Isabel Hardman

Labour conference: Blank sheets of paper are all the rage on EU policy

Labour conference: Blank sheets of paper are all the rage on EU policy
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It's no secret that the Conservative party is in a bit of a pickle about Europe at the moment, and Douglas Alexander quite wisely chose to exploit the ravine that is ever growing between eurosceptic backbenchers and the Prime Minister in his speech this morning. But where does Labour stand? Well, that's still not entirely clear. This is what the shadow foreign secretary said about the Tories and Europe this morning:

'Just two years into Government and that’s David Cameron in a nutshell: out of touch at home; out of his depth abroad. But what’s the Conservatives’ strategy for the EU? Nothing, it’s a blank page. What's the Conservatives’ strategy for the G20? Nothing, it’s a blank page. What's the Conservatives’ strategy for the WTO? Nothing, it’s a blank page. What's the Conservatives’ strategy for NATO? Nothing, it’s a blank page. The Conservatives don’t seem to understand that we are stronger and safer when we cooperate and collaborate with international partners.'

So the Tories have a blank page on foreign policy. But when it came to where Labour stands on the EU, this is all Alexander could offer from Labour's sheet of paper:

'We all know real change is coming, so as Labour, under Ed's leadership, we'll argue for reform in Europe, not exit from Europe.'

Even David Cameron has offered his backbenchers more detail than that. Clearly blank sheets of paper are all the rage when it comes to policy on the EU.

Written byIsabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of The Spectator. She also presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is author of Why We Get The Wrong Politicians.

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