[The following is a response to a letter promoted by known anti Corbyn activists in the Labour Party.]
Open letter supporting Jeremy Corbyn's Article 50 position
There is an open letter doing the rounds on social media. It is supported by some grassroots Labour activists, campaigners, supporters and voters.
It calls on Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, to change his current position on Article 50.
This is how it begins and at this point it could be from this group also:
"We are all Labour Party members. We are from all corners of the UK, and have a range of backgrounds and ages. Some of us have been members for decades, and some of us have only recently joined. Some of us are frequent activists, and some of us have little time to be actively involved but support wherever we can. In short, we are the grassroots that you have always been keen to represent."
We start to go our separate ways with the next paragraph. Though of course we agree when they say:
"The membership of the Labour Party is not, and has never been, pro-Brexit. The party has a long history of supporting membership of the European Union. We had an official policy of supporting and campaigning for Remain during the referendum campaign."
Sadly we disagree from here.
This is our open letter:
This week two MPs resigned their positions citing Article 50 and Jeremy Corbyn's stance. There was no need for them to act in such a manner and at this time. The Labour Party are fighting two by elections scheduled for February 23 and both constituencies support BRexit.
Imagine the impact Labour Party BRexit divisions will have on these elections.
It was heartening to see Harriet Harman on a Sunday politics show say that she agrees with the party leader's stance even though she voted to remain in the EU and represents a BRemain constituency. It was equally heartening to hear my MP Alan Johnson make a similar statement Thursday.
Neither are Corbyn supporters but they respect democracy.
We may or may not like BRexit but we cannot simply throw a tantrum and disrespect democracy when it suits.
The Labour4EU account is tweeting to various journalists in the mainstream media and their story has already been published in the Guardian.
It is supported by Labour MP Ben Bradshaw who tweeted Saturday:
"Thanks to Exeter's Emma Brennan for initiating & all @UKLabour members for supporting this great #Article50 letter."
It looks increasingly likely that the group's actions are more about causing Labour Party divisions than Article 50. The main player is not a Corbyn supporter.
However Article 50 is a given. The Tory Party remains deeply divided over Brexit but too many people in the Labour Party are allowing the Tories a free ride on this issue.
Mrs May and her Tory government and party should be taking the heat right now. Instead a small group of self serving Labour Party Remainers are happily pushing bad press Labour's way.
We must let the Labour Party leader lead and trust in his team.
Jeremy Corbyn January 28, 2017:
"Labour campaigned in last year's referendum to remain in the European Union — and nearly two-thirds of Labour voters voted to remain.
As we all know, the result was a vote to leave.
We are not a party for the 48% or the 52%, but for everyone. We have an important role to play in bringing the country together and getting the best possible deal from Brexit.
Labour respects the will of the British people. But we do not respect the will of a Tory government that is threatening to relegate Britain to a bargain basement tax haven.
That's why we will vote to trigger Article 50 in the European Union Withdrawal Bill — but also will use every means at our disposal to make sure jobs, living standards, workers' rights and environmental protections are protected in the negotiations that follow.
So Labour has tabled a series of amendments to the Bill to ensure there is meaningful parliamentary scrutiny at every stage and a vote on the final deal.
We have also tabled an amendment to build in the broad principles we need to get the best outcome for our country — including tariff-free access to the single market and an anti-tax haven amendment to make sure the Prime Minister does not use Brexit as an excuse to duck out of tackling tax avoidance and evasion.
And we will support amendments to ensure the Tories don't yet again attack people's rights at work.
This is a difficult moment for our party. We campaigned to remain, but we have to accept the democratic result.
We will be reaching out to our friends and allies in the European socialist and progressive parties to help secure an agreement that strengthens cooperation and solidarity across Europe.
We must remember that what unites us is far stronger than what divides us: our commitment to defend our NHS, to campaign against the Tories' cuts to schools and social care — and our determination to build a country in which no one and no community is left behind.
We will vote for Article 50, but we will not be giving the Tories a blank cheque on their damaging agenda for Brexit — or any of their other failures.
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Leader of the Labour Party"
Those people behind the Open Letter against Brexit are anti Corbyn, have been from day one, and continue to be - particularly with reference to Ben Bradshaw and Jonathan Proctor
It is worth noting the people behind the open letter are encouraging email addresses are added perhaps for later use.
