Making Brexit less likely – or less damaging: What can you do?

Who are Represent Us?

Represent Us was set up in 2016 to lobby for a meaningful final vote by Parliament on the UK’s exit terms and it succeeded in making this one of two issues on which significant rebellions took place in both Houses of Parliament. We lobbied the Labour leadership, back-bench MPs and members of the House of Lords, using our network of supporters, a specially commissioned opinion poll and quantitative analysis, and assisted with the drafting of amendments. For more details of the people involved click here.

What are our aims and strategy?

We want to make Brexit less likely – or, if it does happen, less damaging. These are entirely achievable objectives if the pro-Remain movement works effectively together. We have developed a strategy, based on conversations with the four main pro-Remain NGOs:-

  • Secure amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill which will:
    • make EEA membership a likely part of the transition stage agreement
    • create mechanisms allowing MPs (later, NOT during the passage of the Bill) to
      • postpone the exit date, possibly until a final agreement has been reached
      • mandate the Government to negotiate a final ‘soft’ Brexit
      • make these final terms and exit subject to a referendum.
    • Build Labour Party and rebel Conservative support, initially for these amendments, later in 2018 for postponement and a ‘soft’ Brexit mandate, and at some point before the postponed exit date, for a referendum on the final terms.

What are we doing now?

We are working on those parts of the strategy that need action now and where there are gaps in the work of other NGOs:-

  • Commission polls on voting intentions in specific Labour seats in order to help build Labour support (a) for the amendments to the Bill we want to see, and (b) for a soft Brexit, not just for the transition stage but for the long term (our quantitative analysis based on the referendum and the 2015 and 2017 general elections suggests polling is likely to do this)
  • Work with the other NGOs to encourage lobbying by potential Conservative rebels’ constituents in favour of these amendments.

It seems likely that an amendment on EEA membership during the transition will be tabled anyway, but may need some support from us to push it over the line – we will monitor the situation closely. An amendment on mechanisms is necessary because, in its absence MPs, may be unable to postpone or force the Government to postpone or negotiate a ‘soft’ Brexit, even if public opinion changes. Polling is crucial because our experience and conversations with MPs makes clear that Labour may not shift its position without polling evidence on the electoral impact of doing so.