puts in its manifesto for the European elections. It is expected to finalise this next Tuesday.

There is a furious battle under way. Some are pushing for Labour to back a referendum in all circumstances. Others only want to support a public vote on the prime minister’s deal and yet others want an ambiguous policy. Adonis and the other candidates in the European elections may have some influence on the position.

If Labour does pin its colours to the referendum mast – and the early omens from the international commission of the party’s national policy forum look good – Adonis’ decision to fight from inside the tent will look sensible. If not, it will look foolish. At that point, his only way to maintain credibility would be to resign as a candidate. That’s a position other pro-Europeans standing for Labour in the elections should also take.

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This article was updated shortly after public to make reference to the international commission of Labour’s national policy forum.

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

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

11 Responses to “Don’t write off Andrew Adonis yet”

  • What this article basically shows is that you can’t both be Labour and a Remainer – something Remainers should remember when casting their votes.

  • Forced admission that he supports a soft Brexit, extracted from Adonis under duress, is a lamentable reflection on the Labour Party.

    There was no need for it, all Adonis need have done was admit he was wrong, and of course Leave voters should continue to support Labour. The referendum was three years ago and Labour will give them the opportunity to review developments since then. If they conclude in favour of Leave that’s fine, but they also get the opportunity to change their mind, which is their right.

  • Don’t write him off?!?!?! You ARE joking!!!!!! I will lend MY vote …. to a FULLY committed REMAIN candidate…… representing a FULLY committed REMAIN Party!!!!!!! Two-Tongued-Quisling Labour Central….. can simply ‘sling their hook’ … at Local AND EU level!
    Let Labour acquiesce to the Knuckle-Draggers-R-Us!!!! Count me out!

  • I am so shocked to read this. Adonis has been so effective and seemed so principled that he’s another I have cross off my list as genuine remainers.

  • I am the same as Patricia. I have followed Adonis in the New European and was under the impression he was a committed Remainer. Instead he has succumbed to Corbyn’s sit on the fence rubbish. And let’s face it, Corbyn’s ‘policy’ of a ‘customs union’ and a soft Brexit is no better than May’s dross. Adonis is a party man when it came down to a choice between Labour and his true conviction. Shame on him and
    I have voted Labour for 50 years but no more. Never again. The Remain groups should form a coalition for the EU elections so that the remain vote is not split. They have accused May of putting party before country and now they are doing the same. They are handing victory to the nicotine stained frog faced Farrage and he will cause havoc in Brussels and shame this nation. What a mess. Someone on our side needs to show some gumption and get the remain groups together. All this effort fighting the mad Brexiters and they are putting their poxy parties first. Unbelievable.

  • Inexplicable and disappointing position adopted by Adonis. How can he reconcile this with his position as one of the leaders of the European Movement ?

    What is happening to English politicians ? Where is the integrity that one expects ? Does one have to sacrifice one’s principles in order to be successful politically ? A sad state of affairs and which might explain the mess the country is in.

  • The Labour Party leaflet to be distributed nationwide before the EU election states that the party would push ahead with Brexit, and seems to discount the policy of going for a further public vote.

    I shall not be voting for a party that is still sitting on the fence about our part to play in Europe. Labour Party leaders know that Brexit is a daft experiment which will inevitably lead to the economy shrinking, and therefore reduced funds for public spending. I will vote for a party that unequivocally sets as its goal our continued full membership of the EU. That will be Change UK or Lib Dem depending on which has the better prospect of winning.

  • Do everyone, including yourself, a great favour and dismiss Labour as a worthy party, certainly where it concerns The EU. Go for LibDem or Tiggers but avoid Labour, Tories and Brexit rubble like the plague.

  • I think Adonis is trying to say that Brexit might be unstoppable at this point but soft Brexit is better than hard.