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How anti-Brexit campaign groups are coming together

February 12, 2018 6:35 PM
By Mark Pack Author, 101 Ways To Win An Election

Exit from BrexitBusiness Insider has been looking at the coming together of several different pro-European groups to form a new, more effective push against Brexit:

The rise of pro-EU groups such as the Scientists for EU, Best For Britain and the New European newspaper has created an increasingly powerful, but disparate pro-European movement…

Now for the first time, these groups have joined together under the "Grassroots Coordination Group (GCG)" which is chaired by Labour MP Chuka Umunna and championed by Conservative MP Anna Soubry, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas, and Jo Swinson, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats.

This sort of cooperation with people outside the Liberal Democrats who share the party's views on a particular issue is just the sort of approaching argued for in Reinventing the Liberal Democrats and which the party's proposed new strategy supports.

Crucially this new group recognises the importance of shifting grassroots opinion on Brexit. How to do that?

  • The GCG believes there are two fundamental factors which will tip the balance away from a hard Brexit.

  • Firstly, it senses a dynamic which favoured Leave campaigners in 2016 has been flipped on its head.

  • Two years ago, Remain figures were "straight-jacketed" by the obligations of being a government-led campaign, Umunna said, while the Leave campaign's anti-status quo pitch put it on the front foot with more room to manoeuvre.

  • Now Leavers are in government and on the back foot as their campaign promises are held to account…

  • Secondly, GCG campaigners believe they are both outnumbering and outarguing their pro-Brexit counterparts.

  • The group plans to campaign in constituencies nationwide - north and south, Leave and Remain - while Umunna is scheduled to appear in a number of debates. "There will be door-to-door campaigning and stands in your local high street, but also online campaigning and big rallies across the country," the Labour MP for Streatham said.

Swinson conferenceJo Swinson says of this push,

  • The energy and the passion are absolutely on the side of the people who want to see Britain's future inside the European Union.

  • That is where the energy is.

  • 2018 is going to be pivotal. There's absolutely still a chance that we can choose a different path. It's perfectly reasonable for people to look at the facts as they know them after this negotiation and then decide what the way forward ought to be…

  • What this is about is putting aside party politics for the good of the country. This transcends normal politics.

Cooperating across party lines is also very much part of Vince Cable's approach as he highlighted in response to pro-European comments by Labour and Conservative MPs:

  • It is good to see cross-party cooperation between Tory and Labour rebels. But the truth is that the the Lib Dems are the only party united and consistent in opposing the hard Brexit pursued both by Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn and calling for the public to have the final say on the deal.

  • I am optimistic that the rebellions in both Tory and Labour parties will spread in coming weeks. My party is working with them, currently in the Lords. If any Tory and Labour parliamentarians are forced out by the forces of reaction in both parties, they are of course welcome to join us and continue the struggle in that way.