Scottish Labour executive committee blocks debate on single market

Written by Jenni Davidson on 9 March 2018 in News

The party’s governing body has replaced motions on the single market with a “unity motion” on Brexit

Scottish Labour logo - Image credit: Scottish Labour

Scottish Labour’s Scottish executive committee has blocked an attempt to change the party’s policy on Brexit at this weekend’s conference.

A debate on Brexit is scheduled for Sunday morning and several constituency branches had put forward motions calling for the party to support staying in the European single market.

Had these motions been passed, this would have become official Scottish Labour policy.

However, at a meeting last night the party’s ruling body replaced these with a more general motion that will highlight party unity, protecting jobs, the return of devolved powers from Brussels and membership of a customs union with the EU.

It is understood the reason that will be given for the change is that motions have to be ‘contemporary’ and that the constituency motions were put forward before Jeremy Corbyn had clarified Labour’s position on a customs union and the Scottish Government published its continuity bill.

A Scottish Labour insider told STV News: "The executive agreeing to a unity motion is a step in the right direction.

“It will allow for a good debate on the issues.

“Hopefully everyone sees sense and makes this about policy, not personalities."

However, the decision is likely to upset those, including former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and former shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray, who have been pushing for the party to support staying in the single market.

Earlier this week the two politicians, along with Labour MEP Catherine Stihler, launched a grassroots campaigning organisation, Scottish Labour for the Single Market, to campaign on the issue.

Cancelling the vote will not remove the topic from the agenda entirely though, as there will still be fringe events at the conference to discuss the topic.

A lunchtime event on Brexit hosted by Stihler and her MEP colleague David Martin is scheduled for Friday and another hosted by Dugdale will take place on Saturday.

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