‘What’s the Point of Labour?’ As Brexit Debate off Conference Agenda

Autonomy Embarrassment and Nothing New from Dugdale or McDonnell 

The Labour conference has descended into chaos and embarrassment after the party shied away from debating the outcome of the EU referendum.

In ignoring the dominant political issue facing the country, Labour face fresh accusations that they are abdicating their duties as the official opposition at Westminster and are “utterly incapable of holding the Tories to account”. Reacting to the absence of a Brexit debate in Labour’s conference agenda, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last night tweeted: “Unbelievable. Increasingly unclear what the point of Labour is”.

After a disastrous weekend for Kezia Dugdale, with Jeremy Corbyn retaining leadership of the Labour party despite Ms Dugdale’s claims that such a result would guarantee years ahead of Tory rule at Westminster, she already faces threats to the new found autonomy of her party in Scotland. Just a week after Scottish Labour finally looked to have shaken off its ‘branch office’ status, Jeremy Corbyn has sought to curb Kezia Dugdale’s influence in the party by delaying the transfer of new powers. Tomorrow will be the fifth time in under a week that the NEC will discuss new autonomy proposals for Scottish Labour.

In her conference speech, Ms Dugdale again reiterated her party’s position to shift the burden of Tory austerity onto working people across Scotland – a policy roundly rejected by voters in May’s Holyrood elections – while John McDonnell’s speech further exposed Labour’s reluctance to back the SNP in protecting Scotland’s place in Europe.

Commenting, Stuart McMillan MSP said:

“Usually a major conference provides a party with the platform to show themselves at their best – but Labour can’t hide from the fact that they’re an incompetent shambles, a poor excuse for a party of opposition and fast becoming a spent force in UK politics.

“In ducking a debate on the biggest challenge facing politics across the whole continent right now, Labour simply demonstrate they cannot do the job they were elected to do in holding the Tories to account and fighting to secure the best deal from Brexit.

“By contrast, Nicola Sturgeon is the only political leader with a clear and coherent plan – to ensure that Scotland’s continuing status in Europe is protected.

Stuart Serious

“In her conference speech, Kezia Dugdale simply reiterated her flawed, old argument for passing Tory austerity onto working people across Scotland – proposals which were roundly rejected by voters in May with Labour slumping to third place in Scottish politics. And John McDonnell did nothing but prove that Labour are all over the place on Brexit and the economy.

“Kezia Dugdale spent the weekend struggling to deal with the embarrassing fallout of Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election – someone she said would drag her party to guaranteed electoral failure, but is now desperately trying to trumpet as Labour’s saviour.

“Only a week after Scottish Labour were let off the leash and promised ‘complete autonomy’, Kezia Dugdale is now locked in an embarrassing stop-start power struggle with Jeremy Corbyn. It’s a completely unedifying sight and while Labour’s woes are plain for all to see, their conference has underlined just how far they are along the road towards self-destruction.”

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