The following letter from the Oxford for Europe team was published in the Oxford Times of 24 November
We are activists in Oxford for Europe and constituents of Anneliese Dodds MP in Oxford East.
Keir Starmer says that a Labour Government will not seek to rejoin the European Union, its internal Single Market or its Customs Union, nor will it restore Freedom of Movement. In July he announced a five-point plan to “make Brexit work”.
“Making Brexit work” seems to mean a set of mitigations of Brexit such that our situation outside the EU at least no longer has a negative effect on our security and prosperity. But is this deliverable within Starmer’s multiple red lines?
The OBR estimates the ongoing cost of Brexit at 4% of our GDP – broadly in line with the Treasury’s 2018 prediction for a hard Brexit. That same prediction foresaw a GDP impact of 2% or more even for a “soft” Brexit which retained UK membership of the Single Market and Customs Union. Can Labour’s plan deliver a relationship with the EU which is not still significantly harmful to our economic interests?
We are now in a situation of sudden and deepening economic crisis. An incoming Labour government is likely to inherit an economy in recession combined with inflation, collapsed exports and a black hole in public finances. Labour can ill afford to neglect any policy instrument which will help drive economic recovery. Yet the policy widely estimated as most helpful – rejoining the Single Market – is the one which Starmer seems, despite evidence of a growing shift in public opinion, determined to exclude.
Preparing to return to government, Labour will have evaluated the benefits of its five-point Brexit plan. We believe the public needs to see the evidence for Labour’s claim that it can “make Brexit work”. We have written to Anneliese Dodds MP requesting the publication of Labour’s benefits analysis.
Howard Aiken, Dr Peter Burke, Jenifer Carpenter, Geraldine Coggins, Colin Gordon, Peter Harbour, Susan Hartman, Liz Price, Carolyn Sampson, Annete Shaw, Jo Steele, Cathie Wood, Dr Ruvi Ziegler