By Stefan Bienkowski
The Labour Party are preparing to alter their shifting approach to policy over the UK’s relationship with the EU by pledging to support an In/Out referendum on the country’s membership of the union if elected in 2015, according to a report in Wednesday’s Times newspaper.
Referencing an unnamed source within the Labour party, the paper stated that Ed Miliband would support reform between Britain and its ties with the EU.
Within the report the Labour leader was said to be two weeks away from publicly announcing pledges to alter the founding treaties of the union and to then use any changes as an opportunity to propose a referendum.
When questioned over the allegations, a Labour spokesperson refused to either confirm or deny any potential pledge for an EU referendum.
“We will keep our position consistent … We have always said that any decision about a European referendum will be based on the national interests,” the spokesperson said.
“We do not believe committing now to an in/out referendum in 2017 is in Britain’s national interest.”
Commenting, SNP MSP Clare Adamson, who sits on the European and External Relations Committee, stated:
“Labour’s decision to follow the lead of the Tories shows where their real priorities lie, and highlights the need for a Yes vote in September.
“It is now indisputable that the threat to Scotland remaining in Europe comes from remaining part of a Westminster system that is out of step with the wishes of people in Scotland.”
The MSP also said: “People in Scotland want to play an active, engaged role in the EU and the only way that is possible is with a Yes vote for an independent Scotland in next year’s referendum.
“The biggest source of uncertainty on Scotland’s future is coming from Westminster parties, who are more interested in their own political games than responding to what people in Scotland want.
Although such a u-turn on the topic of European membership may correspond with public opinion in England, similar anxiety over the continent hasn’t spread north of the border.
Opinion polling in Scotland has shown a consistent majority amongst the Scottish public favouring continued membership within the EU, with the likes of UKIP failing to gain any traction in Scotland.
In a recent Survation Poll conducted at the start of February, Scottish voters were asked how they would vote in an EU referendum were it to take place today. Excluding the don’t knows, 58 percent said they would vote to stay within the European Union.