Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has attacked David Cameron’s EU negations as a "theatrical sideshow", while listing how Britain has benefited from the "vital frame work" of the European Union.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions on Monday, where Mr Cameron delivered a statement to MPs on the EU referendum reforms he agreed in Brussels, the leader of the opposition said the negotiations had been reduced to an argument about cutting benefits for migrants.
Mr Corbyn said that during his own visit to Brussels last week, a socialist colleague had told him: "We are discussing the future of a continent and one English Tory has reduced it to the issue of taking away benefits from workers and children."
“The reality is that this entire negotiation has not been about the challenges facing our continent, neither has it been about the issues facing the people of Britain,” said Mr Corbyn.
“Indeed it’s been a theatrical sideshow about trying to appease, or failing to appease, half of the Prime minister’s own Conservative party.”
During his speech, in which he descried the EU as a "vital frame work for European trade and co-operation in the 21st century," Mr Corbyn said the summit in Brussels should have been used to discuss measures to prevent workers being undercut by exploited migrants.
He went on to list how the EU has bolstered British workers' rights and how migrants have benefited the country.
What has the EU ever done for us?
What has the EU ever done for us?
1/7 1. It gives you freedom to live, work and retire anywhere in Europe
As a member of the EU, UK citizens benefit from freedom of movement across the continent. Considered one of the so-called four pillars of the European Union, this freedom allows all EU citizens to live, work and travel in other member states.
2/7 2. It sustains millions of jobs
A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, released in October 2015, suggested 3.1 million British jobs were linked to the UK’s exports to the EU.
3/7 3. Your holiday is much easier - and safer
Freedom to travel is one of the most exercised benefits of EU membership, with Britons having made 31 million visits to the EU in 2014 alone. But a lot of the benefits of being an EU citizen are either taken for granted or go unnoticed.
4/7 4. It means you're less likely to get ripped off
Consumer protection is a key benefit of the EU’s single market, and ensures members of the British public receive equal consumer rights when shopping anywhere in Europe.
5/7 5. It offers greater protection from terrorists, paedophiles, people traffickers and cyber-crime
Another example of a lesser-known advantage of EU membership is the benefit of cross-country coordination and cooperation in the fight against crime.
6/7 6. Our businesses depend on it
According to 71% of all members of the Confederation of British Influence (CBI), and 67 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the EU has had an overall positive impact on their business.
7/7 7. We have greater influence
Robin Niblett, Director of think-tank Chatham House, stated in a report published last year: “For a mid-sized country like the UK, which will never again be economically dominant either globally or regionally, and whose diplomatic and military resources are declining in relative terms, being a major player in a strong regional institution can offer a critical lever for international influence.
“We must be clear, on all sides, that Britain has benefited from migration; from EU workers coming in to work in our industry and in our public services to fill gaps," he said.
"For example, the thousands of doctors and nurses who work in our National Health Service, saving lives every day."
“The European Union has delivered protection for workers in Britain," said Mr Corbyn, listing a workers’ rights including minimum paid leave protection, paid maternity and paternity leave, equal pay, anti-discrimination law and work force protection when companies change ownership.
Mr Corbyn also said the negotiations failed to address issues such as climate change, the power of global corporations, cyber-crime and terrorism, and refugee movements across the world, all of which, he argued, can "only be solved by international cooperation".
Mr Cameron announced on over the weekend that Britain would hold its in-out referendum on membership of the European Union on 23 June of this year.
The vote follows a renegotiation of the terms of membership of the EU by the Prime Minister.