Some members of Britain’s Labour party launch Brexit campaign, stray from party line

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 07:05 GMT, Jan 21, 2016 |

Lawmakers from Britain’s opposition party launched the “Labour Leave” campaign on Wednesday (Jan 20), splitting away from the Labour leadership’s position to campaign to stay in the EU.

The Labour Party members of parliament are pressing for Britain to leave the European Union in a referendum expected later this year.

Campaign co-chair Kate Hoey called the EU “Anti-democratic and anti socialist”, adding that “It’s not accountable”.

“The European Commission is not elected, we can’t get rid of them and I believe that the continuing way which they have tried to ensure that our country has less and less control over what we do is absolutely crucial and that will make the vital difference in this referendum campaign,” Hoey said.

“Some people argue that the European Union is supportive of workers rights. I don’t think that’s true. Social Europe as it is called, is a sham,” said Hoey’s fellow co-chair Kelvin Hopkins to media gathered at the launch.

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn last September declared the party would campaign for the UK to stay in the EU. He issued a joint statement with shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn saying Labour would make the case for continued EU membership whatever the outcome of Prime Minister David Cameron’s renegotiations.

Several different campaign groups have formed to try to persuade the public to vote in favour of a British exit, known as ‘Brexit’, but none of them are yet to emerge as the vanguard of the ‘No’ campaign.

Groups keen to stay in the bloc have also been launched.

Cameron has pledged to hold an in/out referendum before the end of 2017. He is trying to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU, especially in areas involving migrants and welfare, so he can campaign for the country to remain with a reformed EU.