Over a thousand pro-European campaigners from scores of groups across the country, including Labour supporters, have written to Sir Keir Starmer urging him to rethink his stance on Brexit.
Activists say the Labour leader should recognise the reality that Brexit isn’t working and that, in the national interest, the question of the UK’s relationship with the European Union will need to be revisited sooner rather than later.
The letter was organised by Grassroots for Europe, founded three years ago as a peer network for the local pro-EU civil society campaign groups which sprang up across the country around and after the 2016 referendum.
They say a more positive relationship with Europe could be a vote winner for Labour if argued “with clarity and conviction”, with the threat of Russian aggression and closer ties to America likely to win people over.
The national chair of GfE, John Gaskell said, “The Covid-19 pandemic masked the first effects of Brexit, and forced us to pause and scale down our campaigning. But across the country, polls show that doubts over the 2016 vote continue to grow, and many people who voted Leave have now seen that Brexit has no benefits.
“People have seen a business struggle or fail, had their future taken away, been made insecure and suffered deep personal dislocation and distress.
“Many of our people are shocked to hear the blanket dismissal of even the possibility of rethinking Brexit. It defies common sense and risks tying Sir Keir’s own hands when a Labour government has to deal with the continuing damage of a Brexit that isn’t working.
“Our supporters come from a well-informed and motivated part of the electorate – one that might at the next General Election be willing to at least lend their votes to a Labour Party that properly reflects our progressive and internationalist outlook.”