Owen Jones: Labour's "Almost Impossible Balancing Act" On Brexit

9 December 2016, 15:29 | Updated: 9 August 2017, 14:53

Owen Jones

Left wing commentator Owen Jones tells LBC's Shelagh Fogarty that Labour face an "almost impossible balancing act" in the wake of the EU referendum.

Jones says that Labour now have to reconcile the majority of their voters who wanted to Remain and the 30-35% of them who voted to Leave, especially in the North.

"Referendums have all sorts of profound impacts on politics," said Jones, pointing out that the Scottish political map had been transformed by the independence referendum in 2014.

"One of the big problems is this - about a third of [Labour's supporters] voted to leave the European Union. The fear of the Labour leadership is that if Labour's seen to be frustrating the referendum, that could, in lots of Nothern seats...they will all defect to Ukip, to the Conservatives, or maybe not voting because they're too demoralised."

And it's the conflict between those Leave and Remain voters who would otherwise back Labour that Jones calls an "impossible balancing act".

Jones told Shelagh that when canvassing, he'd been struck by how much the "take back control" message came up amongst voters.

"That slogan resonated with people.

"Having a compelling, emotional argument at a time when people...are united by the fact they feel insecure.

"They're united on issues like housing, jobs and all the rest. Labour has to argue that the Brexit being negotiated by this government will damage the living standards, economy and jobs but that doesn't mean opposing Brexit.

"It means fighting for a different form of Brexit."