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Monday 14th May 2012 | 14:55
Are both Labour and the Tories edging towards an in-out referendum on Europe?
There's plenty of talk about the Conservatives thinking of using the idea to boost their chances at the next election.
But thanks to Ed Balls' hard-bitten Eurorealism, the Opposition could try to shoot that particular fox.
Speaking alongside his improbable new bestest friend Peter Mandelson today, the Shadow Chancellor said that it might be right to have a wider referendum on UK membership of EU, though not just now. Tantalising stuff.
Which brings me to the other development today: the announcement by the People's Pledge of three of its new referendums (full details HERE).
Tory backbencher Mark Reckless, one of the founding supporters of the campaign, says: "The question is not if but when a referendum will be held, since there is a growing mood in the country for one".
Balls has made great play of the fact that he - as the key adviser to Gordon Brown - in effect kept the UK out of the euro in the heady days of early New Labour. He has also impressed some Tory MPs with his hardball line on more cash for the IMF to help the eurozone.
Ian McKenzie, director of the People's Pledge (and a former Labour special adviser to John Prescott), points out that in their last ballot in Thurrock, 30.4% of people voted by nine to one for a referendum, whereas turnout in local council elections was 5% lower.
The campaign points out that John Kent, Labour group leader in Thurrock, endorsed the People's Pledge just before the local elections - and then promptly swept to power (in a key marginal). Evidence that Labour can win Euroscep votes or just coincidence?
I'm not sure where any of this leaves the Lib Dems, who in theory backed an in-out referendum at the last election. The Pledge has referenda in two key Lib Dem hot-spots: the seats of Ed Davey, Paul Burstow and Tom Brake; and also of Mark Hunter, Andrew Stunnell and John Leech.
One to watch..
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