Letter: Should Labour oppose the Maastricht treaty?

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The Independent Online
Sir: You have recently printed articles endorsing the view held by a pro-Maastricht group of Labour MPs. They argue that anything but support for the treaty would be politically inept. The leadership of the party is reported to hold similar views. Much is made of having to create and maintain an image of responsible opposition - echoes of a pre-election statement.

I am a Labour Party member. The party does not agree with the content of the treaty in regard to the Social Chapter. We are urged by Giles Radice, MP ('Labour must keep its European flag flying', 30 June) to consider the dire consequences should the treaty be defeated. Surely, all of us in the Labour Party would welcome a change of government.

If there is a desire for federalism in Europe, then the debate will continue and further opportunities to examine European policies will emerge. Maastricht only represents the outcome of horse- trading at a point in time; there may be better things to come.

The responsibility of the Parliamentary Labour Party is to oppose the present government. Those in the party who believe that we should support Tory policy when it appears to coincide with Labour policy are wrong. Consistently, for 13 years, the Tories have correctly identified problem areas in our society (education, local government, inner-city deprivation, water, etc), and, consistently, they have introduced solutions that are wholly inappropriate to society in general and Labour voters in particular.

Whether Maastricht, the M25, or mining, Labour must oppose.

Yours faithfully,


Whitehaven, Cumbria

1 July