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Brexit and the Labour Party: Europe, cosmopolitanism and the narrowing of traditions

Beech, Matt


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Dr Matt Beech
Reader in Politics and Director of the Centre for British Politics


The phenomenon of Brexit is reordering British politics. Its effects have led to political and cultural shock, disruption and rifts. This article explores how the phenomenon of Brexit has decentered the Labour Party’s ideational traditions. The article utilises a mixed methodology which combines qualitative and quantitative data in the form of scholarly literature on Labour history, Labour Party manifestoes, speeches and media interviews by front-line politicians as well as polling data. In particular, the article analyses how Labour politicians are reimagining the two main traditions of thought: the euro-enthusiast tradition and the euro-sceptic tradition. The article argues that Labour’s euro-enthusiasts are reimagining the tradition as a full blooded cosmopolitanism and this is simultaneously controversial and high risk because it has refashioned Labour’s interests into a narrower social and cultural electoral offering.


Beech, M. (2021). Brexit and the Labour Party: Europe, cosmopolitanism and the narrowing of traditions. British Politics,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 3, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 27, 2021
Publication Date Mar 27, 2021
Deposit Date May 14, 2021
Publicly Available Date Mar 28, 2022
Journal British Politics
Print ISSN 1746-918X
Electronic ISSN 1746-9198
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Labour Party; Brexit; Political traditions; Cosmopolitanism
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