We will never walk away from EU vows Miliband: Labour leader pledges to 'restore commitment' in rare foreign policy speech

  • Labour leader has vowed to 'never' walk away from the European Union
  • Ed Miliband pledges to ‘restore our commitment’ to EU and other groups
  • Accusing David Cameron of ‘taking Britain to the edge of European exit’

Labour will ‘never’ walk away from the European Union, Ed Miliband will say today.

In a rare foreign policy speech, the Labour leader will pledge to ‘restore our commitment’ to the EU and other international groups such as the United Nations.

Mr Miliband has all but ruled out a referendum on Europe, saying it is ‘very unlikely’ there will be a transfer of powers to the EU that would trigger one. 

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In a rare foreign policy speech, Labour leader Ed Miliband (pictured above) will today pledge to ‘restore Britain's commitment’ to the European Union and other international groups such as the United Nations

In a rare foreign policy speech, Labour leader Ed Miliband (pictured above) will today pledge to ‘restore Britain's commitment’ to the European Union and other international groups such as the United Nations

Today he will accuse David Cameron of ‘taking Britain to the edge of European exit’. And he will pledge to embrace the EU in a bid to secure reforms.

‘We will be rebuild our influence, and that starts with the EU,’ he will say. 

‘I want a clear message to be sent to our European partners that an incoming Labour government will be serious about leading once again in Europe and serious also about reforming Europe.

‘Leaving Europe would be profoundly damaging to the lives of our people and the future of our country. We will never put the national interest at risk by threatening to leave.’ 

His comments echo a controversial intervention this month by Tony Blair, who said Britain’s membership of the EU was ‘too important’ to put to a public vote.


Ukip's Nigel Farage

Ukip's Nigel Farage

He was a foreigner thought to have been born in Turkey. But Ukip has insisted St George would be welcome in Britain today because of his skills as a dragon slayer.

Yesterday on St George’s Day, the party announced that it would make it a Bank Holiday in England.

At the policy launch, economic spokesman Patrick O’Flynn faced questions over whether England’s patron saint would have been welcomed by Ukip.

In its election manifesto the party has said it would have a five-year moratorium on unskilled migrants moving to the country. Mr O’Flynn said: ‘Well, I guess dragon-slaying is a skill but whether it is one that’s in short supply for the needs of the British economy, we will leave to our migration commission.’

The party said it wanted to end a ‘cultural self-loathing’ about being proud to be English.

Nigel Farage yesterday celebrated St George’s Day at a working men’s club in Ramsgate, in the South Thanet constituency he is hoping to represent. Asked whether Ukip would have welcomed St George, Mr Farage said: ‘I think there’s room within our immigration policy for heroes.’

Mr Miliband’s decision to turn his back on a referendum has angered some senior Labour figures, who fear it leaves the party looking dangerously out of touch with public opinion.

But he will claim today that Britain’s hopes of achieving reform in Brussels have been weakened by Mr Cameron’s pledge to hold an In/Out referendum by the end of 2017.

‘This government’s approach to Europe means that even when Britain’s interests are shared by other member states, EU leaders are reluctant to support us because they think we already have one foot out of the door,’ he will say.

He will accuse the Prime Minister of backing a referendum because he is ‘too weak’ to take on his party’s Right-wingers and his fear of Ukip.

In an incendiary claim he will warn that Mr Cameron ‘has presided over the biggest loss of influence for our country in a generation’.

Mr Miliband’s claim to statesmanship will anger Tory high command, who point out he withdrew his support for strikes on Syria for its use of chemical weapons in 2013 under pressure from Left-wingers in his shadow cabinet.

But the Labour leader will accuse the Tories of failing to learn the lessons of the Iraq War. 

He will also commit to putting climate change ‘at the core of Labour’s foreign policy’, including pushing for costly targets to cut carbon emissions to zero.

Former business secretary Lord Mandelson last night admitted voters were still spooked by the economic record of the last Labour government.

He told Channel Four News: ‘People like Labour’s values and feel they are more in touch, but they have a problem about their record from the last government, and the last two years where people feel, fairly or not, that we allowed debt, borrowing and the deficit to run away from us.’

Lord Mandelson also acknowledged there was ‘quite of lot of fear’ among business leaders about the prospect of a Labour government. But he insisted it was ‘misplaced’.

Mr Miliband (pictured above) is accusing David Cameron of ‘taking Britain to the edge of European exit’

Mr Miliband (pictured above) is accusing David Cameron of ‘taking Britain to the edge of European exit’


With only David Cameron or Ed Miliband in a position to be Prime Minister after the election, voters face a stark choice on immigration policy.

Here, JAMES SLACK examines the key differences between the party manifestos.


Tories: Re-state commitment to cut net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ from current level of 300,000. Make it harder for non-EU citizens to get marriage visas to enter the UK. Cap number of non –EU work visas at 20,700.

Labour: No upper limit on net migration. Last Labour government presided over a deliberate open door policy which saw the foreign-born population rocket by 3.6million. Ed Miliband has said sorry for the calamitous underestimate of the number of Eastern Europeans who arrived – but, crucially, he refuses to accept unprecedented levels of non-EU migration were a mistake.



Tories: No in-work benefits for four years. Benefits for jobseekers stopped. Residency requirement for social housing. Citizens of poor countries which join the EU denied free movement.

Labour: Prevent migrants from claiming handouts for two years. Support open borders with the EU. Would block in/out referendum or attempt to curb free movement.



Tories: New system of ‘deport first, appeal later’ to dramatically increase number of removals. Fit electronic tags on foreign criminals so they can be monitored by satellite pending deportation. Scrap Human Rights Act.

Labour: Ideologically-wedded to HRA. Vague promise to ‘deport those who commit crimes while they are here’. Last Labour government released 1,000 overseas convicts without even considering them for deportation.



Tories: Clamp down on satellite campuses opened in London by universities based elsewhere in UK. Since 2010 party has closed 850 of the bogus colleges which proliferated under Labour.

Labour: No mention of bogus colleges. Under last Labour government, wholesale abuse saw number of student visas issued more than triple. The National Audit Office found that in the 2009 as many as 50,000 bogus students may have entered the UK to work rather than study.

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