The Labour Party’s grassroots pro-European organisation relaunches today with a reception and planning meeting in Westminster.
The event brings together grassroots members from across the country and senior politicians to unite around making the case for the UK’s continued membership of the European Union, ahead of the forthcoming referendum.
The Labour Movement for Europe’s honorary President, Neil Kinnock, will address the audience of MPs, peers, journalists, trade union activists, Labour Party members and members of sister parties from around Europe.
Also speaking at the launch event are Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Business Secretary; Pat McFadden MP, Shadow Europe Minister; Pat Glass MP, Chair of the pro-European group within the Parliamentary Labour Party; Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, former Leader of the House of Lords; Alan Johnson MP, leading the Labour Yes campaign; and Ruairi Quinn TD, former leader of the Labour Party in Ireland and treasurer of the international Party of European Socialists.
The event follows the announcement of a Labour ‘Yes’ campaign over the weekend and coincides with a Labour leadership hustings event in the European Parliament.
Lord Kinnock, the Movement’s Honorary President, said:
“To influence, we must be in – there is no such thing as ‘outfluence’.
The referendum on our EU membership poses a crucial decision about our country’s place in the world. Do we withdraw into delusions that we can go it alone in an increasingly globalised planet? Or do we face the realities of economics and politics, work to maximise the strength of the UK in the EU, sustain Britain’s national and international interest, and serve younger generations by voting ‘Yes’?
The Labour Movement for Europe, in concert with Labour Yes and other positive campaigners, is making the practical, patriotic case for staying in. The head and the heart, the pocket and the principles, the economic security and the social standards of the British people are best advanced by that.”
Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Business Secretary, said:
“The EU is not set in stone, just as Britain isn’t. The EU can and should evolve. We need a reformed Europe, with a progressive engine at its core, to deliver for British people and for people across Europe.
“This is what is at stake and what we will be arguing for in the months ahead. Labour needs to take on the sulky obstructionism that has too often characterised the Tory approach to the EU and the naysayers who look backwards to the past, happy to diminish Britain and limit what the British people can achieve.”
Pat Glass MP, Chair of the pro-European Group in the PLP, said:
“I am Delighted to be involved with this LME event as it is clear that the campaign for a YES to Europe vote takes on momentum. The Labour MPs for a YES vote Group that I chair are ready to be part of that movement.”
Pat McFadden MP, Shadow Europe Secretary, said:
“With the Conservatives hopelessly divided on Europe there is a very important role for Labour in arguing a strong clear case for Britain to remain an EU member, both on economic grounds and in terms of our wider role in the world. We should be leading the debate about the EU’s future, not threatening to walk away from it. Alan Johnson’s appointment as leader of the Labour Yes campaign is good news for everyone who wants Labour to stay a member of the EU. The Labour Movement For Europe will have an important role in the Labour campaign for a Yes vote that Alan will lead.”
Giampi Alhadeff, a Labour activist and LME’s national chair, said:
“At its core, this referendum — the third under Cameron’s premiership — is a question about the kind of country and society we want to be. It would be foolish to leave this in the Tories’ hands. We need to champion EU membership as one of our central priorities now, so that everybody knows just how much is at stake.”
Notes for editors
- The Labour Movement for Europe is a socialist society affiliated to the Labour Party, whose aim is to improve and broaden the understanding of the European Union and its potential throughout the wider Labour movement and the United Kingdom. It is the home of pro-Europeans in the Labour and trade union movement. The LME campaigns with other organisations in the Labour movement for the UK to remain at the heart of the eu, exercising influence in accordance with its progressive values. www.labourmovement.eu
- Lord Kinnock is the Honorary President of the Movement. Giampi Alhadeff, a Labour activist and former general secretary of the Labour group of MEPs, is its national chair.
- Today’s reception marks the relaunch of LME for the new Parliament following the UK general election.