Unite union tell UK Labour to offer EU referendum
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Thetrade union voted yesterday to ask the to offer a referendum on Britain's continued membership in the as part of its election promises, and said failing to do so would make Labour's electoral success a "hostage to fortune". The shadow chancellor, , has ruled out such a move as "silly".
Unite's general secretarysaid of the motion passed by the union: "It calls on Labour not to box itself in on the referendum question. This issue has bedevilled British politics for decades. For much of that time it has been the who have had to deal with divisions in their ranks over Europe. But the next general election will be different. Both and the Tories will be offering a referendum on the issue of Britain's membership."
McCluskey accused Labour of being in a position where "ducking this question is seen as part of Labour's commitment to business".
McCluskey also said: "We do not seek a referendum to take Britain out of the EU. We seek a referendum rethink in order to help get Labour into power here in Britain. Without such a pledge our party will stand exposed. UKIP will be strengthened in some key constituencies. The Tories will hypocritically charge Labour with being anti-democratic."
Balls responded on theprogramme : "That would be a silly thing for us to say. We made a very clear commitment: if there is any proposal in the next parliament for a transfer of powers to [the EU] we will have an in/out referendum.
"We are not proposing a referendum now because we think to spend two or three years blighting investment and undermining our economy on the prospect of a referendum whichsays he is going to have after he gets an unknown package of reforms would be bad for jobs and investment.
"If Len McCluskey is supporting the David Cameron position, I disagree with Len McCluskey."
At, Conservatives had fun at the expense of Labour leader and the perceived division in Labour ranks over Europe. Conservative Sir joked: "In the ’83 general election, a 13-year-old boy delivered leaflets around my constituency pledging that [then-Labour MP] would take Labour out of the European Union. Does my right hon[ourable] Friend find it strange that that same boy, now leader of the Labour party, is not willing either to support the renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership of the European Union or to pledge to trust the people of Britain in a referendum on our membership of the European Union?"
Ahead of the, the parties remain divided on Europe. David Cameron has pledged the Conservatives will hold a referendum in 2017 after a renegotiation of treaties. The recently faced a challenge to their policy on Europe with a number of senior party members calling for a referendum on membership — this push to change course was defeated and the party remains committed to a policy of not holding a referendum unless further British sovereignty is transferred to the EU.
- Labour would be 'silly' to offer EU referendum, says Ed Balls" — , July 2, 2014. "
- "Unite presses Ed Miliband for EU referendum pledge" — , July 2, 2014
- Nicholas Watt. "Miliband under pressure to match Tories' EU referendum pledge" — , July 2, 2014
- Matthew Holhouse. "Ed Miliband 'campaigned for Britain to leave EU'" — , July 2, 2014
- Nicholas Watt. "Nick Clegg defeats Lib Dem bid to guarantee EU referendum" — , July 1, 2014