‘The Tory government is a divided shambles over Brexit and would be finished off by a large, solid group of left-wing MPs’, Liz Payne told the Communist Party’s political committee on Wednesday evening.
She was reporting after a visit to the Westminster parliament, where she had taken Palestine Peace and Solidarity Council chair Aqel Taqaz to witness Prime Minister’s question time.
Together with World Peace Council executive member Navid Shomali, they had watched as Tory MPs attacked their government and each other after the SNP parliamentary group had walked out in support of their ejected leader.
‘The tragedy is that so few Labour MPs voice a clear understanding of the imperialist, pro-big business and anti-working character of the EU and the progressive alternatives to Britain’s membership’, Ms Payne commented.
‘Instead, some Labour backbenchers are joining rebel Tories in an effort to block the democratic outcome of the 2016 EU referendum, while many other MPs including most of the Cabinet want a superficial Brexit that would still tie Britain to the neoliberal rules of the EU single market and customs union’, she added.
Ms Payne accused the EU single market and its policies of austerity, privatisation and labour flexibility of promoting uneven development across the continent. ‘One consequence is the resurgence of the far right and its bogus populism based on racism, chauvinism and anti-Muslim scaremongering’, she pointed out.
Britain’s Communists support the policy of Labour’s left-wing leadership for a post-Brexit settlement that would maintain access to the EU market – but not at the cost of a future left government’s freedom to raise funds for infrastructure investment, provide state aid to industry, regulate trade and the movement of capital, end compulsory competitive tendering, legislate against the super-exploitation of imported labour and radically reform VAT.
As for the SNP walk-out, the Communist Party chair dismissed it as ‘a pre-arranged publicity stunt’ that had negated a possible opportunity to debate the devolution to Scotland and Wales of powers being repatriated from the EU.
‘The irony is that all of those powers would have remained in Brussels had Britain voted to stay in the EU as the SNP would have wished’, Ms Payne remarked.
The CP political committee welcomed the outcome of a debate at last weekend’s conference of trades union councils in Manchester, when delegates rejected a motion urging them to organise an anti-Brexit campaign across England and Wales. The committee also received a report from CP treasurer Martin Graham that the party had surpassed the £19,170 target set for its Bolshevik Revolution centenary appeal.