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EU membership referendum unlikely: UK Labour

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Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.

Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader has pledged to hold a vote on the country’s membership of the European Union only if more powers are transferred to Brussels.

On Tuesday, Ed Miliband said he would announce his strategy regarding the vote in detail during a speech on Wednesday.

“I am announcing that the next Labour government will legislate for a new lock: there would be no transfer of powers from the UK to the EU without a referendum on our continued membership of the EU,” he said.

This means that if Labour wins the election in 2015, there will be little possibility for a referendum on the membership at least until 2020.

“It is important to emphasize that there are no current proposals – from either the EU or any member state – for a further transfer of powers from Britain,” Miliband said.

In January 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU during the early part of the next parliament, by the end of 2017 at the latest, if his Conservative party wins the 2015 general election.

The British premier made the promise under pressure from Tory Eurosceptic backbenchers and the UK Independence Party.

This comes as a recent poll, published on January 12, found that most Britons prefer the UK to stay in the EU and try to shrink Brussels’ powers.

According to the survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI for think-tank British Future, about 38 percent of Britons believe the UK should stay in the bloc and try to reduce the EU’s powers, while some 28 percent want the country to leave the EU.


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