Coffee House

Frank Field: this deal is awful. Labour supporters should vote ‘out’

19 February 2016

10:17 PM

19 February 2016

10:17 PM

What a choice our poor old country faces. There’s widespread support amongst voters across Europe (but not leading politicians) for a fundamental EU reform programme, but our Government never seriously considered leading on this front. Yet the Government so lacked ability that it couldn’t even achieve the minimal reform programme it cobbled together. Holding the referendum in June was clearly more important than winning major reforms.

The Government has failed to secure the key renegotiation requirement, namely, that we should regain control of our borders. I shall therefore be campaigning to leave the EU. There are three crucial aspects of this campaign which will underpin victory. First, we must support those Labour voters who are critical to a victory to turn out and vote, despite the pro-EU line the Labour establishment will push.

Second, as the referendum will decide the future of our country, we need to debate in a civilised way and also join others from different parties who hold similar critical views about these unsuccessful renegotiations. Third, a successful vote to leave is now the only option open to ensure the fundamental reform of the EU on which the Government should have embarked. An express wish of the British voters to leave will have a huge impact on voters and even governments in other EU countries. It’s not inconceivable that, as we press for an orderly withdrawal, other EU countries will join with us in negotiating their exit. We must be prepared for this wider scenario and respond in the best interests of Britain and Europe.


Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 01.33.23

Fraser Nelson, James Forsyth and Isabel Hardman will be discussing the forthcoming EU Referendum campaign with pollster Ben Page from Ipsos Mori on 21 March.  Tickets, for subscribers only, are on sale now. To subscribe from £1 a week, click here.

Show comments
  • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

    Never mind regaining control of our borders..even though it’s obviously imperative..what concerns me more is we should regain control of our own windows of opportunity.

    The kinds of big block agreements and technical EURO instituted solutions that are so fondly loved by the globalised elite will prevent ordinary people from even becoming aware of vital opportunities available to each and everyone of us, anyplace, anytime anywhere, I’m sure. Big block agreements and EU style technical solutions cannot and will not turn out to be responsible and accountable to normal everyday democratic things..things like us ordinary people and those windows of opportunity/futures that actually belong to us, at work, play or otherwise.

  • Suzy61

    Nice to see so many plaudits for Frank Field.

    He deserves every one.

    A diamond in the coal.

  • Allyup

    it’s odds on we will stay in (2/5 at the moment). The EU is a 1950s political idea marvellously out of date with the 21st century global economy. Each year it becomes more out of date and eventually must fail. It’s sheer economic incompetence knows no bounds. Hence EU share of global profit is falling off a cliff At the same time it maintains the dream of a massive social spend of 50% that of the whole world attracting immigration from everywhere.
    It’s likely we will have decided to go down with the ship.

  • John Andrews

    I’m old enough to remember the Labour Party but can’t remember what it stood for. Can anyone help?

  • Dominic Stockford

    Thank you to Frank.
    Why is it that our politicians (or most of them) don’t actually want to govern our country, but prefer to have others doing it, and press hard, with scare stories and personal attacks, to try to get their way?

  • WTF

    As always, I have a lot of respect for Frank Field who has been left in the wilderness by Blair, Brown, Milliband and Corbyn due to his sound policies that upset their apple carts. Its a great shame as Mr. Field could have overhauled the pension system under Blair to a much fairer system if he’d been appointed but it was a missed opportunity. Labour would even be re-electable with a tranche of like minded people at the top of the party but alas, that wont happen either.

  • david freedom

    One of the best articles I have seen on Europe so far. If we exit Europe we are not out of Europe – its just the start of our campaign to change Europe for the better and restore the path to democracy. I work in Sales and travel from the UK to Europe 4 times a month. It does not matter where in Europe you visit -Belgium, Italy, France, Spain or even Germany – the people of Europe like the better together/cooperation idea – but hate and despise the EU. How can that be? Frank Field is correct.

    I am in Milan. Today there were 4,000 people protesting against the Eu in the centre of Milan close to the Duomo. Its not reported in the media. All the waiters at the cafe near my hotel are asking about the UK referendum – they hate the EU with such passion. it really shocked me because this feeling is not reported in the uK media. its clear that the Eu is not listening to the people it represents.

    I am voting out. This is just the start.

    I am not deserting Europe because I see Europeans as our friends,allies and family now. We must bring an end to the incompetent bureaucrats in Brussels and unite Europe behind democracy but at the same time allowing the countries with Europe to Breath.

    It will start with Brexit.

    I love Europe – I hate the EU

  • Lina R

    If the Labour party had more MPs like Frank Field they might actually resonate with people outside the London bubble.

  • Bonkim

    Intelligent analysis – he would be a credit to any political Party.

