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LibDem leader warns against inaction

Rennie urges Labour moderates to support Brexit vote

Willie Rennie

Willie Rennie: ‘the Labour leadership are just letting this happen’

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie last night urged Labour moderates to join the campaign to secure a vote on the terms of the Brexit deal.

Mr Rennie called on remainers within the Labour camp to heed what he believes is a growing demand to give the people the final say on any Brexit deal,

This has been exacerbated, said Mr Rennie, by economic projections revealed in the UK Government’s impact assessments.

Mr Rennie,  addressing the David Hume Institute as part of a series of leader speeches, said:  “Support for a Brexit deal referendum is growing.

“There is a new argument that has crystallised in recent weeks that might encourage even more people to step up to support a Brexit deal referendum.

“It is the UK Government that has presented the facts. The new assessments that were released show that it is the poorest parts of the country that will be hit the hardest with Brexit.

“The North East, West Midlands, the North West, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will see an above average reduction compared with other parts of the country. So not only will Brexit make everyone poorer but it will exacerbate the divisions in our country.

“We will be poorer, we will be more divided and we are rejecting our neighbours.  And the Labour leadership are just letting this happen.”

He said that “many” in the Labour Party feel frustrated by their leader Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Europe.

“His long standing Bennite antipathy. His lacklustre participation in the referendum. His failure to put any real pressure on the Conservative Government. His oscillating position on our future relationship with our neighbours.

“When we look back at this time people will be astonished at the leader of the opposition. Labour has a big responsibility. It cannot stand by as we are made poorer, are more divided, and are rejecting our neighbours.

“My warning to Labour moderates is this. The people are running ahead of the people’s party. People want the final say on Brexit.

“Jeremy Corbyn is not playing a long game on Brexit. He does not have a masterplan to swing into action at the last minute. You will get to the last minute. You will check your watch and he won’t be there but Brexit will be.

It is time for pro-EU progressives in the Labour Party to speak out.

“To those who are angry and frustrated with their leadership, now is the time to speak out. Vague complaints about Brexit won’t be enough.  You need to show how to escape from it.  Join us to make that case before it is too late.”

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