A pro-Europe campaigner has announced his candidacy in an upcoming by-election to challenge Labour’s stance on Brexit.
Richard Hewison, leader of the Rejoin EU Party, has put his name forward to stand in the City of Chester by-election – a seat which was won by Labour in the 2019 general election.
He said: “The Rejoin EU Party wants to send a strong message to Labour. By promoting a meaningful relationship with Europe that will appeal to core Labour supporters they can offer the public a genuine alternative offer.
“Every single person in Chester who votes for us will help strengthen that message.
“Labour think they’ve got the next election in the bag, but unless they start speaking up for the millions suffering under Brexit bureaucracy, they run the risk of alienating a significant chunk of their voter base.
“We hope concerned voters in Chester who might usually support Labour use this opportunity to show labour where their priorities lie.”
The City of Chester constituency voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum by around 57.72 per cent.
The Rejoin EU Party has contested several by-elections since its formation in 2020, but so far has not won any seats in local or national government.
Keir Starmer, who backed remain in 2016, has refused to back the UK’s re-entry into the bloc since winning the leadership in 2020.
In his 2022 party conference speech, he vowed that a Labour government would ‘make Brexit work’, adding, “what I heard, across the country, was people who thought we’d got our priorities wrong.
“Who wanted democratic control over their lives. But who also wanted opportunities for the next generation, communities they felt proud of, public services they could rely on.
“I didn’t hear that Brexit was about slashing workers’ rights. I didn’t hear people wanting to lower standards on food, animal welfare or the environment. I didn’t hear them wanting to end redistribution.”
Local Rejoin EU Party activist John Falch said: “Labour consistently avoided the Europe question, they have dismissed the importance of strong bonds with Europe in favour of pleasing a minority of its voter base.
“While the people of Chester face a cost of living crisis made worse by Brexit, Labour has kept quiet.”
The Labour Party was contacted for comment.
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