The “Final Say” meeting in Westminster on 14 January, co-hosted by the left-remain campaign Another Europe is Possible, the liberal remainers Best for Britain, Hope Not Hate, and the TSSA union, pitched as a discussion on how a new public vote on Brexit might be won, highlighted key questions for anti-Brexit left-wingers.
It was welcome to see key Labour MPs from the party’s left – Marsha De Cordova, Clive Lewis and Lloyd
Russell Moyle – publicly indicate their support for a new referendum in which Labour should campaign to
“remain and reform”. Russell Moyle said that “there is no good Brexit, it doesn’t exist” and De Cordova
said she believed we could and should “change hearts and minds”.
Over the coming weeks, leftwing remainers will have to decide what kind of alliances we can make.
Workers’ Liberty has previously made the case that we must not form cross-class lashups with organisations of the liberal wing of the capitalist class, but fight an independent, leftwing, working-class campaign.
In the meeting, Clive Lewis offered comradely criticism of Green MP Caroline Lucas (also speaking) for joining centrists and Tories in the People’s Vote organisation. She countered that at least she had been fighting more forthrightly against Brexit than the Labour MPs present.
The AWL made the case against Another Europe forming any front with Best for Britain, who were also
represented on the panel and among the audience. Leftwing commentator Paul Mason responded that on
this issue he would work with anyone, and cited archreactionary Winston Churchill’s offer during WW2 to
unify Britain and France as a supposed example of the longstanding strain of “progressive conservatism”
that he wished to tap into. Another Europe organiser Michael Chessum suggested that potentially a
compromise could be found to work together without sacrificing political independence.
Mason’s longstanding position that remainers should concede ground on free movement also came up
and was echoed by IPPR thinktank chief Tom Kibasi. Chessum, Lucas and the AWL all argued that it
would be wrong from both a pragmatic and principled perspective for the left to brook any such
As a referendum becomes more likely, the left will come under increasing pressure to make concessions.
It must have the courage of its convictions, stick to principled alliances within the left and labour movements, and build a credible voice for remaining in the EU to be part of a fight for socialist transformation across the continent.