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EU Referendum

Labour should campaign to leave the European Union, say Birmingham MPs

The battle over British membership of the European Union is heating up with two Birmingham Labour MPs arguing their party should call for the UK to quit

MPs Khalid Mahmood, left, and Roger Godsiff say Labour has got it wrong over Europe

MPs Khalid Mahmood, left, and Roger Godsiff say Labour has got it wrong over EuropeMPs Khalid Mahmood, left, and Roger Godsiff say Labour has got it wrong over Europe


Labour is letting down voters and risks handing votes to UKIP by backing EU membership, according to two Birmingham MPs.

Roger Godsiff, MP for Birmingham Hall Green, and Khalid Mahmood , MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, criticised Labour colleagues as an historic referendum on whether to quit the European Union draws closer, with speculation that a ballot could be held in June.

They were among six Labour MPs to sign a letter warning: “The party runs a real risk of losing swathes of its support to the Tories and to UKIP.”

The letter said: “Many Labour voters oppose our membership of the EU. They are unhappy with the undemocratic nature of its institutions: they oppose our contributing billions of pounds every year to an organisation that is largely unaccountable.”

It continued: “Why, then, is the Labour Party ignoring those voters and campaigning to stay in the EU come what may?”

With the exception of a handful of MPs, Labour is united in supporting EU membership.

A group within the Parliamentary Labour Party in favour of staying in the EU has more than 200 members including party leader Jeremy Corbyn and other members of the Shadow Cabinet.

Conservative divisions on Europe are expected to emerge after Prime Minister David Cameron reveals the date of the referendum.

It’s thought he hopes to agree a deal with other leaders in February to change the terms of the UK’s membership of the EU, allowing him to announce a referendum will be held in June.

However, he appeared to play down expectations of swift progress in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he insisted he could wait to get a deal if required.

He said: “I’m not in a hurry. I can hold my referendum any time up until the end of 2017.”

The Britain Stronger In Europe campaign group has distributed a four-page A3 colour leaflet titled “Europe & You” focuses on the benefits to families of Britain’s membership of the EU to thousands of households in the West Midlands.

It states: “Being part of Europe means businesses in the West Midlands get free access to over 500 million customers in the EU – and can trade with no tarifs or barriers.

“This helps them grow and create jobs here in the West Midlands.”

Karen Brady, former managing director of Birmingham City, is one of the leading figures in the campaign to remain in the EU.

She said: “UK businesses can create more jobs in Europe than out on their own.”

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/labour-should-campaign-leave-european-10769248

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