Unite urges Miliband to offer EU referendum

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The Unite union has called on the Labour party to offer an In-out referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.

The for a vote on EU membership from Labour's biggest union backer will not come as welcome news to Ed Miliband, who has ruled out the possibility of an EU vote unless there is a proposed transfer of sovereignty from Westminster to Brussels.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey told delegates at the union’s policy conference in Liverpool: “We know what the consequences are of silence on the matter of the European Union. It leaves the field open for UKIP and others to exploit people’s real concerns in order to win votes for their right-wing agenda".

The BBC reports that sources close to the trade union boss said he told the union executive: "It can never be wrong to consult the people".

The union said its position sought to highlight the close links between the Brussels establishment and the financial sector, as well as what the union called "an agenda of deregulation and so-called flexibility in the labour market".

McCluskey urged Labour not to cut off all its options on the referendum question and warned of the dangers of the party entering the general election without the promise of a vote, in opposition to the Tories and UKIP who have promised a referendum.