Time For a Referendum

Ed Miliband recently set out the Labour Party’s position on a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. His belief in the EU is clear – there is an “overwhelming economic case” for membership.

Miliband says Labour will not hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union unless there are proposals to transfer further powers from London to Brussels.

Given that a further transfer of power to this discredited organisation is not just likely but guaranteed, this means Labour should be committed to the holding of a referendum. Federalism is still the main focus within the structures and across the political class of Europe. However even if further powers are transferred it is highly unlikely that the Labour Party will allow Britain an in or out choice.

After all in 2005 Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats all promised a referendum on whether to ratify the EU Constitution in their general election manifestos. But when France and the Netherlands both rejected the proposal in their own referendums their positions changed.

In 2007 the European Commission proposed a replacement treaty, which came to be known as the Lisbon Treaty. The Labour government claimed it was a different document, amending rather than overwriting existing treaties, so a referendum was not needed. No doubt when future powers are transferred to the EU, Miliband will claim they are different powers and so again a referendum will be denied.

Once more the British people are being denied a voice in the future of the nation. The political class will ensure that the right to decide is prevented. It is time not only for a referendum on the EU but time for one on the ruling political class also.

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