Jude's letter response about Remain & Reform

Originally published in The Guardian, Monday 10 June 2019

Labour remainers don’t view the EU as an “earthly paradise” across the Channel, and we definitely aren’t “starry-eyed” with regards to its shortcomings (Corbyn is right. Labour needs both leavers and remainers, 6 June).

In thinking so, Larry Elliott risks falling into the 2016 referendum trap. Our EU membership isn’t a binary good or bad issue fixed with a simple yes or no answer. And a future public vote with remain as an option should not be interpreted as a collective desire to keep the status quo.

Labour MEPs have long pushed for reforms within the EU, and we stand proudly before our achievements as one of the most progressive delegations in the European parliament. Our draft manifesto Remain, Reform, Rebel was at the heart of our campaign messaging for these unexpected EU elections, and it calls for a Europe for the many, not the few, with reformed domestic policies, reimagined foreign ones and ambitious targets for tackling the climate crisis. As one of the 10 returning Labour MEPs, I am committed to starting this new mandate – however long it may be – on a proactive agenda for change.

When remainers like myself argue that we already have the best deal as members of the EU, we don’t mean it can’t get any better. We’re warning that it would be significantly worse if we let ourselves turn into a post-Brexit dystopia on the other side of the Channel.

Do you think the North East needs its own voice in the EU exit negotiations?

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