So Ed Miliband claims in the FT today that he is against ever close union. He also says that if there is a future Treaty change which leads to a new transfer of power from Britain to the EU, then he will hold an IN/OUT referendum on our EU membership.
One of the earliest actions taken by this Government was to enact a referendum lock so that any future transfers of power would only happen with the explicit support of the British people in a national vote. It’s not clear if Miliband wants to replace this with an IN/OUT referendum or supplement it. If he wants this to be instead of the existing referendum lock, what happens if people don’t like the Treaty change but want to remain in the EU? Do they still vote to stay in but get lumbered with new EU powers which they detest? Will there be two questions?
A Treaty change could push for closer union and lead to more powers being stripped from member states and given to the EU. Assuming that Miliband does not disavow everything he believes in, we can safely say that in the event of such a Treaty change Miliband will campaign for an In vote.
Let’s be clear what this means; if there is a Treaty change, despite his protestations to the contrary, Miliband will campaign for ever closer union.
Labour needs to be open with the British people about what its EU policy actually is.