Brexit has been an odd sideshow to the Labour conference, with pro-Corbyn factions such as Momentum working hard to keep the topic away from any awkward votes on the floor of the Brighton Centre hall. Perhaps that’s why it took more than an hour for anyone to mention it as a potential issue the party needed to think about at tonight’s Fabian Question Time fringe. By this point, we had run over the same arguments for solving the housing crisis that are wheeled out and then packed away without much progress, tax avoidance, and the Labour Party’s problem with anti-semitism (none of the speakers tried to claim this didn’t exist, by the way).
David Lammy was on fine passionate form, which included telling the fringe that after he was accused of ‘playing the race card’ with his report on discrimination in the criminal justice system that ‘I’m not just playing one card: I’ve got a whole deck of cards’. He is one of those politicians who could probably get worked up and thump a few desks even when talking about the fact that his office fridge has just run out of milk, and boy, did he get passionate about Brexit.
Asked what the party should do about Britain deciding to leave the European Union, the Tottenham MP said: ‘Fight, fight hard, and keep fighting. Nigel Farage would never have given up and neither should we.’ He then predicted that he was expecting more movement from the Labour Party on issues such as freedom of movement, and that ‘I will never go through the lobby intent on voting against us leaving the EU, and I don’t care if the party whips don’t like it. That is my position.’ And then it was back to his campaigning inspiration, Nigel Farage. ‘I’m pleased to see some of our major actors following suit, but I remain permanently in the ground as Nigel Farage has’. Doubtless Nigel will be delighted.