The future of the left since 1884

Labour’s new Brexit position

Labour’s new Brexit position is good economics and good politics. Our general secretary, Andrew Harrop writes for LabourList.



On Monday, Jeremy Corbyn delivered a speech at the National Transport Design Centre in Coventry where he outlined his party’s new Brexit position. Labour will back a customs union to ‘ensure that there are no tariffs with Europe and to help avoid any need for a hard border in Northern Ireland’, but will not support Britain remaining in the single market. The speech marked the end of a period of relative silence from Labour on the party’s Brexit position. With Theresa May set to make an intervention of her in the coming days, our general secretary Andrew Harrop assessed the two parties’ Brexit strategies for LabourList.

On the Conservative position, Harrop writes: “In principle May’s ‘goldilocks’ Brexit – neither too distant nor too close – could attract broad public and business support. The problem is that it is not remotely possible, as wiser Tories know. By presenting it as the UK’s considered opening bid for the Brexit end-game, the Conservatives are burning credibility and wasting time.”

In contrast, Harrop explains that Labour’s new position ‘is good economics and good politics, giving the party the upper hand’. He explains that: “The position works within the Labour family because the question of a customs union does not divide Labour’s own electoral tribes – which means that only a tiny hard-core of Labour Leave campaigners will defy the party whip.”

Harrop hints that Labour’s current position on Brexit ‘may not be Labour’s final line on Brexit.’ But it is, he maintains, ‘a good one for now’.



Claire Sewell

Claire Sewell is head of media and communications at the Fabian Society


Fabian membership

Join the Fabian Society today and help shape the future of the left

You’ll receive the quarterly Fabian Review and at least four reports or pamphlets each year sent to your door

Be a part of the debate at Fabian conferences and events and join one of our network of local Fabian societies

Join the Fabian Society
Fabian Society

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.