By Chuka Umunna MP, Chair of Vote Leave Watch
A plan that calls for more than 30,000 doctors and nurses to be laid off, and an end to free NHS treatment for people needing vital procedures including hysterectomies, orthodontics and tonsillectomies. An attitude that sees the NHS as “unsustainable.” And this plan praised by a senior Conservative cabinet minister who campaigned to leave the European Union in the referendum last year.Read more
By Chuka Umunna MP, Chair of Vote Leave Watch
Like everyone – indeed, most of the Cabinet – I was not expecting this general election. Perhaps naively, I took the Prime Minister at her word when she repeatedly pledged that the current parliament would keep going until 2020. While I welcome any opportunity to get rid of a Tory Government, it is quite clear that the Prime Minister’s public rationale for calling this general election was cynical and dishonest.Read more
By Chuka Umunna MP, Chair of Vote Leave Watch
For months, all the economic evidence has shown that this government’s plan to take Britain out of the EU’s customs union after Brexit will damage our economy. Even the government’s own statistics have forecast that UK growth will take a 4.5 per cent hit as a result – costing each family in this country thousands of pounds. They have blithely ignored this evidence, pretending instead that we will negotiate a customs arrangement with the EU that delivers the “exact same benefits” as our current position – even though everyone knows this is a fantasy.Read more
Theresa May's Brexit plan makes no sense for Britain but all the sense in the world for internal Tory politics
By Chuka Umunna MP
There is no doubt about it: this Conservative Government is hurtling like a runaway train towards a hard, ideological Brexit, with a weak Prime Minister lacking the guts to stand up to the reckless right-wingers sitting in the driving seat. From the moment she gave her Lancaster House speech in January setting out her approach, there could be no doubt about it and we should not be afraid of saying so.Read more
A majority of people who participated in last year’s referendum voted to leave the European Union. Now, as a result, the Prime Minister has announced the two-year process for our withdrawal will now begin. But this unelected Prime Minister has no mandate to pursue Brexit in a way that will make our country poorer, and jeopardise British jobs and livelihoods.
During the 2015 general election campaign, the Conservative Party made an unconditional commitment in their manifesto to “safeguard British interests in the single market” regardless of the referendum outcome. “We say yes to the single market,” they proclaimed.Read more
The five Brexiteers should be forced to keep their £350m promise to the NHS – it deserves every penny
The current Government is planning damaging and unnecessary cuts to accident and emergency departments at a time when the service is under its greatest strain for many years. During the referendum on our membership of the European Union, the Leave campaigners promised an extra £350 million a week in funding for the NHS. Instead of slashing away at vital services, the Government should keep the promises made by leading members of the Cabinet, like Boris Johnson, and give our National Health Service the resources it needs to overcome the immense pressures it is under. To those Leave Ministers and MPs, people who voted Leave and Remain say put your money where your mouth is and support the amendment signed by over 50 MPs, which I have tabled, to the Article 50 legislation requiring the government to set out how it will make good on the key Vote Leave promise.Read more
Today, the bill giving the Government the power to trigger Article 50 – the mechanism by which we will leave the EU – will start to be debated in the House of Commons. This is a golden opportunity for MPs who want to support our National Health Service, and deliver on the will of the people, to ensure the Government fulfils the Leave campaign’s pledge to spend £350 million more a week on our NHS, something most Remain voters can back, too.Read more
With the Prime Minister’s speech on Brexit today, Britain took another important step down a historic road – out of the EU, destination unknown. It is the British public’s bad luck that we are being driven by a Government which is voluntarily making its negotiating hand worse and enthusiastically talking up the prospect of its negotiation failing, publicly advertising a Plan B that would be catastrophic for working people and their families.Read more
Once again, our National Health Service is in a winter crisis. Last week, nearly a quarter of patients waited in A&E for more than the four-hour target introduced by the last Labour Government. Astonishingly, just one hospital in the whole of England hit the target. The number of patients being treated in under four hours is now the lowest it has been since the target was created.Read more
Just two days short of Christmas, 23 December marks another, less pleasant anniversary – six months since Britain voted to leave the European Union. A few weeks after that, I co-founded the Vote Leave Watch campaign to hold the Leave campaigners to account, particularly those who found themselves in the new government, with the power to fulfil the promises they made during the campaign.Read more
In The Autumn Statement, The Government Failed To Deliver On The Promises Of Their Pro-Leave Members
The Chancellor needed to use his Autumn Statement on Wednesday to build an economy that worked for everyone. But the measures he announced were too little, too late; his efforts were undermined by the catastrophic economic impacts of Brexit; and he has broken the promises his colleagues in Cabinet who led the Leave campaign.
The challenge for politicians in modern Britain is to craft an economy that works for everyone. An economy which delivers prosperity for all in every part of our country - rich and poor, North and South, London and the rest. Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer failed comprehensively to do so.Read more
The government pretends there are no downsides to a 'Hard Brexit' But leaked Treasury figures have shown they're living in a fantasy world.
In the parallel universe inhabited by government ministers, Brexit is presenting absolutely no problems to Britain whatsoever. Just yesterday, David Davis airily said that there is “no downside” to Brexit. No downside. At all. Encouraging, isn’t it?
