Acting Labour leader, Harriet Harman, said the party will drop its opposition to Conservative plans to hold a referendum on Britain's EU membership, by the end of 2017. Ms. Harman explained that Labour shares some of the population's concerns about the need to change and reform Europe, having reviewed its position on a referendum after "several doorstep conversations during the general election". This marks an abrupt position change after former Labour leader Ed Miliband and several other key party figures vehemently rejected supporting Tory plans to hold an EU referendum, during the general election.
Ms. Harman explained that Labour shares some of the Prime-Minister's concerns with Europe, such as the principle that European migrants should have to pay in before gaining access to welfare benefits or the need to change tax credit rules. She also added that there isn't a public appetite to stop or block an EU referendum and Labour "wouldn't succeed" in trying to do so. The acting Labour leader promised that the party will campaign for the UK to stay in the European Union and warned that Britain would be "a small country" outside of the EU. She also explained that "it is not inconsistent to say that our future is better in Europe than outside of it, but wanting to see Europe change".
After a convincing victory in the general election, the Prime-Minister David Cameron is likely to keep the party's election pledge to hold an in/out EU referendum, by the end of 2017, despite opposition from several business associations and regions like Scotland and Wales. The Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, revealed that the government is ready to start renegotiating Britain's EU membership terms and get "a better deal" ahead of a referendum.
Labour's abrupt position change on an EU referendum was announced, by the acting leader Harriet Harman, in the midst of a leadership race with shadow health minister Liz Kendall, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, and former health, culture and Treasury chief secretary, Andy Burnham, being the main contenders. #Prime Minister #Society #Immigration