A letter to Jeremy Corbyn. We are in chaos - I beg you to back a public vote

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Dear Mr Corbyn

The words “J’accuse” have probably been overused since Émile Zola used them in his open letter to the French president, Félix Faure, on the Dreyfus affair. They are, however, appropriate when somebody in authority is failing to do what is right, and so I make no apology for using them in this open letter to you.

Mr Corbyn, I accuse you of failing to do your duty as Leader of The Official Opposition by not opposing this Conservative Government on the most important issue of our times – Brexit.

The Brexit motion passed by the Labour party conference in September included a commitment to “support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”, should the party not be able to secure a general election. Your party also agreed that it should endorse a future relationship with the EU that “guarantees full participation in the single market”. 

It is time for honesty – you will not secure a general election by what you may see as clever manoeuvring. People see through it.

Historically, some of our worst mistakes have been made when the opposition has failed in its fundamental duty to question and stress-test the policies of the government, and I believe historians will one day look back on the Labour Party under you, Mr Corbyn, and ask a simple question: why did you sit on the fence for so long? Why from the start, did you leave it to me, as a private citizen, to question the unlawful use of the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50?

Your membership, the vast majority of young Labour voters and the unions, are overwhelmingly opposed to Brexit, as Brexit will lead to a flight of talent, money and taxes – and the country will have to take on more and more debt.  It will of course hit the middle classes, but it will be the poorest, weakest, most vulnerable in our society who will be the greatest victims.

The Labour party should be about doing things not because they are opportunistic or expedient, but because they are right.

This is now a matter of what sort of country you wish the United Kingdom to become. Let us not allow our great and compassionate country to become a laboratory to experiment on one of the most right wing ideologies ever devised. 

Theresa May’s deal is worse than the special deal we already have with the EU. Accept the reality that neither you, nor another leader of the Conservative party, can negotiate anything substantially different or better – there isn’t the time and the EU has made it clear they are no longer interested in any more talking. 

It’s time to wake up and to do your job of opposing. 

You have it in your hands to ensure if there is an impasse after the meaningful vote, the people of the United Kingdom can throw parliament a democratic lifeline in the form of a public vote – to end this chaos and for Parliament to get back to looking after the British people.  

Respectfully,

Gina Miller