This account from inside Labour HQ highlights one of the key issues at the heart of the current Labour in-fighting: how hard did Jeremy Corbyn really campaign for Labour’s official position during the European referendum?
It’s a fair question given Corbyn’s consistent hostility to Europe over the decades.
This account also matches Jeremy Corbyn’s lukewarm reaction to the referendum result. It also is in line with the account given in Politico‘s great long read on the referendum campaign:
Less than a month before the historic EU referendum, the team assembled by Cameron to keep Britain in the European Union was worried about wavering Labour voters and frustrated by the opposition leader’s lukewarm support. Remain campaign operatives floated a plan to convince Corbyn to make a public gesture of cross-party unity by appearing in public with the prime minister. Polling showed this would be the “number one” play to reach Labour voters.
Senior staff from the campaign “begged” Corbyn to do a rally with the prime minister, according to a senior source who was close to the Remain campaign. Corbyn wanted nothing to do with the Tory leader, no matter what was at stake. Gordon Brown, the Labour prime minister whom Cameron vanquished in 2010, was sent to plead with Corbyn to change his mind. Corbyn wouldn’t…
Even at more basic levels of campaigning, Labour were refusing to cooperate.
UPDATE: Jonathan Calder has more on the Labour leadership failure to campaign vigorously for Remain.