27 February 2019

Free Exchange: Gisela Stuart on Brexit and the Labour Party


My guest this week is Gisela Stuart. Gisela was elected as the Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston in the 1997 landside that brought New Labour to power. Her seat had returned a Conservative MP for the previous 99 years but she won as the Labour candidate in five successive elections before stepping down in 2017.

Gisela became a household name late on in her political career, when, during the 2016 referendum, she chaired the Leave campaign, taking part in the televised Wembley debate watched by millions and touring the country with Boris Johnson and Michael Gove in the now infamous Vote Leave battle bus.

As a German-born ally of Europhile Tony Blair, she was, on paper at least, an unlikely person to head up the campaign to take Britain out of the EU. But meeting Gisela, it soon becomes clear you are dealing with an original thinker reluctant to follow anyone’s lead on a question as important as Europe.

I spoke to Gisela about the reason for Euroscepticism, the state of the Brexit debate, whether she supports the Prime Minister’s deal, the legacy of the referendum and the health of her party – including whether or not she would continue to take the Labour whip were she still an MP.

You can listen to the full episode here, or subscribe via iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Oliver Wiseman is Editor of CapX.