Lord Owen speaking today, 22 March 2016.
“Ed Miliband refused a referendum in the last election and it cost him many votes and a crucial number of seats [see Annex A]. He is a sincere and very committed European but it is important to recall that since 1962, under Hugh Gaitskell, the Labour Party has been every bit as strong an anti-federalist political party as the Conservative Party. The Labour Cabinet in July 1977 under James Callaghan actually defined the UK position as ‘Yes’ to Britain’s continued and constructive membership, but specifically ‘No’ to the integrationist wish eventually for a single state a United States of Europe.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leave in an orderly way through a transition period under a government which has four years to run before the next election. They will do all the negotiating. If we take this opportunity we will never become part of a United States of Europe. The ‘remain’ campaign wants everyone to ignore the Five Presidents Report, wants people to forget that their next demand is a Europe-wide election for President of the Commission. Inexorably all history points to the inevitable nature of a federal union to support a single currency. Alternatively the euro collapses with devastating effects. Our opportunity is to get out before it collapses.”
Read Lord Owen’s full statement here: PressRelease22.3.16