  • CO Jones

    The mistake was to let Cameron handle any part of the negotiations. If Derek Trotter had been delegated to the job, he’d have got a better deal, and probably with a few dodgy watches thrown in as well …

  • MathMan

    There goes Frank, telling the truth again.

  • Terry Field

    The EU does not need to be deconstructed. IT requires political budgetary and currency management integration, to share the experience of adjustments much more equitably.
    That will happen.
    Mr Field, a man I greatly admire and respect, is correct only in terms ion the freedom of action for Britain.
    But that is only a part of the argument, and I do NOT consider his conclusion is correct.
    I am proud to be related to him.

    • Callan

      ” Political budgetary and currency management” Or put another way, an end to the endemic corruption which of itself ought to dictate this country and its government does not touch the EU with a bargepole. Or have our leaders sunk so low that they can conveniently ignore they way billions of Euros disappear without trace? Well I suppose it is not dissimilar to overseas aid and it is only taxpayers money being chucked into a corrupt cesspool.

    • Allyup

      No amount of “adjustments” will make the PIIGS competitive with Germany. Germans have totally different values and believe in investing in the future in industry and in technical training and special banks to meet the needs of businesses. Even the UK doesn’t do have that as its interests are in the services sector. It gave up on industry decades ago

      The PIIGS are very different in attitudes.

      • Terry Field

        I do not understand the meaning of your note. As for ‘Even the UK doesn’t do have that as its interests are in the services sector’.
        Even the UK.
        The UK is not in the same ball park as Germany. Apart from London and a few connected cities like Guildford, Oxford, St.Albans, it is – very obviously – a poor and depressed country. A sorry state that degenerate local socialism has created since 1945.

        • Allyup

          Well, London is the centre of the services sector as many services are financially based.
          Hence all investment (or nearly all) is in London and the south east. There’s never been much interest in the rest of the country for many decades and that won’t change.

  • Muttley

    For most lefties, a socialist EU superstate is a wet dream of the sort they haven’t enjoyed since the Soviet Union went down the pan. Frank Field is one of very few.

    • Discuscutter

      It is also the dream of the free market loving right.

      • Dr. Heath

        The paradox you rightly point to is rarely remarked upon in any BTL forum. British neo-liberals love the EU because, they say, Britain’s industries and businesses have to be managed properly and this only happens when our industries and businesses are run by people from outside the UK who have real entrepreneurial and managerial skills. Politicians like Michael Heseltine and Ken Clarke believe this and are happy to appear in interviews to explain just how backward and desperate for foreign-sourced skills our economy would be if we had to rely on ourselves to make things and provide services and sell them.

        The left, as is often pointed out, behaves as though it imagines the EU was established to impose a sort of post-war social democrat/redistributionist regime on as much of Europe as possible for as long as possible. Lately, of course, the EU has added to its remit the task of fighting horrible, nationalist racism across Europe [by doing the very things that are bound to make any problems of horrible, nationalist racism across Europe even worse].

        Field has form. Good form. In 1999, he was asked by Princess Tony to chair the Pensions Reform Group. When Frank started saying things that were uncomfortable for HRH, she [okay, he] sacked Field.

        • Oedipus Rex

          Very good comment.

        • Quest for Liberty

          Outstanding commentary

  • Monima O’Connor

    Frank Field has always been a bit of a hero to me.

  • Topsy Kretts

    I am voting out, I know even if the referendum does not go that way, the EU will implode anyway and fall. Anyone know of any countries outside the EU that are good for a refugee Brit to emigrate to? I am fed up with all the cultural marxism, the expensive houses and the ridiculous wage suppression. Not to mention most people in my home town are speaking Polish, another Polish shop opened a few weeks ago!

  • Paul Sheldon-Matthews

    Yes Frank Fields one of the few Labour MP’s to put country before Politics. He is a good man and I hope he joins Go Grassroots OUT campaign immediately .

  • AtilaTheHen

    Only Cameron could have achieved this. He went to Europe asking for f*ck all, came back with less, and hailed it as a victory.

  • dickhut

    Good sense, as usual, from somebody who should be in government, regardless of the governing Party.

  • Snotsicle

    I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times that I have agreed with Frank Field, but on this occasion he is absolutely correct and the principled stand that he outlines above is a credit to him.

  • Flying Hippo

    There are certain politicians, who even though their ‘ideology’ is totally different to your own, appear to have conviction and a quality about them that you can respect – Charles Kennedy, Tony Benn etc etc. Frank Field is on that list.

    A month or so ago I would have said this EU referendum was a stitch up. Cameron’s piss poor contrived negotiations (my 90 year old gran could have ‘negotiated’ those terms) which were always going to be a ‘we pulled it off at the 11th hour – are we not super’ affair. I am sure DC thought a Yes vote would be a shoo in. But now I’m not so sure! The papers have been hostile and even the BBC has struggled to stage manage the Yes camp, recent Question Time audiences have shown a large euro sceptic element.

