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Friday, June 03, 2016

Why Labour MPs who want to leave the EU are playing with fire?

Although the debate around whether we should leave the European Union or not has often resembled a family argument within the Tory party, I have been intrigued recently by those Labour MPs who have lined up behind Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin in calling for us to quit the biggest free trade area in the World.

Yesterday, we had South African-born Peter Hain claiming that the German-born Gisela Stuart had "no right to claim to speak for voters in Wales".  She came to Cardiff to argue that working people in Wales" would be better off outside the EU. That is despite the very clear evidence that leaving the EU would cost jobs and lead to severe cuts in public services.

I was particularly exercised by the argument being advanced by Vauxhall Labour MP Kate Hoey, though. She has urged Welsh voters to cut the link with Brussels and end the careers of David Cameron and George Osborne.

The first question that arises from this curious argument is who does she think will succeed them? Is Hoey really saying that Boris Johnson and Michael Gove would be better? More importantly though, if this choice is really a partisan one isn't the natural choice to vote 'Remain' so as to ensure that we have a chance of ousting the Tories in the future?

What Kate Hoey does not appear to have factored in is that if we vote to leave the EU then the odds of Scotland voting for independence are massively increased. Welsh voters would then be as part of a UK rump which would be dominated by the Tories for many years to come. It would be very difficult to secure a non-Tory Government.

Is that what the Labour Leavers really want?
I've never really worked out what people like Kate Hoey, Frank Field and Gisela Stuart are doing in the Labour Party.

The only explanation I can think of is that they just love the thrill of being contrarians - If they were ordinary backbench Tories, they would be fairly mainstream, and therefore quite anonymous, individuals. Being members of the Labour party therefore makes them stand out a bit.

If I were a Labour MP I would probably be a bit miffed with this tiresome trio.

Just a thought.
There's a letter in the Indy today querying the existence of a "vote leave" group within the SNP and laying out the financial benefits of Scotland remaining within the EU. The equations are as applicable to Wales - perhaps even more so, as our contribution to the EU budget (estimate based on population) is just over half that of Scotland's.

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