Please sign our open letter here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/15We9eCI26_NlQRMKzbm7gvYU6w5TWJLedKveptKIMrY
Dear Tom Watson,
Well here we are again! Another day another letter!
This time it forms part of a formal complaint and therefore a copy will be sent to Iain McNicol as Labour's General Secretary, Jeremy Corbyn as party leader and the validation team.
After Jeremy was re-elected party leader in 2016, like many party members and supporters, I was hopeful we had turned a corner.
Labour's so-called broad church allows for a range of appropriate groups to actively support the party though it does exclude some.
Diversity is the name of the game but drawing a line is important.
In light of Labour First's latest divisive, insulting, antagonistic and disrespectful email newsletter we are again at a crossroads.
This group intends to utilise Tory tricks of divide and conquer in its quest to return the party to a brief period in its history, 1997 to around 2008. But it is now 2016 and the political landscape and challenges have moved with the times although Labour First boss Luke Akehurst still appears to be stuck in a time warp.
What is disconcerting is that you, Tom Watson Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, appeared as a guest speaker at Labour First's annual meeting Saturday November 26, 2016.
Did the meeting discuss Labour First's plans including an email to be sent out this week asking for funds and written in a divisive tone?
The email from Labour First is widely available online though we have opted not to share in full as Mr Akehurst has slapped a copyright symbol on with the words all rights reserved.
But the gist of the letter is this - it starts with an apology after addressing the recipient as if John McDonnell is now leader of the Labour Party. An apology of sorts follows; apologies for scaring you John McDonnell is not leader of the Labour Party; not yet unless you sign up and pay up. It goes on with allegations that the Hard Left, abusive terminology in my opinion as a Jeremy Corbyn supporter, want to push for a "McDonnell amendment" so that MPs without a high level of parliamentary support can be on the ballot.
The whole email is divisive and against Labour values.
It is an insult to the party, its democracy, its members and the electorate.
WE need a united Labour Party geared up to win the next election.
As long as Labour First are supported by mainstream Labour MPS such as yourself they will continue to divide the party and ultimately wreck its election chances.
So the question now is who is strong and honest enough to publicly remove Labour First and the man behind this nasty little group from the Labour Party?
The following forms part of this letter http://www.thejeremycorbyneffect.com/jeremy-corbyn-blog/formal-letter-complaint-re-luke-akehurst-and-labour-first
For what it is worth here is this long time Labour voter and supporter's view.
Dirty washing should not be aired in public
There is nothing wrong with running an open and honest political campaign but there is a time and a place for revealing all.
Egos should be left at the door and the good of the people, country, party and voters must be paramount.
Monday's debate was entertaining viewing to this Labour supporter but how many Tory supporters also tuned in. Baring all to the political enemy can backfire and supply the ammo to win election after election.
Money, Money, Money
The Tories had a massive election chest stuffed fit to burst with money supplied by those who like the politics of greed; the politics of 'I'm alright Jack'; the Tory policies.
Labour will always struggle to outspend the Tories but that does not mean it can't win; President Obama won a second term in the USA against the odds and against an election money spinning campaign. The GOP outspent the Democrats but they did not win.
But political campaigns need funding; Labour support traditionally comes from the working and in some cases middle classes; those people who have less money for political support.
The Tories will always attack Labour for having its roots and finances in the Trade Union movement but we should be proud of that link not ashamed.
The Tories have their financial links in corporations, a select few, selfishness and greed.
I know which I would choose.
But in the long run political financial support needs a general overhaul to prevent any section of society buying government.
Who gets my vote
I am quite drawn to Yvette Cooper but Andy Burnham gets my vote. At 45 he is the right age to have a mixture of experience in the real world and politics. Remember the next General Election will not be held until 2020.
Whoever is elected to lead the Labour party will have five years in opposition; time to prove them worthy of the role; time to persuade 'floating' voters that Labour is for them.
The run up to 2020
The Tories have only been in office since May 2015 but have already held a so-called emergency budget; expect another budget in the autumn.
The Tories are trying to push through legislation and fulfil promises made to their supporters, such as overturning the hunting ban, as quickly as possible.
They have five years in office and their priorities have been telling.
Reforms are bound to include measures to help them gain political success in 2020 at the expense of Labour and others. They know that a divided UK suits them politically and Tory spin of 'one nation' politics is basically crap; no other words describe it better.
The sooner Labour elects a new leader and shows a united front the better.
