Clive Lewis spoke to Solidarity
One thing that hasn’t been talked about much around Brexit is how that relates to environmental issues. How do you see that connection?
Clive Lewis: Leaving Europe will mean that we will have less input into one of the biggest economic blocks in the world, and probably one of the most progressive, although that comes with some large caveats. This limits the amount of influence that we as people who are concerned about climate and economic justice can have on it. That can’t be a good thing. If we can in any way prevent that, while still respecting the terms and results of the referendum, we should do.
Labour’s quite clear on this. Our priority is stopping Theresa May’s deal, and then pushing for a general election which is in many ways the superior way of allowing the British people to decide what they want to do next and who they want to make those decisions next, based on their manifestos.
Because of the Fixed Term Act, it’ll be very difficult to get a general election, and, failing one, we could get behind a public vote to advise the government – who seem incapable of making a decision – on the next stage. There is no guarantee that Remain would win, but if it did you have the prospect of not coming out of the European Union. That would be better in the long run for fighting climate change.
There is no point staying in Europe if we’re going to allow the EU to remain the neoliberal entity it is; it has to change.
With socialists in control in Portugal and Spain, and with the rise of the right, there is an opportunity for UK Labour to be able to offer socialist leadership in Europe. We can offer hope to the SPD in Germany, the failing social democrats in Greece, in Italy, and say that there is a different Europe we can have, a social Europe, and one that puts climate change front and centre of all it does. Being in it and showing that leadership is a far better place than being outside, screaming at Europe to do those things, which won’t work.