    I’m quite positive we might get the right result in June.

  • Jen The Blue

    Frank Field is one of the few…….I was going to say “Labour MPs” that I admire……but I realise I can omit the “Labour”…..he is one of the few MPs I admire and respect. I don’t always agree with him, but I have never questioned his bona fides.

    He is spot on….we need to get OUT…..we need to re-establish Parliamentary Democracy. Left or right, if you believe in DEMOCRACY, we need to get out of the EU.

    So let left and right unite over that ONE thing that should unite us all…….DEMOCRACY.

  • Andrew

    This Labour voter will be doing

    • Jen The Blue

      Leaving the EU is way more important than Party Politics.

    • chesters

      I am a Tory-inclined voter (but not tribal) and I’m not happy at all:
      HM Opposition should not be reduced to this shower of terrorist-supporting idiots – it’s not good for government or the country.

      And Frank Field – although one of the ‘morons’ who proposed Corbyn – is a man of integrity who knows more about welfare than most. I’d certainly vote for him if he was my MP

    • Lord Muck of Cowshit Farm

      Not necessarily, Andrew, as this Tory voter is feeling the same way about the Tories as you do about Labour!

    • Neil Wilson

      “I cannot possibly vote for a Party which thinks we should have nuclear subs with no rockets”

      Nuclear powered subs can carry conventional tomahawk missiles. The ones in service already do – Astute, Ambush and Artful.

  • Daedalus

    Frank Field is a giant among leftist pygmies. All I can say is thank goodness he didn’t put himself forward for the labour leadership. Although I suspect that a labour party he was leading could well have formed the next government.

    • Jen The Blue

      He deserves more respect from all sides of the debate.

  • sfin


    A respected lefty onside !

    I’m beginning to think this may come off!

  • misomiso

    4) And Vote Leave must win the designation.

    Please tell Kate Huey this.

    • ButcombeMan

      No chance

      • Quest for Liberty


        • ButcombeMan

          With BoGo joining, someone might knock some sense into them . They have showed masterly internal stupidity so far, the debate is not about personalities.

  • WFC

    Excellent article. Take a “recommended”.

  • Planet Vague

    Fairness. Every single political leader confirms the deal *is* fair.
    Who will step forward, do the usual thing and call them all liras?

    • eat your greens

      Frank Field. The leftards love him.

      • WFC

        Actually, they hate him.

        He is old enough not to have had to undergo a common-sense-ectomy to qualify him for Labour Party membership.

    • WFC

      Clearly they don’t.

      Which false premise rather invalidates your conclusion!

    • Jen The Blue

      Or even Pesetas?

  • RaveDave001

    For goodness sake Labour change your policy on this before its too late. There are millions of Labour voters who will see this as the final act of betrayal of the working classes. How can Labour be the party of the NHS when staying in the EU is only going to end with TTIP being agreed and with it the privatisation of the NHS.

    • Tom Cullem

      Second that, mate.

    • WFC

      Some Labourites have seen the light. Kate Hoey, Frank Field and (former Labour) Galloway.

      But why does it matter what the national party say? Is that going to change your vote?

      • Brimstone52

        It will help influence the undecideds. Everyone else has made their minds up, except for the Remainiacs of course.

        • Terry Field

          NO, his influence is marginal.

          • Neil Wilson

            Amongst ethnic minorities he has very great appeal.

            • Trish Wilson

              Yes the ones who won’t be able to vote and don’t like it.

        • Gebhard Von Blucher


      • Terry Field

        Are you SERIOUS?!?!?!?!?

      • Brian Jones

        It matters a great deal what the national party says because a lot of people wiull follow their leadership. Some will even listen to Corbyn.

    • wilwa

      The trouble with your argument is that it is the EU that are proposing to put limits on the scope of TTIP. The Tories are in favour of implementing the full scope of TTIP. So if anything it is only the EU which will protect us from the Tories desire to unleash unrestricted TTIP on us, as the American health companies wait in the wings.TTIP is evil. But don’t make the mistake of thinking the Tories are anything but fully in favour of it.

      • WFC

        Then don’t vote Tory!

        Except that it doesn’t matter who you vote for. The TTIP which gets agreed will be agreed by unelected bureaucrats and presented to a European Parliament who will be lucky if they are allowed to read it – let alone understand it – whose only power is to (temporarily) reject it (not amend it).

        So who cares who you vote for? You’re vote is irrelevant.

        Unless and until we leave the EU.

        • Cobbett

          It has to be agreed by all EU governments as well.

          • WFC

            Even if that were true (which I’m not sure about – why not QMV?) what of it?

            • Cobbett

              Because it does…although why anyone thinks it’ll a great thing is a mystery….a corporate power grab is what it is.

