🗓 Date: Monday, 26 September 2022
⏳ Time: 11:00
📍Location: Auditorium 1C, ACC Liverpool, Kings Dock Street, Liverpool, England, L3 4FP
SME4Labour and 89UP fringe: Britain’s Role In The World After Brexit
For this panel we were joined by former MEPs Claude Moraes, Neena Gill and Clare Moody, former Scottish First Minister Lord Jack McConnell, Business Select Committee Chair Darren Jones and Migrants for Labour Chair Lara Parizotto.
Claude as chair noted that there is a proliferation of events around Brexit during this conference, showing that the party remains engaged on the issue. The discussion is framed around what place Britain has in the UK post—Brexit.
Jack McConnell praised the fact that our former MEPs continue to lead on discussions of international politics. Jack noted that the covid pandemic has had a crushing impact on access to education for people across the world. Natural disasters in Pakistan and the Phillippines have been exacerbated by the damage caused by this. Jack continued that the decline in peace-building from the UK and the Western world had led to the direct consequence of Russia invading Ukraine due to their feelings of impunity. Jack urged the Labour Party to restore Britain’s place as a leading voice on international development throughout the world.
Clare noted that being an MEP enabled her to see the UK from multiple sides. Advocating for the UK in the European Parliament but also seeing the views of the UK in the EU evolve. Continuing, Clare observed that the UK’s international reputation had suffered a major decline since Brexit, first under Theresa May and then Boris Johnson and that the Labour Party has a job to restore this reputation once we return to government.
Darren followed on from this by noting that attending the European Parliament prior to Brexit was a positive experience for him, with Britains shared contributions easy to see – however, this has been replaced with awkwardness since leaving. Darren continued that the S&D group are keen to work with the Labour Party, but that the Tories leadership in Westminster has hamstrung our abilities to work together. He cited our leading research and science resources that have had their ability to work with colleagues in the EU crippled, but due to the Northern Ireland protocol there is nothing that can be done.
Lara described the impact on migrants that Brexit had. She noted that she had entered the UK with an Italian passport despite hailing from Brazil, and that many South Americans make use of European ancestry to travel & work around Europe – but that this is no longer possible with the UK’s new immigration system. Not only does this discriminate, it cuts us off from good chunks of the global workforce, and causes untold harm to our economy by making it harder for workers and tourists to visit the UK. Lara made the point that despite the government’s crowing over the 6 million EU citizens applying to stay in the UK, they were faced with no choice having had their previous automatic rights to stay taken away.
Neena looked at the economic damage that had been inflicted on the UK due to Brexit, such as importing and transportation costs, particularly the way the SME’s had been affected by Brexit. This specifically takes the form of increased preparation in case of supply chain disruptions caused by Brexit.- this has also caused many businesses simply to shut.
The meeting felt that there is a chance for a Labour government to restore Britain to a place of respect across the world, but that we will need to reverse much of the damage our reputation has suffered across the world in many areas – as well as to mitigate much of the ongoing issues we have with our relationship with the EU.