Labour source tells us party position on EU referendum “has not changed”

January 23, 2013 2:06 pm

There was some surprise when Ed Miliband said at PMQs:

“My position is no – We don’t want an in out referendum”

Many (including our editor) took that to be a change of policy from Labour, after Douglas Alexander was careful not to rule out a future referendum this morning. However a Labour source speaking to LabourList this afternoon said:

“The position has not changed. In the current circumstances it is clearly wrong to have an in/out referendum because of the massive economic uncertainty it would cause and the huge damage it would inflict on jobs and growth.”

Those are quite different in tone, but perhaps the latter brings greater clarity to Labour’s position than what may prove to have been a ‘misspeak’ from Miliband at PMQs.

  • JoeDM

    Oh dear. Do I detect a Mili-shambles.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

    If not now then when? A referendum will *always* cause economic uncertainty. Labour needs to flesh out a European policy immediately. Don’t rule out a referendum, talk about repatriation of powers, lay out a vision for how the EU should work. The current position looks like support for the status quo, which is totally unacceptable.

  • Pingback: Better Off Out’s News Breakdown: 24/01/2013 | Better Off Out

  • http://twitter.com/lbutcheruk Lee Butcher

    Douglas Alexander made clear in his recent speech what Labour wanted to see from the EU. Reform, not withdrawal. A slimmed down and more efficient structure for the Commission and the Parliament. Fewer commissioners, though an additional commissioner to focus exclusively on economic growth. Renewed negotiations on reforming the CAP and more to be done to streamline regulations. He also called for a greater role for minister’s from member states, increasing their role in decision making within the political structures. Aiming to increase the role of domestic ministers would presumably reduce the role of MEPs, Commissioners and EU officials, at least relatively compared to the current situation. He also called for more to be done to ensure member state’s ‘red lines’ are respected and accounted for. In our case putting greater restrictions on migration from new member states.

    That does fit with Ed Miliband’s line at PMQs that we do not support a referendum, because, as Alexander has said, we believe in reform not withdrawal.

    It does seem sensible enough to say that as we don’t support the aim of the referendum (i.e. we want to stay in the EU) we don’t support having the referendum at all. That was Labour’s position in Scotland in regards to separation and the no vote is currently well ahead of the yes vote in the polls. In truth the only people who ever want a referendum are those who want to vote yes. Being on the no side logically infers you don’t want to hold a referendum in the first place. It seems entirely sensible to be straight with the public and say just that.

    Any apparent wavering is likely down to jitters about committing to a policy that could be altered by unforeseeable developments, and the political tactics revolving around the virtue or otherwise of supporting referenda in general.

    It is unfair to say Labour has no EU policy, in the last two weeks a policy has been fleshed out, even if it may need to be expanded or changed in the future. (As is the case with all sensible, workable, policy).

Latest

  • Comment Labour and the rise of the machines

    Labour and the rise of the machines

    Technology is already transforming our homes in ways we could not have dreamed of only a few years ago, and these same technologies are altering how we work and interact. The impact of the automation of jobs and mechanisation has created increasing uncertainty surrounding the employment prospects of white-collar workers previously immune to such problems. At conference, Ed Balls was right to say that “across the developed world, rapid technological change is replacing traditional skilled jobs too – in banking […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour supporters want an EU referendum, latest poll finds

    Labour supporters want an EU referendum, latest poll finds

    A recent poll has found that 45% of Labour supporters are for a referendum on the EU, with 36% against it. The polling conducted by YouGov for think tank British Future between 14th and 15th September also found that when looked at in terms of the electorate as a whole 57%  of people are in favour of a referendum and only 23% are against. YouGov said that when asked, 52% of those who took part in the polls largely believed […]

    Read more →
  • News Are the Tories more likely to protect hedge funds than the NHS?

    Are the Tories more likely to protect hedge funds than the NHS?

    Well, yes – according to the people of Birmingham. It’s been reported that in his speech tomorrow David Cameron will attempt to claw back some legitimacy for the Tories when it comes to the NHS. But, it looks like Cameron’s latest policy announcement (where he’ll promise that by 2020 everyone in England will be able to access a GP every day of the week) will do little to undo the public’s belief that the Tories can’t be trusted with the […]

    Read more →
  • News Video The moment Boris Johnson brandished a brick during his Conference speech

    The moment Boris Johnson brandished a brick during his Conference speech

    The Mayor of London has a reputation for eccentricity: whether it’s getting stuck on a zipwire, or conspiring to get journalists beaten up, or his aspirations to be prime minister, his odd character traits are well known. His latest stunt will likely stick in the mind, as he produced an actual brick from under the lectern mid-way through his speech to the main hall of the Conservatives’ Conference. He then waved the brick about, and proceeded to talk about in a style […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Ed’s interview with the British people

    Ed’s interview with the British people

    “Hi, come on in. Sorry to keep you waiting but we’ve had quite a few of these interviews to get through…It’s Ed, isn’t it? Let me introduce everyone – we’re the British people. I understand you’ve met quite a few of us already. Do you have a copy of your CV to hand?…No, that’s fine, everyone forgets things. I think we have one here…yes, that’s all very impressive. What about in your spare time? It says here you like walks […]

    Read more →
7ads6x98y