Brussels Labour calls for free vote on any Brexit trade deal

This resolution was passed by the Brussels Labour branch of Labour International at its meeting on Thursday 17th December

This branch notes that there is still a chance that a trade deal will emerge between the European Union and the United Kingdom and that the LOTO intends to enforce a three line whip to vote for such a deal. 

We would welcome a deal rather than no deal but recognise that this will be a bare bones deal that will not meet any of the six tests of a Brexit deal, importantly including “delivering the exact same benefits as we currently have as members of the Single Market and Customs Union.”

We recognise that any deal that is presented will be a very poor deal which will likely open the door to a slashing of workers’ rights, environmental regulations and food standards in the UK. As members of Labour International living in Europe, we are particularly affected by issues arising from a bad deal, and note with concern the effects on our freedom of movement, spousal visas and our comrades in Ireland concerning the Good Friday Agreement.

If such a deal is agreed it is likely that it will come to the House of Commons for a vote.

This branch believes that the PLP should not impose a three line whip to vote for such a deal for three reasons: 

  1. Voting for such a deal would mean endorsing a deal with the same or worse characteristics that Labour has so strongly criticised for the last three years.   
  2. Voting for such a deal would give Johnson the triumph of a huge majority for his deal, which would give the appearance of Labour endorsing his negotiating strategy, including his threat to break international law. The PLP cannot be seen to be endorsing such threats to international treaties, regardless of any caveats it may apply. 
  3. Voting for such a deal would mean that the PLP also co-owns the deal and its numerous consequences and failings, making it difficult to later criticise the government for its shortcomings regarding the deal. 

The branch resolves to call upon LOTO not to endorse a three line whip to vote for the deal and to instead allow a free vote on the deal (with the option to abstain).