ED Miliband has made clear he sees Britain’s future in the EU and said a Labour government would be unlikely to stage a referendum on the UK’s membership in the next parliament.
The Labour leader sought to end the uncertainty over his position, announcing that he would only hold a referendum if there was an attempt to transfer powers to Brussels – something which he said was not on the cards at the moment.
His announcement angered some Labour Eurosceptics, who have been pressing for the party to commit to an in/out referendum, while the Conservatives said his plan made “no sense whatsoever”.
Mr Miliband confirmed that a future Labour government would legislate to require any transfer of power to Brussels to be put to the country in an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership.
The Doncaster MP said that while that appeared unlikely to happen in the next parliament, his “legislative lock” should reassure a sceptical public that they would be given a say before it did.
“Now, there are no current proposals from other countries for such a transfer of powers. And I do not believe this is the direction in which Europe should head.
“Indeed, I think some powers should come back the other way. But we cannot be certain about the emerging shape of Europe,” he said. “So today I am announcing that the next Labour government will legislate for a new lock.
“Not simply a referendum on any treaty change proposing a transfer of power, because there have been too many referenda like that in other countries which have been ignored, but a lock that guarantees that there will be no transfer of powers without an in/out referendum.”
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