But in the real world, sorrows are coming in battalions. Take today’s bombshell revelation in The Times that leaked Treasury reports (kept secret by ministers) forecast a loss to the public finances of as much as £66billion a year if Britain leaves the EU Single Market and trades with the EU under World Trade Organisation rules.Read more
Turkey, a country of 76 million people, which borders Syria and Iraq, will be a full member of the European Union by 2020. By 2024, a million Turks will have moved to the United Kingdom. And a few years after that, armed Turkish gangs will be marauding through sleepy British towns and villages.
That was the message the Vote Leave campaign, led by Boris Johnson, pushed relentlessly throughout the referendum on our EU membership.
So you would have thought that, once Boris was promoted to the dizzying heights of Foreign Secretary, he would do everything in his power to dampen speculation that Turkey would become part of Europe.Read more
Despite the disappointment many of us feel after the vote to leave the European Union back in June, there is a path forward for the progressive left. We must hold the Conservative leave campaigners to account for the impossible promises they made during the referendum campaign, while pushing for a progressive Brexit deal with the EU.
First, it is important to say that our party must accept and respect the decision made by 17 million leave voters. But the form Brexit takes is up to parliament. Our party must play a full role in shaping it. And the deal that emerges must take into account the wishes of the 48 per cent as well as the 52 per cent.Read more
The result of the European Union referendum was devastating for everyone who passionately believes that Britain is stronger, safer and better off as part of the EU. I know that the vast majority of us in the Labour family feel deeply disappointed. But we should be proud that we fought the good fight in making a principled and distinctively Labour case for Britain’s place in Europe.
But the people have spoken and it is up to us to make the best we can of the situation.
So what now? Can Labour contribute to the debate and ensure that all our communities benefit from what follows? Notwithstanding the difficulties the leadership situation has imposed, the answer is undoubtedly yes. Labour’s post-referendum strategy needs to be based on two related pillars, which allow us to stay true to our internationalist and pro-European convictions; do what is best for Britain; and take the fight to the Tory government.Read more
The citizens of other European countries are human beings like the rest of us. It is a disturbing sign of the times that that needs to be stated. But with the Tory government refusing to rule out changes in status for EU citizens who currently live here in Britain, it’s more important to emphasise than ever. That’s why Labour must fight to ensure the government guarantees the right to remain, and the right to equal treatment, for EU nationals living in the UK. That’s why Vote Leave Watch, the campaign I chair, has started a petition on this vital issue.
During the EU referendum campaign, the Vote Leave campaign repeatedly reassured the British people that a vote for Brexit would boost the economy and create jobs. And they dismissed all expert warnings of the consequences of a vote to leave - from the Bank of England, IMF, Treasury and others.
But Monday has seen just the latest in a series of shockingly bad economic numbers. It’s less than six weeks since Britain voted to leave, but already the consequences are being felt. The Markit PMI survey of manufacturers, which picks up data every month on output, orders, employment and other metrics, has collapsed into negative territory. Falling from 52.4 to 48.1, it is now at its lowest level for four years.
Like almost all of my Labour colleagues, and the 16 million people who voted to remain in the EU back in June, I was bitterly disappointed by the result of the referendum. However, we have to accept the result and focus on negotiating the best possible deal for Britain, which retains as many of the advantages of our EU membership as possible. And I hope Brexit will not leave working people worse off.
But that doesn’t mean that the Leave campaigners in the referendum should not be held to account for the promises they made and the policies they advanced during that campaign. Theresa May’s government is dominated by Vote Leave ministers. Their campaign is now at the heart of the British government.Read more
It is hard to believe that the referendum on our EU membership took place just one month ago today. But the passage of time should not mean that we forget what the Vote Leave campaigners promised during the referendum campaign.
It matters because Theresa May’s government is dancing to a Vote Leave tune. The three Brexiteers – Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox – are in charge of negotiating our exit from the EU. Vitally important departments like Transport, Environment and International Development are under the control of Leave campaigners.
So the promises Vote Leave ministers made during the referendum aren’t old news. They are policy commitments that made up the case for the most significant political event of my lifetime. And the sad fact is that in the past month, senior Leave campaigners have already started breaking their promises with stunning speed and shamelessness.Read more
Today, I’ve launched Vote Leave Watch, a new grassroots campaign to hold Leave campaigners to account for the promises they made during the EU referendum - and to call them out when they fail to deliver.
During the EU referendum, the Leave campaign accused Remain campaigners like me of engaging in ‘Project Fear’. But the truth is that they themselves were peddling ‘Project Fantasy’.
They claimed, repeatedly, that leaving the EU would do no damage whatsoever to the British economy. They drove a huge red bus around the country with the words “We send the EU £350million a week, let’s fund the NHS instead” emblazoned down the side. And they promised to negotiate an exit deal with the EU based on “free trade and friendly co-operation” which would allow Britain, unlike Norway, Switzerland or Iceland, to simultaneously restrict immigration from Europe.Read more
The Brexit battlebus has gone into a screeching u-turn so let’s keep an eye on Vote Leave’s broken promises
I’m proud of the role Labour activists played in the referendum campaign. Proud of the thousands of members, supporters and trades unionists who went out on the doorstep night after night, taking the message that working people were stronger, safer and better off with the UK in the European Union. And like so many of us, I’m bitterly disappointed that in the end, it didn’t prove to be enough.
The aftermath of the referendum has caused an earthquake in British politics. But it is vital that, no matter what happens over the coming weeks and months, we do not take our eyes of the EU ball as the next Tory prime minister negotiates Brexit in a Government dominated by a Vote Leave agenda.Read more