Whoever is elected to lead Labour will not be a universal choice. That's life and democracy.
But memories of a fractured Labour party and failed leaders such as Neil Kinnock and Michael Foot flood back and refuse to go away.
Labour needs a balanced approach. It must not turn its back on its supporters but it must be a 21st Century political party.
It needs to appeal to its core supporters, win back those that jumped ship following the global economic crisis of 2008 and it must to stay strong and focused.
Forget the egos; forget the 'politics of me'; forget the public wrangling; stop playing into Tory hands, stop revealing your trump cards too early, choose your 2020 campaign manager early and choose wisely and British Labour not another American like David Axelrod.
Fight fire with fire
In trying to win over voter’s former leader Ed Miliband agreed to TV debates when the Tories refused to play ball; yet Tory spin doctors were allowed in the spin room post-debate and received too much media attention. Labour must take care not to fall into future 'traps'. Instead they must be bold, assertive and if the Tories employ dirty politics again fight fire with fire.
As I have already said Andy Burnham is the party leader for me. However if he is not successful I will throw my support behind whoever is elected.
I am Labour to the bone and that is what people like me do.
But remember staunch Labour supporters are something of a dying breed.
Elect a leader who can stand up to the Tories, win back support, appeal to the majority but a leader who still retains principles, a heart and compassion. It will not be easy filling those shoes but with party support it is possible.
As trade unionists know 'divide and conquer' was and is a tactic of some bosses and also the Tories. We must stay as one.
We set high ideals for Labour; we expect more from them as they are better than the Tories. We should never forget that nor the people that have benefitted under Labour.
But those seeking 'Labour change' must take care. We do not need a nother middle-of-the-road or right leaning political party in the UK. We need Labour.
The Conservative majority is small but it may be enough to push through the 'snoopers charter', reinforce the Mayfair Tax Loophole, protect the Non Dom status of wealthy oligarchs in the UK, keep the Bedroom Tax and overturn the Hunting Act; all and more are in the sights of the Tories, the so-called Nasty Party.
As in 1997 the Tories will savage the people of the UK especially the poor and vulnerable in England and Labour supporting counties in the North.
This time Labour must be ready for 2020 and the next General Election.
But who can and will lead the party to power?
Looking online there are many names being touted for the job of leader of the Labour Party but who can appeal to a broad spectrum of the electorate.
Three names being pushed online are Andy Burnham, Chuka Umunna and Yvette Cooper. But Mr. Burnham ran for leader's job last time and failed to win; Chuka and Yvette will be slaughtered in the media, one for his foreign sounding name and skin colour and the other as a feminine woman.
It will need a tough character, one that is photogenic and one that has broad appeal, to win in 2020; and all achieved without damaging Labour's political credentials. My MP Alan Johnson would make a great Labour Party leader but I doubt he will stand.
As the leading lights of Labour pontificate about what happens next they must remember that their defeat will result in real pain for many ordinary people across England and parts of the UK. That means it is vitally important that they plan ahead and get it right for 2020 taking into account the age the party leader will be in five years’ time.
Once they have the right leader in place they must begin the search for campaign managers early and include ordinary voters. Was David Axelrod an American who worked on the Obama campaign the right man for the job in 2015? Did he have the passion needed to drive a successful election campaign in a foreign country? Did he even know enough about the people of the UK and our mindset?
Campaigns need spin doctors that are tough and crafty ones to beat Tory tactics such as manipulating debates and planting ringers but they also need the common touch.
Labour must get back to their roots but that does not mean another New Labour fiasco. Labour should be Labour, a compassionate party that cares about the people of the UK but especially about those in need.
We need a skilful politican who people can relate to leading the Labour Party; and ideally it should be a 'known face'.
As Nationalism grips Scotland and parts of the UK we are living in potentially dangerous times. We need a uniting Labour Party.
When Labour try to appeal to a broader elctoral base they often alienate their core voters. In 2015 this led people in Scotland to switch to the SNP and in England to vote Ukip.
But in the end all that did was give the Tories their first majority for 23 years and a mandate to implement tougher austerity measures.
The Conservative Party is based on divide and conquer the opposition and they played that card to perfection in 2015. They pulled a sucker-punch and voters fell for it.
General Election 2015: 'It's 1992 all over again. Labour just didn't get its vote out as well as the Tories'
Election results: Conservatives win majority