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 Featured We will always be Labour – but the debate about our future must also be allowed to flourish

    We will always be Labour – but the debate about our future must also be allowed to flourish

    In the coming weeks I expect these pages will see numerous appeals for unity, respect and humility. This process is natural and right. Though an inevitable consequence of an open democratic process, airing our dirtiest laundry in public has probably not helped the party’s short-term standing. But as we turn our attention once more to the common enemy we must shelve any lingering grievances. Further education colleges are being decimated, Sure Start provision dismantled; climate change dismissed, trade unions attacked, charities […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Uncategorized Tristram Hunt: There will be no Labour split

    Tristram Hunt: There will be no Labour split

    The Labour Party will not split if Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader, Tristram Hunt will declare today. The Shadow Education will say that the party’s history has been marked by two splits, both originating from the right of the party, and both leading to long periods of Conservative Government. Speaking at today’s Progress West Midlands conference, Hunt plans to say that while the Labour leadership election is “far from over”, all of the party must accept the result and “stay loyal […]

    Read more →
  • News Uncategorized Yvette Cooper says UK must still do more to take in refugees

    Yvette Cooper says UK must still do more to take in refugees

    Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has praised the swell of public pressure for pushing David Cameron into making this morning’s announcement that the UK will provide “resettlement for thousands more Syrian refugees”. But she also says that more needs to be done to help those who have fled conflict and are already in Europe. Cooper says that the Britain could potentially house tens of thousands of refugees, and that “Cameron must still do more to respond to this humanitarian crisis”. The Labour […]

    Read more →
  • Comment 10 reasons to be wary of assisted dying

    10 reasons to be wary of assisted dying

    1. Assisted suicide is almost certainly not as popular as its supporters claim. Dignity In Dying claim that 82% of British people support assisted suicide, based on an online survey by the polling organisation Populus. This oft-repeated figure is a very bold claim, and so deserves to be subjected to some severe critical scrutiny (and even if it is accurate, it would not clinch the argument: sometimes we need to protect minorities regardless of majority feeling). So should we trust […]

    Read more →
  • News Is Ed Miliband going to rule out a return to frontline politics?

    Is Ed Miliband going to rule out a return to frontline politics?

    Ed Miliband could publicly rule out a return to frontline politics next week, according to this morning’s Times. The move would mean ruling himself out of a Shadow Cabinet position under Labour’s new leader. The paper reports that Miliband wants a break after spending five years as Leader of the Opposition. It is common for Labour leaders to step back from the frontbenches after leaving the role, with most never returning to a prominent role in the Commons. However, Miliband’s relative […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit