Labour leader Ed Miliband sets out stall on EU referendum

London Business School hosts key policy speech

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UK relations with the European Union are again in the spotlight today as Labour leader Ed Miliband delivered a key speech at London Business School.

Miliband pledged a referendum on UK membership only if the transfer of more national powers to the EU is mooted. He contrasted this with the Conservative promise to hold an in/out referendum by 2017. He claimed this is ‘arbitrary’ and motivated by internal party politics.

Miliband argued that the Conservatives’ referendum would distract government from dealing with the domestic economy and living standards for ordinary people.

Following a rocky period for Labour's relations with business, Miliband set out demonstrate his party understands their concerns. He said that Europe must 'do more to address common economic challenges by improving competitiveness' and called for completion of the single market in energy, services and the digital economy.

Lynda Gratton, London Business School Professor of Management Practice and author of The Shift, a book exploring cross-border co-operation, welcomed the commitment to collaboration. She said: "There is so much to be gained from countries working together. The two great challenges we face now – youth unemployment and climate change - are legacy challenges, affecting us all for years to come. They are potentially devastating for business and society more widely. These challenges can only be solved by collaboration – governments and corporations working in alliance and across borders."

Akshara Kothari, MBA2014 and President of the Business & Government Club at London Business School attended the event. She said, "Government has a huge role in shaping the economic environment for business. Today's business students are an enormously diverse and eclectic group exploring career opportunities in a range of both public and private sectors, with our Business & Government Club seeing a notable revival of interest and activity in the last two years."

Sir Andrew Likierman, Dean of London Business School, said: "It’s fitting that as a global centre of excellence in business education, we provide a platform today for debate between policy-makers, business and academics on such a central issue."