Labour will campaign to stay in the EU 'under all circumstances' says shadow foreign secretary

Hillary Benn says the EU has brought peace and influence for Britain

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The Labour Party will campaign to stay in the EU at the forthcoming membership referendum “under all circumstances”, the party’s shadow foreign secretary has said.

Hilary Benn said Britain had to work in alliance with other European nations and that the EU had “brought peace, prosperity and influence for Britain”.

“Jeremy [Corbyn] said whatever differences we may have with some aspects of European policy, whatever reforms we want to see we will stay to fight together for a better Europe. It’s absolutely clear: our policy has not changed,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“We’re going to stay to fight together for a better Europe, we will be campaigning to remain in the European Union under all circumstances.”

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Mr Benn highlighted the on-going refugee crisis as an example of where cooperation between European countries was needed in the 21st century.

The intervention comes hours after former shadow business secretary Chukka Umunna said he would not serve in the Cabinet on the basis of Mr Corbyn’s EU stance.

“It is my view that we should support the UK remaining a member of the EU, notwithstanding the outcome of any renegotiation by the prime minister, and I cannot envisage any circumstances where I would be campaigning alongside those who would argue for us to leave; Jeremy has made it clear to me that he does not wholeheartedly share this view,” Mr Umunna said in a statement on Sunday night.

When asked why Mr Umunna had said this, Mr Benn on Monday morning replied: “You’ll have to ask Chukka that.”


During his leadership campaign Mr Corbyn had said he would not “blanketly” commit to campaigning to stay in in the event that David Cameron decided to strip away employment protections provided by the EU.

The UK is due to hold a referendum on membership of the EU by 2017, according to a pledge in the Conservative election manifesto.

The Prime Minister has said he will first renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership, however – focusing on stifling freedom of movement and cutting back social security provision for nationals of other member states.