The Labour campaign to leave the European Union has been launched. ‘Labour Leave’ is a Labour campaign, run by, staffed by and funded by Labour members. We would like to invite all Labour members, trade unionists, supporters, socialist societies and affiliates to join our campaign to secure a ‘leave’ vote in the coming referendum on our EU membership.
The Labour Party does not have a single view on our membership of the EU and the Labour Party isn’t united behind remaining in the EU. Many Members of Parliament, councillors and ordinary members are deeply concerned about: the EU wide austerity agenda, the lack of democracy, the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy and initiatives such as TTIP which will place our public services at the mercy of multinational corporations.
Labour Leave has absolutely no confidence in David Cameron’s renegotiation of our terms of membership. We do not believe the Prime Minister commands enough authority and respect within the European Union to have the capacity to ensure we achieve the fundamental reforms we need. David Cameron’s renegotiation will be nothing more than an attack on the social and employment rights of hard working people- something we cannot support.
Labour Leave will be running a vigorous campaign up and down the country from now until the referendum. We will be demonstrating that skepticism of the institutions of the EU are not solely the domain of the political right. Powerful arguments for leaving the European Union can be found on the left and it is crucial that the voice of those on the centre-left is heard during this referendum debate.
It is important that this debate is undertaken in a comradely manner and that all members of the Party and the wider movement are free to express their view. Members should be exposed to both sides of the campaign and we look forward to sharing platforms with the ‘Labour In’ campaign.
The referendum will be taking place by the end of 2017, but we need to begin campaigning now if we are to secure a vote to leave the EU. In order to maximise our chances of achieving the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU we will be working in partnership with the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign seeking designation by the electoral commission.
Jeremy Corbyn was elected as Leader of the Labour Party on an enormous wave of optimism and support. Winning on the first round, his policies appealed to an overwhelming majority of our Party members. We will all be campaigning for a Labour government in 2020. But many of those policies Jeremy has spoken of- the nationalization of the railways and energy companies, ending the privatization of the NHS and restoring Trade Union rights cannot be achieved under existing EU legislation. The only way to achieve those bold and popular policies is to leave the EU.
Idealism is what brought the European Economic Community into existence. Those splendid ideals of unity and common endeavor for the greater good inspired a generation. The Labour Party’s support for this concept was based on the belief that a new social Europe could be created based on solidarity, tolerance and respect. But the treatment of Greece by the institutions of the EU have clearly shown that this idealism no longer exists and that the European Union has become an organisation favours financiers and corporations over workers and public enterprise.
Labour Leave believes that power, wealth and opportunity should be in the hands of the many, not the few. That is why we are campaigning to leave the European Union and we invite you to join us at the start of this great campaign.
Brendan Chilton is General Secretary of Labour Leave