As TV debate turns nasty...
More Labour MPs declare for Leave as splits develop
John Mann and Dennis Skinner, who represent Labour heartlands, have declared their backing for the Leave Campaign, joining seven party colleagues, including Gisela Stuart (pictured) who took part in last night’s televised debate featuring First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The pronouncements by Mr Mann and Mr Skinner are the latest signs of a deepening split in Labour. Insiders blame the leadership for failing to rally working class voters behind the Remain campaign.
But others say these are the people most concerned about immigration and is perceived impact on jobs and public services.
Bassetlaw MP Mr Mann said he had reached the conclusion that it was “impossible” to fix the EU from the inside.
In an article for The Sun that at all times Britain now had “one arm tied behind our back” by the EU with equality worsening due to new arrivals and no hope of fixing already damaged workers’ rights.
He added: “The reason I’ve concluded that we have to come out is it’s impossible to change the EU from the inside.”
Referring to his Westminster colleagues, he said: “They are going to get a big shock about how Labour councillors vote, they will get a big shock about how Labour members vote. And it shouldn’t come as a shock how many Labour voters will vote.”
Bolsover MP Mr Skinner turned to the Morning Star to continue his war on capitalism and how the EU obstructed his battle.
“My opposition from the very beginning has been on the lines that fighting capitalism state-by-state is hard enough. It’s even harder when you’re fighting it on the basis of eight states, 10 states and now 28,” he said.
He added that there was now just one socialist government – in France – “and it’s hanging on by the skin of its teeth.”
Other Labour MPs are expected to declare their position in the remaining days before the vote on 23 June.
In a televised debate last night Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured above) was judged to have been at least a match for Tory Leave campaigner Boris Johnson, who were joined by four others in a ferocious series of exchanges.
She refused to let the her opponents draw her into a debate on the prospect of a second independence referendum and accused Mr Johnson of lying about the cost of Britain’s EU membership.
The First Minister claimed it was a “scandal” that the Leave campaign claimed EU membership cost the UK £350 million.
Ms Sturgeon, who was joined on the Remain side by Labour’s Angela Eagle and the Conservative Amber Rudd, accused the former London Mayor of campaigning for Brexit to fulfil his ambition to become Prime Minister.
“I am staggered that Boris Johnson (pictured above) is standing here tonight still defending this £350 million a week figure,” said the First Minister. “It is a scandal that is still emblazoned across the campaign bus, because it is an absolute whopper.”
Mr Johnson, supported on the Leave side by fellow Conservative Andrea Leadsom and Labour’s Gisela Stuart, responded by saying Ms Sturgeon was “keener to be ruled by Brussels than Westminster politicians.”
Leading Leave campaigner Ms Stuart claimed “the European Union just isn’t working any more”.
But Ms Eagle said the referendum was a “vote about jobs”, adding. “Your rights at work are on the ballot paper, too; paid leave, time off to have children. Leave campaigners think that is red tape to be cut. Leaving would lead to a bonfire of workers’ rights.”