The Labor Party activists and elected officials, meeting in Brighton until Wednesday, are struggling on the issue of divorce with the EU and the line to adopt.
The Odeon cinema filled up very quickly. Labor activists are waiting for Tom Watson, the party's number two. He is the man of the day, this Sunday, September 22nd: the annual conference of Labor has just begun, and in the streets of Brighton, where it is held, the case of this elected pro-European Midlands is on all lips.
A coterie of relatives of Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the party, tried to dismiss him the day before. In vain: their "coup" failed, exposing the raging power struggle within the UK's second governing party.
"We must become the party of "Remain". It is by campaigning for the "Remain" that we will finally get this Labor government that the country desperately needs! " Tom Watson faces, facing a totally acquired room.
The elected official has recently dared to publicly contradict his leader, demanding a party committing 100% for the maintenance of the country in the European Union (EU). Corbyn's notoriously eurosceptic bodyguard did not stand.
Elected and activists worry
A great hotel on the seafront, close to the Odeon. Radically different atmosphere. In a room full of trade unionists – traditional supporters of Mr. Corbyn – elected officials from the North of England share their experience of these deindustrialized lands having massively voted for Brexit.
"My riding voted more than 60% for the "Leave" and the appetite is still there. This is really not the time to say that we are a party of "Remain" ! " warns Chris Peace, aspiring MP in Derbyshire. "We can not turn our backs on the inhabitants of these regions", adds John Trickett, a Yorkshire man, close to Mr. Corbyn.
This division within the Labor Party is not new: it crosses the party since the referendum of June 2016, but it gets worse while a general election looms, Boris Johnson no longer has a majority in the House of Commons .
Internally, more and more elected officials and activists are worried. The Conservatives, led by Boris Johnson, position themselves as the only party Brexit, hoping to siphon the votes of "Brexit Party" Nigel Farage. Jo Swinson the new leader of the Liberal Democrats (LibDem), has adopted a 100% "Remain" policy: she even promises to revoke Article 50 (to unilaterally cancel the divorce with the EU) in case of victory.