Right-wing Tory backbencher Adam Afriyie says that in mid-November he will force a vote in Parliament over an in-or-out-of-the-EU referendum in 2014 by tabling an amendment to a private member’s bill calling for a referendum in 2017.
Former Labour Party chair Tom Watson says he may support Afriyie. The Labour front bench previously said it would back a referendum only when there’s a big shift in British-EU relations. Now it says it will “make a decision when it sees the text of the amendment”.
To try to embarrass the Tories in Parliament is good. But there are many other ways to do it. And the call for a referendum on the EU is, here and now, only a disguised call to get Britain out of the EU and re-raise barriers between countries in Europe.
Whatever the capitalist and bureaucratic evils of the EU, Britain has plenty of equally capitalist and bureaucratic evils of its own, and re-raising barriers between countries in Europe adds further evils.
Support, or semi-support, for the Tory right on this issue is short-sighted opportunism.