TUSC in ‘surprise bid’ for official exit lead

No to EU austerity, photo Paul Mattsson

No to EU austerity, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has launched what the BBC called a “surprise bid” to be the official Leave campaign in June’s referendum on European Union (EU) membership.

TUSC is a 100% anti-austerity electoral alliance including transport union RMT and the Socialist Party.

TUSC had been arguing that the Electoral Commission should not choose an official campaign for the Leave side, and had written a formal letter to the Commission setting out its reasons.

But Clive Heemskerk, TUSC’s national election agent, explained the Commission replied “saying ‘it would not be appropriate’ to meet us.

“So we have put in our own application – and, as the BBC report says, it is a serious one. We believe that the segment of big business interests represented by the reactionary Leave campaigns is already more than ‘adequately represented’ in the EU debate. Our constituency of working class voters is not.

“The reality is that either of the Vote Leave or ‘Grassroots’ Out campaigns will be too easily dealt with by the equally big business-dominated ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ Remain campaign, because they all operate within the same economic and political framework.

“TUSC, on the other hand, would provide an anti-austerity, anti-racist and socialist campaign. That would offer a far greater challenge to EU supporters than the reactionary Leave campaigns ever could.”

Socialist Party member and former Labour MP Dave Nellist, who is now national chair of TUSC, said: “I issue a challenge to Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage or any other leading figures in the ‘Vote Leave’ and ‘Grassroots Out’ organisations.

“Before the Electoral Commission makes its decision on 14 April, let’s have a public debate. Who should be the voice of Leave? Trade unionists and socialists – or bankers, Tories and ex-Tories?”

Aaron Banks, the multi-million ex-Tory who funds Ukip and pledged £3.5 million to ‘Grassroots’ Out, appears in the ‘Panama Papers’ (see page 16). Do tax avoiders like Banks, who is worth at least £200 million, really represent working class voters?