Labour Leave bids for leftward EU exit

Posted by Luke James in Britain

Hoey and Hopkins lead MPs’ charge on ‘anti-socialist’ bloc

LABOUR MPs launched a left-wing campaign to leave the “anti-socialist” European Union yesterday by warning that the party’s most popular policies would be banned by Brussels.

A government headed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would find itself in breach of EU competition laws if it pursued public ownership of railways or energy companies, said Labour Leave.

In a pamphlet entitled Jez EU Can’t, published to coincide with its London launch, Labour Leave also outlined how ending NHS outsourcing, cracking down on tax avoidance and strengthening workers’ rights would also be outlawed.

“The EU is anti-democratic, is anti-socialist and is not accountable,” said ex-minister Kate Hoey, one of five MPs to break with party leaders to call for an exit left.

“The EU commissioners aren’t elected, we can’t get rid of them and I believe the continuing way they have tried to ensure our country has less and less control over what we do is absolutely crucial.”

Veteran left-wing MP ­Kelvin Hopkins said the situation would be made worse by the EU-US trade deal TTIP, which will give private companies the abilities to sue governments that oppose ­privatisation.

“TTIP is the final demonstration that the European Union is about looking after the interests of the corporate world — not working people,” said Mr Hopkins.

“Millions of Labour voters understand that. Thousands of Labour Party members understand that.”

Former TUC general secretary Brendan Barber, a board member of the Britain Stronger In campaign, claimed the EU had delivered “concrete benefits” for British workers, including rights to paid holiday and protection for part-time and agency workers.

He claimed that millions of jobs connected to EU trade would be put at risk by a British exit, saying: “Workers, trade union members and hard-working families are stronger in Europe and leaving would be a threat to their security and prosperity.”

Former Cabinet Office minister Graham Stringer, as well as back-bench MPs Roger Godsiff and Khalid Mahmood, are among other MPs supporting Labour Leave.

The group is being funded by entrepreneur John Mills, who was agent of the No campaign in the 1975 referendum and is secretary of Labour Leave.

Jez EU can’t…

1. An “integrated publicly owned railway network” is illegal under EU law under directive 2012/34/EU.

2. Removing the private sector from the NHS will be very difficult to reconcile with certain fundamental principles of EU law, including the freedom to provide services, EU public procurement, competition and state aid law.

3. EU directives (2009/72EU and 2009/73/EU) on the “internal market” constrain the ability of the British government to undertake radical reform of the energy market.

4. Restrictions on the right to strike under EU law could not be unilaterally repealed by a future Labour government. The European Court of Justice has held that the rights of companies to establish themselves and to provide services in other EU member states have “direct effect” against trade unions.

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