The Labour Party is a pro-European party and should campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum: that’s the overwhelming view of the candidates for the leadership and deputy leadership who responded to a survey by the Labour Movement for Europe launched earlier this summer.
We have had an excellent response from the candidates, with full and positive replies from eight of the nine contenders for the two posts.
These responses are detailed, thoughtful and clearly heartfelt. Not only do they make clear their determination to maintain Labour Party’s commitment to the European Union, but they also lay out detailed individual visions for EU reform and Britain’s future relationship.
Our aim in carrying out the survey was partly to draw attention to the importance of these issues, and partly to provide crucial information for pro-European party members when they decide how to cast their vote.
We have published all the responses in full on our website. Below, we provide a short quote from each candidate (in alphabetical order), and a link to their dedicated page on our website.
“Britain should remain at the heart of the EU, shaping its rules and its outlook in the world. To be on the outside like Norway – forced to obey its rules but unable to influence them – would be a disaster for the UK. Under my leadership, Labour will work constructively with our European partners on a shared project of reform.”
“Europe needs substantial reform. But that’s not a reason to pull out, as we will be affected by decisions in Europe whether we are in or out, and we will have far more impact staying in and working with our neighbours to get the changes we need.”
“Labour should set out its own clear position to influence negotiations, working with our European allies to set out a reform agenda to benefit ordinary Europeans across the continent. We cannot be content with the state of the EU as it stands. But that does not mean walking away, but staying to fight together for a better Europe.”
“It is in our economic interests to be part of the EU. But it’s not just about economics. It’s about our place in the world. The EU is better with Britain in it and British influence is increased by being part of it. We should not ignore that this is a group of states with common values too – democracy, respect for human rights, respect for borders, resolving differences peacefully. These values are important when you look beyond Europe’s borders.”
DEPUTY LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES
“A resounding Yes vote will provide the opportunity for us to put to bed the idea that Britain is a ‘reluctant partner’ in Europe. Our role has been hampered over the years, first by arriving late, then by giving the impression we would rather be somewhere else in Mid Atlantic, hankering after a lost imperial past.”
“We should be at the heart of Europe, influencing big issues on trade, climate change, development, foreign policy and security which have a global impact. Britain should be at the top table when every decision is made, putting progressive values and priorities at the heart of European decision making.”
“Labour must be unashamedly a pro European party. Rights at work, environmental protections and human rights are all guaranteed by our membership of the EU and we must not shy away from making a positive left-of-centre case for EU membership. This has to include our vision of a social Europe which exists to help its ordinary citizens at work as well as facilitating cross border trade.”
“The UK needs to try to re-establish itself at the heart of the EU, in order to influence future change. The UK lost this role in recent years, playing more the role of the awkward relative, the outsider. There is little prospect of the EU adopting British priorities if we remain semi-detached. Reasserting this role must be a priority once the referendum is concluded.”
“Only by staying in the EU can we get the change we want to see both at home and abroad. With the world economy being more interdependent than ever before, many of the problems that we in the UK are tackling cannot be solved by ourselves. I want to see a Britain that is proud to play its part on the European and world stage, finding ambitious but practical solution.