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131105europeOne of Vox Political‘s most vehement anti-EU commenters (Guy Ropes – take a bow, Guy) will be delighted to learn that one of his comments is factually accurate: one of Labour’s most generous donors is calling on the party to support an in-out referendum on European Union membership.

According to Reuters, businessman John Mills, who donated 1.65 million pounds to Labour in 2013, was set to tell a conference in London today: “If Ed Miliband becomes prime minister in May and renegotiates without committing to a referendum, he will inevitably weaken the UK’s bargaining position.”

It seems the event is all about alternatives to EU membership. Mr Mills’s position appears to be that other EU members will be more likely to take renegotiation seriously if there is a substantial risk of Britain leaving the EU.

Labour has resisted offering such a referendum in the run-up to the general election on May 7. According to Reuters, the party believes this would “hang a ‘closed for business’ sign over Britain and that an EU exit would be disastrous.

“It has said it would only offer a referendum if it deemed there was a substantial further shift of powers from London to Brussels, something that’s neither imminent nor likely.”

The article goes on to state that some Labour left-wingers have been arguing that it is undemocratic to deprive voters of a say on something polls show many feel uneasy about.

And there is also disquiet, from a tactical viewpoint, that Cameron’s Conservative Party is the only one of the main political parties offering to renegotiate Britain’s EU ties and then hold a referendum, if re-elected.

Some might say that, in a country where pro-Tory activists have been spreading claims that Labour is no different from the Conservative Party, it would be unwise to change Labour’s offer to one that is more similar to that of its adversary.

What do you think? (Don’t bother, Guy – we know what you think!)

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