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

23rd January, 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 Is civic nationalism the way forward for England?

    Is civic nationalism the way forward for England?

    What is striking about the general election in England and Scotland is not just the difference in outcome but emotional tone. In Scotland, burgeoning support for the SNP was not simply about particular policies but an expression of what the sociologist Emile Durkheim called ‘collective effervescence’ – powerful emotional identification with a wider community. By contrast, in England support for the Conservatives seemed based largely on judgments about Labour’s economic competence and fears about SNP influence, with no whiff of […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Why proportional representation will be Labour’s only saviour

    Why proportional representation will be Labour’s only saviour

    Everyone’s whispering about it: the Conservatives pulled a blinder offering the Lib Dems the referendum on changing the voting system at the beginning of the Coalition’s term. Doubtless if it had be run at the same time as the 2015 General Election, things may well have turned out very differently. As it was, Cameron et al made their ‘partner’ show their hand too early; the Lib Dems should have kept those cards closer to their chest in the hope of […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Blairism is no solution to Labour’s identity crisis

    Blairism is no solution to Labour’s identity crisis

    The ‘Blairites’ are certainly right about the so-called 35% strategy. How one envies the SNP for whom every Scottish voter is a target voter. Whatever happened to ‘One Nation Labour’? They are also right to suggest that we should help people fulfil their aspirations but their definition of aspiration is too narrowly focused. It’s one thing to aspire to shop at John Lewis – I might aspire to shop at Fortnum and Mason – but what about those who aspire […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Our human rights are not the Tories’ to give away

    Our human rights are not the Tories’ to give away

    When discussing the Human Rights Act it is important to set out the developments which led to it so as to dispel the falsehood, too often insinuated in the anti-European press, that the Act constitutes the meddling in British affairs by the bureaucracies of the European Union. On 10th December 1948 the U.N. adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in response to the Second World War and the atrocities committed during it. Its purpose was to ensure individuals, without […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Before Labour finds it’s next leader, it needs to find its George Osborne – and fast

    Before Labour finds it’s next leader, it needs to find its George Osborne – and fast

    Here’s a quick challenge for you. It will only take a minute. Try and find a Labour Party blog that praises George Osborne. Nope, me neither. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is understandably not popular within our ranks. After all, the Chancellor has presided over the weakest economic recovery in Britain’s history and unleashed a wave of crippling public expenditure cuts, while doubling the national debt and failing to eliminate the budget deficit. If you were being kind you might […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit