Labour "Only Party" Able To Make Case For EU

22 February 2016, 08:41

Labour is the only party offering a consistent defence of the EU in Scotland, with the Tories "hopelessly divided'' and the SNP "tying themselves in knots'' over independence, according to shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray.

The party's only Scottish MP will visit Brussels on Monday and Tuesday to discuss Scotland's membership of the EU with leading European socialists.

During his visit, he will deliver a speech at the Foundation for Progressive Studies and meet with the Labour leadership in the European Parliament, including the Chair of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Gianni Pittella.

He will also meet with organisations representing Scotland's interests to the EU.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Murray said: "With the Tories hopelessly divided and the SNP tying themselves in knots about why we should share sovereignty with our neighbours across the Channel, but not across the Tweed, it will fall to the Labour Party to make the case for why being a part of Europe is best for working people the length and breadth of our country.''

He added: "With David Cameron's negotiation behind us, now we can get on with making the positive case for the UK, and Scotland, remaining inside the EU.

"The EU has been a great success story since the Second World War, bringing peace to a continent that was too often ravaged by war.

"Today, that role has changed and the EU is now Scotland's largest trading partner, and the means by which we can face the challenges of the future, whether that is our shared security, climate change or migration.

"In this referendum campaign we will be making a distinctly Labour case for why Scots should vote to remain in the EU.

"Yes, it's the best option for jobs and for our country's prosperity, but it's also the best option for a modern, outward looking nation like Scotland to be working in partnership with our friends and allies across Europe.

"Labour supporters in Scotland and across the UK will be crucial to winning this referendum.''

Labour faces the prospect of going into the EU referendum with a vastly reduced representation in Scotland, following a near wipe-out in the general election and polls predicting it could lose around a third of its seats in Holyrood.

The Conservatives have launched a concerted effort to beat them into third place in May - seven weeks before the EU referendum - with the SNP still enjoying the support of around half of the electorate, according to the polls.