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 We stand up for human value – we proudly defend the Human Rights Act

    We stand up for human value – we proudly defend the Human Rights Act

    If you’re part of the Labour Party, or hold any similar values, you will certainly share the absolute belief in respect and dignity for everyone. I don’t think anyone in our movement, with our principles, would disagree. And so, with those common values, we are entirely right to stand up, loud and proud, for the Human Rights Act. The publication this week of Human Rights: Reflections on the 1998 Act by Jonathan Cooper in Stephen Hockman’s Law Reform 2015 (with […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Scotland Friendship and solidarity must prevail, as the fog clears

    Friendship and solidarity must prevail, as the fog clears

    The air hangs thick this morning with the referendum. Last night a deep fog rolled down across Edinburgh, but in reality it is the campaign which has blotted the vision and stopped even the keenest of observers from seeing what lies just a few footsteps ahead. The final days has provided one crucial clarification though – the No campaign is capable of great passion and powerful rhetoric. Mocked, endlessly criticised, a reputation dragged through the muck. Despite it all – […]

    Read more →
  • News Scottish Referendum – The Liveblog

    Scottish Referendum – The Liveblog

    Are you campaigning in Scotland today? Send us your stories (named or anonymous) to elections@labourlist.org – and we’ll run the pick of them on the liveblog. 15.04: More graffiti on same polling station as earlier (see 12.51 update). All of it has now been painted over. 14.39: Update from Mark: “After campaigning in Leith this afternoon, I popped over to the Better Together office there to speak to campaigners and grab a cup of tea. After a few minutes I […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Scotland Please don’t go

    Please don’t go

    I’m pretty well known for writing from a personal perspective. So I thought a column comparing the pain I feel about the referendum to the pain of my divorce would be easy to write. maybe a little trite even. How can this compare to that kind of personal pain? Well, it does. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. I feel like a lover treading on eggshells desperate to please. I really, really don’t want Scotland to leave me. So yes, […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Scotland Solidarity – a view from South of the border

    Solidarity – a view from South of the border

    “Solidarity” has always been a special word for me. But it has never been an easy one to define. Loyalty, unity, mutual support; all of those come into it but none of them quite sums the word up properly. Somehow solidarity is the “whole” that is more than the sum of its parts. But however difficult solidarity may be to define, you know when you see it and you know it when you experience it. As a trade unionist and […]

    Read more →