General Election Brexit policies: What every party has said ahead of manifesto release

By Samuel Blitz, Jordan Camp and Rachel Steinberg
November 15 2019, 17.30

Brexit remains the No 1 issue facing voters ahead of the election with 68 per cent of Britons ranking it in their top three concerns according to a YouGov poll – 28 points ahead of second-ranked healthcare.

EU leaders granted the UK a ‘flextension’ in October pushing the leave date to 31 January 2020 after Boris Johnson failed to pass his deal through Parliament and voters will once again head to the polls on December 12.

Here’s where each party stands on the election’s biggest issue ahead of the release of all the manifestos.

Brexit Party on Brexit

Found in January of this year, and led by Member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party are striving towards a “clean-break Brexit”.

Since their creation, Farage’s party want to leave the European Union without a deal, which has been strongly voted against on countless occasions through various indicative votes and parliamentary motions.

Nigel Farage is not standing but will lead the Brexit Party in the General Election

The Brexit Party opposed all of Theresa May and Johnson’s deals with the EU and will strive to continue their attempts to force a no deal Brexit throughout the election campaign.

However, despite the opposition to Johnson’s deals in the past, Farage has said that Brexit Party candidates will not stand in Conservative-held seats in order to oppose the ‘Unite to Remain’ pact set up by the Lib Dems, Green Party and Plaid Cymru.

Conservatives on Brexit

The Tory spokesperson on Brexit is Secretary for State for Exiting the European Union Steve Barclay, who was appointed in November 2018 and has been conducting negotiations with the EU ever since.

After struggles from both May and Johnson to get an EU Brexit deal through Parliament, the latter eventually got a deal through the House of Commons before calling this general election.

The Conservatives are pledging to deliver Brexit via that deal, and to negotiate free trade agreements with both the EU – which comes into force in 2021 – and with other trading partners around the world.

Should they be elected, they will refuse to extend the UK’s transition period after their departure further than 2021. They will also introduce a new points-based immigration system and end the freedom of movement between the EU and UK.

Green Party on Brexit

The spokesperson for Brexit for the Green Party is Molly Scott Cato MEP and the party is in favour of Remain.

Since the referendum, Greens have continually campaigned against Brexit as they believe it will damage to country – particularly the economy, businesses and young people.

Caroline Lucas, two-time leader of the Green Party, called Brexit “an unforgivable act of inter-generational betrayal”.

At the party’s launch in north London, Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley promised to be “tough on Brexit and tough on the causes of Brexit.”

They believe Britain is best served by remaining an EU member and want a people’s vote for a chance to exit from Brexit.

Labour on Brexit

In October 2016, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn appointed Keir Starmer as Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

In a recent survey 65% of those asked believe Labour’s policy on Brexit is unclear.

If successful in the General Election, Labour wants to renegotiate Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and put it to another public vote.

Jeremy Corbyn wants to offer the country a second referendum

Should a referendum be held under a Labour government, voters would be able to choose between a “credible Leave option” and Remain.

The party would organise the referendum within six months and decide which position to back at a special conference in the build-up, with experts at the Constitution Unit of University College London saying it would take a minimum of 22 weeks to organise another referendum.

Many Labour MPs who represent parts of the country where most people voted Leave have previously expressed unhappiness with the party’s shift on supporting a referendum.

Liberal Democrats on Brexit

Tom Brake is the party’s Brexit spokesperson, MP for Carshalton and Wallington since 1997.

Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats have consistently taken a firm Remain stance.

At its September conference, the party overwhelmingly approved a plan to go into an election with a promise to revoke Brexit without a referendum despite concerns of alienating some voters.

The Lib Dems said they would still support a second Brexit referendum but promised to revoke Article 50 if they won an absolute majority in an election.

However, this seems highly unlikely as the party has consistently polled behind the Tories and Labour.

The party have also committed to the ‘Remain Alliance’ with the Greens and Plaid Cymru.

The electoral pact aims to maximise the chance of pro-Remain candidates winning seats.

Only one candidate from each party will stand in 60 constituencies to avoid splitting the Remain vote.

Lib Dem members have regularly attended anti-Brexit events and helped launch the People’s Vote campaign.

What does this mean for south west London?

Every constituency across south west London voted to Remain during the 2016 EU referendum, so a Conservative or Tory/Brexit Party coalition would go against residents’ views on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

Given Brexit remains the main issue for voters, south west Londoners are expected to vote for pro-EU candidates.

Whether they vote for the pro-EU Liberal Democrats, other members of the Remain Alliance or Labour will likely depend on the stance Corbyn’s Labour candidates stand on the issue in each constituency.

If Labour were to go ahead with their plans of a referendum giving voters the option to Leave with a ‘credible option’ or Remain this may suit south west London as they were in favour of Remaining in the 2016 referendum.

Remainers in south west London may also be pleased if the Green Party were voted into power because they are also pro-European.

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