Use this guide to find out more about what the political parties have to say about the referendum on the European Union. The parties are listed in order of their number of MPs.
Due to members of the Government holding differing views on the subject of EU membership the Conservative party will remain neutral in the lead up to the referendum, collective responsibility of party representatives will be suspended only for the EU Referendum.
“At a meeting of the Party Board on 21 September 2015, the Board unanimously agreed to follow the recommendation of the Prime Minister that the Party remain neutral during the upcoming EU referendum campaign. The Party will not supply funds or voter information to either campaign.”
Conservative staff will be permitted to work for either side in their own time, or by taking unpaid leave of absence.
(Source: Conservative Press Office)
The Labour Party is campaigning for Britain to remain in Europe. The party believes that being a member state of the European Union is in the national interest and will ensure a stronger economy, a stronger voice in the world and will guarantee that there are opportunities and protections for the environment, consumers and workers. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn states:
“I am proud to support Labour’s campaign to keep Britain in Europe. That goes hand in hand with our determination to put a progressive reform agenda for the European Union on the table. Labour has campaigned to make sure our place in Europe has led to better protection and rights in the workplace, and we will continue to fight for jobs and security for all the British people. We will do all we can to defend those rights and work for a fairer and more prosperous Europe.”
(Source) Quote from Labour Press Office, dated 29 January 2016
The SNP believes that the UK should remain in the EU. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has expressed that following the Scottish Independence Referendum, which kept the United Kingdom in tact, there is now the risk of Scotland “being dragged out of Europe against its will”. Sturgeon believes that if the UK was to leave the European Union it would trigger the need for a further Scottish Independence referendum to ensure Scotland remains in the EU. With reference to Europe she states that:
“Collaboration between nations … is key to addressing the global challenges we face – and I fear the UK Government’s approach in dealing with our European partners runs counter to that.”
“Liberal Democrats firmly believe that being a member of the EU is in the best interest of our country. Together we will fight to ensure that each family, business, and person in Britain is part of a stronger, more prosperous nation. Together we created the world’s largest free trade area, we delivered peace, and we gave the British people the opportunity to live, work and travel freely. Britain is already stronger and better off trading and working with Europe. Millions of jobs are impacted by the ability to trade with Europe to this day, neighbours and allies support each other in what remains the world’s most successful project in peace. British people have more opportunities to work, travel and learn than ever before. Staying in Europe gives our children and grandchildren greater prospects. Protecting the natural environment remains one of the planet’s biggest challenges, for health, for food stocks and for climate change. These problems are tackled best together. Together we are stronger against terrorists, we can break the criminal gangs who threaten our country with the illegal drugs trade, weapons and human trafficking. It is not the time to turn our backs on Europe, leaving us isolated, sidelined and alone.”
“Plaid Cymru believes that Wales’s natural home is in Europe. The Union has served our interests and resonated with our values for many years and we would like to see this successful relationship flourish in future. Wales benefits from EU membership economically, socially and culturally. Nearly 200,000 jobs in Wales are linked to our access to the Single Market and its half a billion people. Through the EU, we have laws on equality, on the environment, on workers’ and consumer rights, on farming and food quality, to tackle climate change and much more. Plaid Cymru would like to see Wales with a stronger voice within a reformed European Union. We want to improve working conditions of employees and co-operate for the sake of the environment, sustainability and social justice. Crucially, cross-border cooperation is vital in keeping our citizens safe and in an age of increasing threats, it is important that these ties remain. The EU has helped to establish peace and preserve the peace in Europe: a role that should never be underestimated and that must be protected for the future.”
The Green Party
“The Green Party wants Britain to remain a part of the EU because we believe that we flourish when we work together on the shared challenges we face.
We want the EU to be more democratic, and accountable to the citizens of Europe, in order to achieve this we need to stay in and reform it. Let’s not leave the argument to friends of big business – It’s time to campaign for an EU that works for all. In this globalised world we need international rules to control big business and finance, and to ensure that people’s rights are protected. The EU is vital in safeguarding our environment. It’s only by working with our European neighbours that we can tackle climate change. It’s time to build on the lasting peace the EU has guaranteed and work for international justice and human rights. A new EU is possible: where corporate influence is challenged, power is held locally wherever possible, and citizens have a real say. We want to build that EU, but we can only do that by staying part of it.”
(Source: Green Party Press Office)
UK Independence Party (UKIP)
UKIP supports the campaign to leave the European Union. The Party’s constitution states:
“The Party believes that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (hereinafter “The United Kingdom”) should only be governed by her own citizens and that its governance shall at all times be conducted first and foremost in the interests of the United Kingdom and its peoples and that the only laws that should apply within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom are those wholly made by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. To that end it shall be the policy of the Party that the United Kingdom shall cease to be a member of the European Union and shall not thereafter make any Treaty or join any international organisation which involves in any way the surrender of any part of the United Kingdom’s sovereignty. The Party further believes that the integrity of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (hereinafter “The United Kingdom”) should be maintained.”