Labour under pressure to support EU referendum

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!)

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
bringing you debate and discussion about UK political policies.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


5 thoughts on “Labour under pressure to support EU referendum

  1. Guy Ropes

    Although a factually accurate comment would, I know, sit uneasily with much of VP’s output I thought it only fair to alert you to what is going on (or in this case, not going on). I know you may(will?) argue with this but I believe that the close – on One Trillion Pounds Sterling which our Government will be obliged to hand over to the EU in the term of the next Parliament, would be much better spent in alleviating (for a start) poverty in this Country. Then bolstering the NHS to allow free at point of delivery world class health care to be continued. Why anyone would want to see that amount of taxpayers money disappear into the coffers of a tyrannical elite is beyond me. Do you truly get pleasure from seeing ex-EU players cop gold plated pensions? What good does that do for the needy and deserving in the UK ? Please explain.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You want factual accuracy?
      The UK’s net contribution to the EU in 2013 was £8.6 billion.
      Even taking inflation into account, it seems unlikely that our contribution to the EU in the course of another five-year Parliamentary term would be much more than £50 billion.
      I have no idea where you get your magic £1 trillion figure from – but then, I suspect, neither have you.

  2. Guy Ropes

    Ah, net. So are they building hospitals for us? And you still rate £50 billion a good deal? I think working folk need to be protected from you and your ilk. Coz you ain’t helping ’em.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      But I didn’t lie to them, did I?
      Yes, it’s a net amount. We paid around £14.6 billion gross in 2013, but got £6 billion of it back via EU schemes. Round it up to £15 billion if you like and multiply that by five. Does it make £1 trillion (that’s £1,000 multiplied by 1 million, remember)? No?
      No. It makes £75 billion.
      I think working folk need to be exposed to you and your ilk – as a reminder to think very carefully before voting.

  3. Tim

    If we leave the EU inward investment would stall, companies would relocate from the UK to EU member countries, legal, financial and banking services provided by the city of London, the de facto financial centre of the EU, would transfer to Frankfurt (or some other major city in Germany) and European countries would shun us and avoid buying products and services from us as the only country to leave them in the lurch while still expecting all the advantages of Europe without helping pay for Europe. Jobs would be lost in droves and our presence on the world stage will be hugely diminished as we ceased to be part of a large collective and part of the largest single market the world has ever seen and became a small island nation (forty times smaller than the United States of America, England being about the same size as Idaho, one of the smallest of the fifty states of the Union), alone in the world, with next to no military, economic clout or soft power remaining.

    Leaving Europe would spell disaster for the United Kingdom.

    Of all times to hold a referendum in respect to EU membership NOW is not the time when people’s lives have been convulsed by a global economic downturn that has nothing to do with the EU but has become confused with EU membership anyway.

    For the love of God don’t be stampeded into this disaster by UKIP’s lunacy or David Cameron’s attempts at political self-preservation.

Comments are closed.