Former Europe minister Caroline Flint tells Labour to 'embrace Brexit'

Written by James Millar on 18 July 2017 in Diary

Former Europe minister Caroline Flint has urged her Labour colleagues to stop predicting Brexit will fail and 'embrace' it. 

Former Europe minister Caroline Flint has urged her Labour colleagues to stop predicting Brexit will fail and 'embrace' it. 

Amid ongoing confusion over the Labour position on Brexit veteran Doncaster MP Flint warned that the public would view any attempt to stay in the customs union and European single market as an attempt to "wriggle out" of the result. She warned that voters could recognise that staying in the single market represented "staying in the EU in all but name". Last weekend shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey claimed Labour wanted to 'have it's cake and eat it' re Brexit.

Flint dismissed recent comments by Tony Blair about immigration by pointing at that both he and Gordon Brown could have attempted to reform freedom of movement while they were in Number 10.

Instead she urged her party to accept Brexit and not to sabotage Theresa May's huge programme of legislation to disentangle the UK from Europe for the sake of it. Since Labour went into the general election arguing that the issue of whether or not Britain was leaving the EU was settled by last year's referendum she urged colleagues not to 'change tack'. 

Speaking at an event at think tank Policy Exchange she said: "We cannot spend the next 18 months voting down every one of the Tories' EU bills. If we do so, we will look like liars. That is not to say there should not be scrutiny of the Great Repeal Bill - or 'Great Adoption Bill' as it should be named. Instead we can either hope Britain fails and keep predicting disaster - I never think that reads well on a leaflet or begin to build ideas that help Britain succeed.

"We have to leave the trench warfare of the referendum behind and bring voters together, whether they voted Leave or Remain."



Flint held her seat at the general election despite a Tory challenge fuelled by former Ukip voters. She challenged analysis that talked up Labour success at the election pointing out that the Conservatives piled on voters in many northern seats that had voted Leave, among older voters and among the working class. She warned that Labour must "embrace Brexit and build policies that meet the challenge." 




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