Top Labour figure defects to UKIP over "EU referendum hush-up"

Former chair of Labour’s executive body Harriet Yeo quits and pledges support to UKIP

Harriet Yeo Labour to UKIP

Harriet Yeo. Image: Twitter

The former chair of Labour’s National Executive Committee, Harriet Yeo, yesterday announced she was quitting the party and pledged her support to UKIP due to concerns about EU membership.

Yeo is the most senior Labour figure to date to defect to the anti-EU party, and her move comes despite having been a member of the Labour party for three decades.

Writing in the Telegraph today, Yeo said that despite senior figures in Labour wanting to see a referendum, the party is refusing to make a referendum an election pledge.

She said: “We are currently being led into a rapidly expanding federal Europe, in which we have less and less say. Our sovereignty is being eroded by the day.

“As a member of the Labour party, the final straw for me was learning from a contact in a position to know that the majority of the shadow cabinet wants a referendum. Apparently, they are being told to keep quiet.

“I understand that prospective parliamentary candidates for the Labour party who are sympathetic to the case for an EU referendum are also being warned not to speak out. I cannot support this approach.”

But though she has left the party, she said the move was “not a swipe at Ed Miliband”.

She added: “He is a principled leader for whom I have great respect. His view is that a referendum is not the right step for our country. I just see it differently. I have to follow my conscience.”

Meanwhile, UKIP has counted her defection as another victory.



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Readers' comments (3)

  • Ian Middleton

    "I have to follow my conscience"

    That's a hell of a change of conscience for someone from an ostensibly socialist party!

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  • Surely it is inevitable, that when Britain is dragged into the biggest and most impactful experiment in European history, and the three mainstream parties appear to conspire with each other to keep the people they are supposed to represent ill-informed, and to deny them their democratic right to a voice, principled politicians will emerge, as Mrs Yeo appears to have done, and say enough is enough?

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  • Yes, but as Ian M says, it';s a hell of a change. She could have defected to the Green Party, who are also pledging a referendum on the EU without the far right wing racist views.

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