Labour must rise to the challenge of the EU referendum

时间:2019-10-08 责任编辑:伯搦缣 来源:银河网投官网 点击:269 次

Politicians and commentators alike have compared Labour’s general election defeat last month to the one we suffered in 1992. While I do not underestimate the scale of the electoral challenge that we now face, the comparison with 1992 is not entirely negative.

John Major’s government had a slender majority and his term in office was dominated by deep divisions on . David Cameron is in precisely the same position. If anything, those divisions are even deeper now, with every new intake of Tory MPs more Eurosceptic than the last.

Cameron’s honeymoon period within his own party is likely to be short-lived. He has a and who is already contemplating voting no. Half of the cabinet will probably end up in the same position and several senior Tories will be calculating the best position to win over Conservative party members in the . Whatever Cameron is able to negotiate will not be enough for a large number of his own MPs.

The temptation for would be to use this as an opportunity to tear apart the Tories while we stand on the sidelines. But in holding the government to account for bringing back a positive reform package, we must not lose sight of what is in our national interest.

We need to build and run a progressive, positive, centre-left campaign for staying in a reformed European Union. A half-hearted campaign from Labour, or an attempt to stand back from the fray, would look weak and cynical. We should also learn the right lessons from the Scottish referendum and ensure that we have a distinctive Labour campaign. We also need to grasp this opportunity to set out the kind of Britain we aspire to govern – outward-looking, standing tall in the world, capable of grasping the opportunities presented by globalisation and standing up for those who have lost out.

There is no doubt that Ukip will try to frame the debate around immigration. We must fight that head on. The progressive pro-European campaign must focus on the economic arguments as well as drawing on a more emotional case for staying in.

In an ever more globalised world, our membership of the European Union amplifies our voice and benefits our economy. Faced with the economic might of the US, China, India and Brazil, it simply does not make sense for the UK to leave the largest internal market in the world.

On the outskirts of my own constituency in Wolverhampton, Indian-owned has recently built a multimillion-pound engine factory creating thousands of jobs. Future direct foreign investment would be under threat should we leave the EU. Moreover Norway has found that negotiating a way into the single market involves paying into the EU budget and abiding by the rules without having a seat at the negotiating table.

While the economic arguments for our membership are important, our progressive campaign must be framed more broadly. The rational, cool-headed, transactional case will only take us so far. Putting forward an emotional case for our membership should draw on our sense of belonging in Europe and also our historic role of standing tall in the world. The peace and stability that followed the horrors of two world wars were secured and maintained by cooperation and friendship between European countries. British membership of the UN’s security council would almost certainly be terminated should we leave the EU.

Europe is a force for good in the world in meeting the challenges that Britain faces – climate change, cross border crime and terrorism, energy insecurity dealing with an increasingly aggressive Russia and a precarious situation in Iran – to name but a few.

Labour cannot afford to fudge or avoid the defining political issue of this parliament. The outcome of the EU referendum will determine Britain’s identity and role in the world more than any Tory government. We must play an active role in holding the government to account and putting forward a progressive and distinctive case for staying in a reformed EU.