Friday, 1 August 2014

The People's Pledge: EU Referendum News

Leading union urges Labour to guarantee an EU referendum: Influential trade union Unite - the Labour party's biggest donor - has urged Ed Miliband to back an EU referendum.

Passing a motion in favour of an EU membership vote at its annual conference last month, the union said that refusing to guarantee an EU referendum would be an "electoral millstone" around the Labour party's neck at the May 2015 general election.

Unite leader Len McCluskey said: "I would not like to be Ed Miliband explaining why he is not joining other parties in offering the British people a vote on something that is clearly a growing source of public concern."

In backing a referendum Unite joins another major trade union, the RMT (Rail, Maritime & Transport union), which has long supported a direct public vote on EU membership.

Speaker backs an EU referendum: House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has added his voice to the growing list of MPs of all parties backing an EU referendum.

Endorsing an EU vote, Mr Bercow said: "I'm not going to get into the question of the timing because I will leave that for party leaders, but I do happen to think there is quite a strong argument, actually, for there to be a referendum at some suitable point on British membership of the European Union because it seems to me otherwise our membership is fundamentally insecure. And there is a lot to be said for resolving the issue one way or the other."

Mr Bercow's intervention is interesting for two reasons. First, because the Speaker traditionally is meant to remain politically neutral. Second, because the Speaker must certify Bills - such as the soon-to-be-revived EU Referendum Bill - that seek to bypass the House of Lords under the terms of the Parliament Act.

Mr Bercow's backing in principle for an EU vote is a welcome indication that this step on the way to an EU referendum law may not prove to be an obstacle.

Miliband brushes off EP elections result: Of all the places to pick in which to make a speech 'responding' to the results of the recent European Parliament elections, Ed Miliband chose the Essex town of Thurrock.

This is the constituency that, back in April 2012, voted 89% in favour of a national EU referendum in a local vote held by the People’s Pledge to kick off our grassroots campaign.

So it was far from a great start to Mr Miliband's bid to 'rebuild trust' with disenchanted voters to turn up in Thurrock with the news that an EU referendum still isn’t his priority ...

Read more about Ed Miliband's EU referendum mistake on the People's Pledge blog >>

Nick Clegg snubs EU referendum rebellion: The disastrous result for the Lib Dems at the recent European Parliament elections - in which the party lost all but one of its MEPs - led to growing calls from "at least three Liberal Democrat ministers as well as other senior party sources" for a shift in Lib Dem EU referendum policy.

Leading figures urged Nick Clegg to "bow to the inevitable" and avoid appearing "indifferent" to the recent election results by guaranteeing to back an in-out referendum after the next election.

Fearing that failure to back an EU vote would leave the party badly exposed at the general election, one source told The Guardian: "We will just end up looking shifty if we refuse to guarantee a referendum."

But in a supreme display of the indifference to public opinion his colleagues were urging him to avoid, Nick Clegg promptly slapped down these recent new demands for an EU referendum guarantee.

That many Lib Dems will not wish to see the recent EU election results repeated at next year's general election means that further debate over the party's policy is likely at their annual conference in early October.

About us

The People's Pledge is Britain's leading EU referendum campaign, with the backing of 93 MPs of all parties, 395 Councillors and over 132,000 members of the public.

We don't take a view on whether Britain should be 'in' or 'out' of the EU and have supporters from both sides of EU opinion. Our view is simply that the EU has changed significantly since our last Europe referendum nearly 40 years ago and its powers today justify a new public vote to, democratically, either endorse or reject membership.

Our grassroots focus and innovative tactics - like our local referendums in marginal constituencies - have turned around opinion on an EU referendum at the top of government in a very short space of time.

Today, we are at the forefront of efforts to secure the approval of MPs for the EU Referendum Bill, as well as pushing for Labour and the Liberal Democrats - ultimately, a majority of MPs across all parties - to make their own pledges to give people a direct in-out vote on Britain's membership of the EU.

Register your support

To register your support for an in-out referendum on Britain's membership of the EU, visit our website at