Hit or Miss? Ed Miliband states his case on Europe

In a long-await speech, this week Labour leader Ed Miliband explained his party's position on holding an EU referendum.

Ed Miliband: didn't fully rule out a referendum
Ed Miliband: didn't fully rule out a referendum

He has promised that in the "unlikely" event of powers being transferred from Britain to Brussels an extra "lock" will be introduced in the form of an in/out referendum.

Miliband insisted that he wanted to reform Europe, but added that this could most likely be achieved without a new treaty and therefore without a public vote. 

How I see it

Simon Gentry, director, MWW

Calling Ed Miliband’s speech on Europe a masterstroke would be an exaggeration, but it has achieved a number of important objectives and should cause his detractors to pause for thought. He’s a cannier politician than they give him credit for.

On an issue that the public tells pollsters it is not particularly concerned about he managed to neutralise a potential bust-up within the party, draw Labour and the ever more pro-EU Liberal Democrats closer together and back out of the limelight on the issue.

This will help give greater prominence to the wrangling inside the Conservative Party after May’s European elections, when the Europhobes will be demanding a harder line in the vain hope of winning back UKIP votes.

Importantly he made it clear that his political objective was the cost of living – an issue we know voters really do care about. That’s quite an achievement for one speech.

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