Ask any Brits whose formative political years were the 1990s and they can answer you this question:
When will Britain join the Euro?

The answer, of course, is:
When the five economic tests are met!

The thing was that no-one could ever remember what the five tests were (they are here if you are interested), but they were enough then to keep the UK out of the Euro at Gordon Brown’s insistence. Some Labour folks I know even had the tests printed up onto pledge cards, echoing Labour’s famous cards from the 1997 election.

So how about bringing the tests back, in a new form, for Brexit?

Much has been made of Keir Starmer’s insistence on the government needing a plan for Brexit, and that this must be presented to MPs before an eventual vote on triggering Article 50 (more on that here), but how is anyone suppose to believe Labour has a credible threat? Sticking down five simple criteria or tests, and keeping on repeating them, might be a start.

So here you go, Keir, here’s your ready-made pledge card!

Here it all is in plain text:

We, the Labour Party, will not support the triggering of Article 50 to start the Brexit process unless:

  • The government draws up a detailed plan in the form of a White Paper before Parliament is called upon to vote to start the process
  • Brexit will be economically beneficial to the UK over the course of this Parliament (according to independent economic analysis by OBR)
  • The government can guarantee all businesses can export to the rest of the EU on the same terms as they do today
  • All EU citizens permanently resident in the UK are unilaterally given the right to remain in the UK
  • The government commits to putting its Brexit deal to the approval of the British people at the end of the Article 50 process

By all means quibble with the content of the tests, but how about it as an idea?

(person holding card image free image from here – then reworked)


  1. @rapscallion – which pledge do you disagree with then? You want to go ahead with Brexit even if it were to damage the UK economy or exporters do you? If you do then please say so!

    Deal with it!

  2. rapscallion

    Which part of “you lost the referendum” are you lot struggling to come to terms with.
    The People voted OUT by 52% to 48%. For God’s sake deal with it!

  3. @Anthony – that’s true, but I do not think that’s actually a relevant point. If Labour is to do anything to stop the worst sort of Brexit it needs a credible threat. That could be in the form of some criteria that it could put down on a pledge card…

  4. Anthony Zacharzewski

    The problem being, of course, that there was a referendum vote in favour of Brexit in a way that there wasn’t for the Euro. If Cameron had put these tests before holding the referendum, then maybe.

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