Labour allies across EU push Jeremy Corbyn to help overturn Brexit

Written by Emilio Casalicchio on 16 April 2019 in News

Socialist MEPs representing 10 nations urged the Labour leader to run a “strong, confident pro-European” campaign

Jeremy Corbyn - Image credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images

Dozens of Labour allies from across the EU have piled pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to include a promise to overturn Brexit in his upcoming European Parliament manifesto.

Some 25 MEPs from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (PASD) have penned a letter to the Labour leader, seen by Holyrood’s sister site PoliticsHome, urging him to back a “pro-European and progressive platform”.

Corbyn has insisted a second EU referendum must remain an option to break the Brexit deadlock in Westminster but has refused to unconditionally back a fresh poll.

But the socialist MEPs representing 10 nations urged the Labour leader to run a “strong, confident pro-European” campaign to help prevent the “rise of populism” and help shape “a better future for an entire continent”.

They said: “The British Labour party must participate in the European elections and help change the balance of power in Europe.

“Labour would do well in European elections and could command a large coalition of internationalists who want to see vast social change.

“A Labour party leading the socialist group in coalition with the other European left parties could reform the EU into a project for social and environmental justice across borders.”

They said pro- and anti-EU figures on the left should “put aside our differences” to fight the far right forces that are building traction across Europe in Hungary, Italy, Holland, France and elsewhere.

The letter was spearheaded by Josef Weidenholzer, a vice president of the PASD, the second biggest grouping in the European Parliament.

He told PoliticsHome: “This shows the solidarity across all member states from our socialist sisters and brothers that they want the UK to remain in the EU.

“Labour must stand as a pro-European party as it is in the tradition and history of the party, built upon the values of internationalism, collaboration and collective bargaining. We are stronger when we stand together.”

The PASD includes Labour MEPs, who have been pushing Mr Corbyn to back a second EU referendum, and has met the party leader on numerous occasions.

Labour MEP Julie Ward added: “Since the referendum took place in 2016 my Socialist and Democrat colleagues have been hugely supportive of Labour MEPs and they remain so.

"The Labour party must stand up for European values of peace, prosperity and progressive policies in the upcoming elections, because these are shared values and I intend to promote this in my re-election campaign.”

Britain was forced to trigger the legal process for taking part in the 23 May elections after MPs refused to agree a Brexit deal, but the country could still pull out before polling day if the Commons backs an EU withdrawal plan.

It is understood that Labour MEPs are pushing for a second referendum pledge to be included in the Labour manifesto. The manifesto will be decided by the ruling Labour executive.

A Labour spokesperson declined to comment.

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