258/19 – BREXIT

No: 258/19

25th April 2019



Dear Colleague


We can advise Branches that the NEC has submitted the attached Emergency Motion on Brexit to this year’s General Conference.

Any enquiries on the above LTB should be addressed to gsoffice@cwu.org

Yours sincerely


Dave Ward

General Secretary

19LTB258 Brexit



Conference notes the decision of the European Council on 10th April 2019 to extend the UK’s exit date under article 50 to 31st October and that nearly three years on from the referendum, as a result of the Tories’ complete mishandling of negotiations, the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU is still mired in uncertainty.

The referendum itself was hugely divisive and the mainstream campaign was dominated by two right-wing visions for the future – on the one hand defending the status quo and on the other offering up right-wing populism. Neither came close to representing the interests or the voice of workers.

Since then, Conference recognises that the division of the UK along Leave and Remain lines has become more entrenched. Whilst Labour Party policy has been to keep all options on the table, this Conference believes that the overriding principle should be Labour’s Manifesto commitment to accept the result of the referendum and deliver a Brexit deal that prioritises jobs and living standards. Therefore, Conference endorses the NEC position not to campaign for a second referendum/people’s vote and recognises that the CWU’s primary role is to unite our members and all workers around a transformative domestic agenda that builds on Labour’s 2017 Manifesto and delivers a new deal for workers. However, in the event of a further vote taking place, Conference instructs the NEC to hold a national policy forum to agree the union’s position.

Furthermore, while Conference would oppose a damaging no-deal scenario, we believe it is time for the UK to move on and would support a deal agreed by the Labour leadership which protects workers and avoids a hard border between The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The CWU should continue to argue that any deal should be consistent with a democratic socialist transformation of the UK economy in relation to competition, the undercutting of workers and public ownership and investment.

Given growing levels of inequality in the UK, as evidenced by a decade of stagnating wages, an explosion of in-work and child poverty, homelessness and insecurity, and Tory-led austerity, Conference recognises that, in or out of the EU, the only thing that will really improve CWU members’ and workers’ lives is a transformative Labour government that will deliver an irreversible shift in wealth and power in the UK. Conference agrees that fighting to secure this must continue to be the number one priority of our political work.

The NEC is instructed accordingly.