THE LABOUR candidate who recently called her Independent challenger “confused” is now confusing voters herself by appearing to support a Labour rebel pamphlet on “Brexit” policy.
Two days ago, Labour candidate Chuka Umunna launched a pamphlet entitled Stop Hard Brexit: Why London needs the Single Market. Coming out just before Labour’s official manifesto, it was heralded as a challenge to official Labour policy, which calls for the UK to negotiate an agreement which retains the “benefits” of the Single Market, but not necessarily membership of it.
Umunna’s disagreement seems to centre on how Labour can appeal to communities which voted for Brexit. He writes, “We cannot reach out to communities that voted for Brexit by backing a policy [leaving the Single Market] that makes them poorer.” Labour appears to doubt that you can appeal to these voters by ignoring how they voted in the referendum or by fudging your response. It is concentrating on making sure that the workers rights and civil liberties enjoyed in the UK which came from the EU are retained.
The Evening Standard claims that the rebel pamphlet is supported by Bethnal Green & Bow Labour candidate Rushanara Ali as well as by East Ham Labour candidate Stephen Timms and half a dozen other former rebel London Labour MPs.
Mr Umunna is no stranger to confusion, having entered the Labour leadership contest in 2015 but withdrawing his name almost immediately. Ms Ali is no stranger to confusion either, having said of her rival candidate Ajmal Masroor, “…he is exercising his right to stand as a candidate. But he stood as a Liberal Democrat against me in 2010 and how he’s standing as an independent and I think that is confusing.”
It is not known whether Ms Ali’s voters will be confused by her apparent support for the rebel position on Brexit or whether there will be other official Labour policies she will not support. ELN has contacted Ms Ali but she has not yet replied.
In the meantime, the Tower Hamlets Momentum Group has made it clear that it supports the official party position and all official Labour candidates, stating:
“Tower Hamlets Momentum notes with regret that Chuka Umunna, Labour candidate for Streatham, has issued a pamphlet outlining his personal position on Brexit and counterposing this to the policy which will be outlined in the Labour Party Manifesto. We also regret that Rushanara Ali, Labour candidate in Bethnal Green and Bow, appears to be supporting this alternative platform. Nonetheless, we call on voters in Bethnal Green and Bow to vote for Rushanara Ali, the official Labour candidate – and for voters across London to vote for their official Labour Party candidate.”
•Read Rushanara Ali’s comments about Ajmal Masroor: