Conservatives and Labour tussle over idea of UK-EU renegotiation

Reacting to comments by a Conservative party shadow minister, UK Foreign Affairs Minister Jack Straw is calling on Tory leader Michael Howard to clarify the party’s position if it were to fail to achieve a renegotiation.

UK Foreign Affairs Minister Jack Straw says that the suggestion that the opposition party in Britain is prepared to consider withdrawal from the EU could have profound consequences for Britain’s interests at home and overseas and for long-term investment decisions affecting the country.

His comments were a reaction to remarks made by UK Conservative party shadow Europe minister John Redwood in an interview with the Financial Times. 

Redwood said that if his party were voted in at the next election and secured a ‘No’ vote to the EU Constitution, it would renegotiate a package for the UK. The party is against the Constitution and against joining the euro.

A Conservative party spokesperson confirmed to EURACTIV that this was the party line and that the renegotiation package would include withdrawal from the common fisheries policy, more control for the UK on the social chapter and employment measures. Another feature would be not handing over more powers on immigration or defence to the EU.

The UK general election is widely expected to be held on 5 May with an announcement expected on 5 April.

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