EU referendum: Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says Labour key after debate brings out worst of Westminster
The referendum campaign has "brought out the worst in Westminster politics", shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said..
Speaking at the TUC in London, McDonnell argued against the use of the tactics employed by both sides on the campaign so far, adding that Labour can save the debate.
Instead of focussing on project fear, he said that Remain campaigners should focus on a positive case for staying in the EU.
Project fear is what the Leave campaign dubs the tactics used by the Remain campaign to scare the public into backing continued membership of the EU by focusing on the risks of leaving.
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McDonnell said: "The referendum resulted from the splits in the Conservative Party and their fear of UKIP, and as a result the debate has degenerated into the worst forms of negativity and brought out the worst in Westminster politics.
"I want us all to try and rescue the debate from this negativity and ‘Project Fear’ coming from all sides of the Tory party.
"It's time to turn this debate around, drive out the politics of despair and offer a vision for Britain and Europe, one where we protect workers' rights, tackle tax avoidance, get to grips with climate change and protect our industries like steel.
"This is a vision of Europe based on hope and solidarity.
"Instead of the Tory politics of fear, we need to offer a Labour politics of hope."
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McDonnell's intervention comes as Labour ramps up its campaign, the party's leader having spoken twice on the issue.
And just yesterday former foes Ed Balls and George Osborne stood alongside one another at Stansted airport to promote the merits of the EU.
Meanwhile, Conservative clashes over the EU have intensified in recent weeks, with Boris Johnson recently saying Prime Minister David Cameron is guilty of "totally demented" scare-mongering for suggesting a Leave vote could trigger a conflict on the continent.
Labour has been keen not to share a platform with the Conservatives, instead sending their own, distinct message.
The party may have also learnt its lesson from the Better Together campaign in Scotland, which saw all unionist parties coming together, but with a drastic punishment for the Labour party at the following General Election.
During the speech McDonnell repeatedly attacked what he termed a "Tory Brexit", which would bring further austerity.