When the EU referendum took place, nobody voted to put jobs at risk, prolong austerity, or tear up our rights at work or as consumers. But this is precisely what the Tory Government is now doing.
As Jeremy Corbyn said in February 2018, with a Prime Minister held to ransom by the hard right of her party and unable to provide any direction, the Conservatives are ‘on a road to nowhere’ because they still cannot agree on our future relationship with the EU.
The hypocrisy of the SNP is staggering. Nicola Sturgeon claims to support the European Single Market, but at the same time she wants Scotland to leave the single market with its largest trading partner, the UK.
That’s why it is our party, the Labour Party, which has a historic opportunity -and a duty – to set out a clear direction for our country. Working in the national interest, our party can help marshal a majority for a different course which ends austerity, and promotes equality, social justice and environmental sustainability.
There is now a clear dividing line between Labour’s vision for a jobs-first Brexit, and the Tories’ plan to inflict economic ruin on our country. It is right that Labour seeks to take all necessary steps to ensure the UK permanently participates in a customs union on the same terms as we do now, as Jeremy Corbyn has said.
But if we are to leave the EU, the only way to tackle austerity, protect jobs, and defend our hard-won rights for workers and consumers is to remain in both the Single Market and Customs Union.
If we want to be able to fund our anti-austerity manifestos, we can’t afford a multi-billion pound hit to the public finances. That would leave the governments in Holyrood and Westminster with less money for schools and hospitals in Scotland and across the UK.
One of Labour’s proudest achievements is the Good Friday Agreement. The only way we can prevent a hard border between Ireland and the UK is to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union.
And if we want to build a modern, low-carbon economy that protects workers and tackles tax avoidance, we will only achieve it through collaboration and frictionless trade with our nearest neighbours.
Scottish Labour can lead the way and help persuade our party to ensure the UK permanently remains in the Single Market.
Given the parliamentary arithmetic in the Commons and the numbers of MPs from other parties who have indicated they will join us in this endeavour, our country’s continued participation in a customs union and the Single Market is now in Labour’s hands. We must grab this chance before it is too late. Future generations will never forgive us if we fail to do so.
Signed in personal capacities:
Ailsa Tweedie, equality officer, Motherwell and Wishaw CLP
Alan Stewart, Chair, Glasgow Cathcart CLP
Alex Gallagher, Councillor for North Coast and Cumbraes, North Ayrshire Council
Alison Dowling, Councillor for Houston, Crosslee and Linwood, Renfrewshire Council
Barry Black, PPC for West Aberdeen and Kincardine in 2015 and 2017
Ben Procter, Chair of LGBT Labour Scotland and secretary of Eastwood CLP
Blair McDougall, vice-chair of Eastwood CLP
Cammy Day, Labour group leader, City of Edinburgh Council
Cate Vallis, youth representative, Scottish Executive Committee
Catherine Stihler, MEP for Scotland
Chris Carus, Treasurer, Glasgow Cathcart CLP
Chris Davison, vice-chair, Edinburgh Western CLP
Chris Roarty, campaign coordinator, Motherwell and Wishaw CLP
Craig Carson, vice-chair, Glasgow Cathcart CLP
Deirdre Mackay, Councillor for East Sutherland and Edderton, Highland Council
Donald MacKinnon, youth officer, Na h-Eileanan an Iar CLP
Duncan Hothersall, editor, Labour Hame
Eva Murray, Councillor for Garscadden/Scotstounhill, Glasgow City Council
Fiona Dryburgh, Councillor for East Kilbride South, South Lanarkshire Council
Frank McAveety, Labour group leader, Glasgow City Council
Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South
Jamie Glackin, former chair of Scottish Labour
Joan Griffiths, Councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston, City of Edinburgh Council
Joanne McFadden, Chair, Angus South CLP
Johanna Baxter, West Scotland and Mid Scotland and Fife representative, Scottish Executive Committee
John Erskine, Vice-chair, Inverness and Nairn CLP
John Ruddy, chair, Angus North and Mearns CLP
Karen Doran, Councillor for City Centre, City of Edinburgh Council
Katrina Murray, Vice-chair, National Policy Forum
Kenneth Duffy, Councillor for Motherwell South East and Ravenscraig, North Lanarkshire Council
Kezia Dugdale, MSP for the Lothian region
Kirsteen Sullivan, deputy leader, West Lothian Council
Kirsten Muat, Chair of Scottish Labour Students
Lillian Jones, Councillor for Kilmarnock West and Crosshouse, East Ayrshire Council
Lora Bedford, Secretary of Edinburgh Labour Students
Louise Roarty, Councillor for Murdostoun, North Lanarkshire Council
Maggie McTernan, Councillor for Victoria Park, Glasgow City Council
Malcolm Cunning, Councillor for Linn, Glasgow City Council
Martin Whitfield, MP for East Lothian
Maureen Child, Councillor for Portobello/Craigmillar, City of Edinburgh Council
Meg Whitelaw, youth representative, Scottish Executive Committee
Michael Shanks, vice-chair, Glasgow Kelvin CLP
Moh Fern Hirani, Scottish Labour Students Women’s Officer
Nicola Ross, Treasurer, Eastwood CLP
Pam Duncan-Glancy, PPC for Glasgow North in 2017
Paul Cruikshank, Secretary, Glasgow Anniesland CLP
Paul O’Kane, Councillor for Newton Mearns North and Neilston, East Renfrewshire Council
Dr Richard Simpson, former Shadow Public Health Minister
Robert Mooney, ex-President Community Trade Union and Councillor for Canal, Glasgow City Council
Sheila Gilmore, former MP for Edinburgh East
Shonagh Munro, Socialist Societies representative, Scottish Executive Committee
Sidhant Seth, Treasurer of Edinburgh Labour Students
Stephen Curran, Councillor for Newlands/Auldburn, Glasgow City Council
Stuart Murphy, chair, Dundee Labour Students
Suzan King, secretary and treasurer, Glasgow Southside CLP