In the new issue of Themes, Professor Charles Woolfson analyses Brexit with an eye to its possible consequences for free movement and labour standards and in regard to its power to come up with an alternative to austerity policy.

Woolfson attempts to reassess the Brexit debate in the UK over immigration and free movement of labour in terms of the politics of austerity. He advances a progressive case for Brexit based on regaining national sovereignty to enable the effective defence of national labour standards outside of the neoliberal European project. The issue of labour standards is a cause that paradoxically the current Conservative administration has sought to champion, although on a highly contestable basis. In the UK general election of 2017, the Labour Party has significantly advanced its position on the basis of an anti-austerity program while the Conservative government has entered into a likely terminal crisis. It is argued that rejecting membership of the supranational European Union has the potential to advance labour rights further in an inclusive and non-xenophobic way.

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