The Conspicuous Absence of the Labour Party in the EU Referendum Debate bannerThe Conspicuous Absence of the Labour Party in the EU Referendum Debate banner


The Conspicuous Absence of the Labour Party in the EU Referendum Debate

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Wherefore art thou Jeremy Corbyn?
The papers on Friday morning all carried the same, previously un-uttered warning – there is now a clear possibility that the British people will vote to leave the European Union on 23rd June 2016.

So far, a majority of the campaigning has been done by David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, George Osborne, Ian Duncan Smith and Alex Salmond.
Notice that none of these key figures are from the opposition party. It has been left to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Green MP Caroline Lucas to set out any passionate left-wing case for remaining in the EU.

Labour directionless in EU debate?

A recent poll suggests that 45% of Labour voters do not know the party’s position on the EU. One reason that may explain such a shocking statistic is Jeremy Corbyn’s lack of media visibility in the debate.

Mr Corbyn is a follower of Tony Benn, a hard-left proponent of democratic socialism and an ardent opponent of the UK’s membership of the EU. In the 1975 referendum to decide whether Britain should remain in the European Economic Community, Benn put forward arguments similar to those being advanced by Michael Gove in the current campaign. According to The Guardian, Gove has become a prominent Tory Bennite, and Corbyn is Labour’s most prominent Bennite.

But Corbyn and the party he leads supports the Remain camp.

Labour finally rallies

This morning, under the rallying of former leader, Ed Miliband, Labour finally snapped out of its inertia.
It was announced that senior Labour politicians will speak out against a British exit from the EU on Friday.

Labour also claimed today that leaving the EU could lead to £18bn of spending cuts and tax rises (including VAT being raised to 22%) with the Tory government forced to hold an emergency Budget. These figures were derived from research conducted by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme ahead of his speech, Mr Miliband said "not enough of our voters have heard we are for 'in' - amid a focus on "blue-on-blue" Conservative in-fighting.”

He added: "We haven't done enough yet; we've got to do more. But people know where Labour stands. And I know Jeremy [Corbyn] believes that, everybody in our Party believes that. And this is a fundamental question for our country."
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