      • ColTPride

        “it is only the EU which will protect us from the Tories desire to unleash unrestricted TTIP on us”

        No no no – are you saying that the Tories will win every general election for evermore? The people of this country can stop it by voting for the political party which offers them this option – provided we leave the EU so that the EU does not force TTIP on us irrespective of who we vote for.

        Have some faith in your political views and your country.

        • Jen The Blue

          FFS! That is the point, you half-wit! If we leave the EU, then your beloved socialist government can do what it wants…it is not told what to do by the EU.

          Of course if what you mean is “we cannot get a leftist majority in the UK” so we would rather be run from a leftist EU Superstate in Brussels, then admit it… love the EU BECAUSE it is not demomcratic.

          • ColTPride

            I think your comment should be addressed to Wilwa, whom I quote and try to correct.

      • McRobbie

        And what makes you think labour will have a different policy ? If its EU policy then the nodding donkeys in labour will nod just as hard as any tory. The EU is no protection for the more intrusive implications of the trade agreement, and what teh EU wants the Eu WILL GET, especially if we give them a green card by voting to stay in.

      • ButcombeMan

        If we leave the EU, TTIP will not apply to us.

      • saffrin

        I’ve come to learn over the last 30yrs there is little difference between Labour/Tory other than the spin.
        The reality is, the NHS will be privatised, lock, stock and barrel if we stay in the EU.
        Brussels law state competition is paramount. Everything about the NHS will be auctioned off to private companies, investors.

        • MacGuffin

          What would the actual problem be with a NHS that was wholly privatised, so long as it still provided universal free-at-the-point-of-use health care of an acceptable standard? I don’t give a flying fruck if nurses are employed by private companies or by the state, so long as they do their jobs.

      • Neil Wilson

        The problem with appealing to higher law to “control the Tories” is that when the higher law is taken over by the right (which it has been in the EU), then they will use that higher law to control you.

        Which means that any attempt to improve the lives of ordinary people is crushed with extreme prejudice.

        See Greece for details.

      • Terry Field

        TTIP is excellent, and should be fully implemented.

        • wilwa

          No it isn’t. It seeks to give giant corporations the power to, in European courts, overturn Government choices on providers of services and goods. We would be powerless to stop the eventual hiving off of NHS core services to private US hawks. But hey, that’s probably why the Tories are in favour of it.

          • Terry Field

            More schoolboy nonsense. It is about removing irrational technical restraints to trade, and dismantling protectionism. All that is good. As for ‘giant corporations’, good for us in benefitting from them; yes they are great at international trade, as are small, medium and large businesses.And the sooner the grotesque absurdity that is the NHS is replaced by competent effectively managed health delivery system the better;that the British seem incapable uf understanding the issues and dealing with them is yet another indication of a declining and marginal civilisation. Government choice on the selection of provision is simple political corruption. It needs to be destroyed; quick time.

            • wilwa

              The NHS is the most efficient health service in the world. The rest of your ill informed drivel is not worth commenting on.

              • Terry Field

                No it is not; it is shittily inadequate, but it is cheap as chips. Despite your parroting a PC report.

                • wilwa

                  You contradict yourself. It is considered to be the most efficient health service in the world. However, it is, compared to most other countries, underfunded.If we spent the same per capita as the US, then not only would it be the most efficient, but also the best.Your shittily ill informed drivel shows no sign of remission, perhaps you should see a doctor.

  • Otto von Bismarck

    I have always had a tremendous level of respect for Frank Field, a man who has always put his principles before career and his country before party. If every MP followed his example then politics in this country would not be in the state it’s currently in, and we’d all be better off for it. If he is backing the ‘Leave’ campaign then that’s enough to fully convince me I’m on the right side of this argument.

    • Benedict

      Thoroughly agree. I have been a Tory all my life but I have more respect for FF than for any Tory MP.

    • eat your greens

      Leftards in defence of the indefensible.
      Comical really.

      • Desperate Dan’s Porridge

        well certainly more comical than your meaningless comment lad.

        • Brian Jones

          Leftards is a new word he’s learned so he has to use it.

      • Stu

        Not as comical as you and your sock puppet idiots laddy.

    • Arthur Sparknottle

      Field is a man who knows what an MP is for – he will always question the party line if he thinks it is wrong because he knows he is there to represent the people who voted for him.

      In more than thirty years, my own MP only once made a bit of a petulant protest threatening to vote against his party line, but after words of advice (most likely that he would not be preferred for promotion) he was ‘reassured’ and voted with the party.

      This system is a disaster for our country and it makes our claims of democratic accountability ridiculous. They don’t work for us; they tow the line to make career progress.

  • Chris Hobson

    He has achieved nothing it is a phony deal held to ransom by unelected Tusk.

  • Thomas Katz

    Labour should have taken the lead in Brexit, for it’s the workers that have lost the most in our membership of the EU, The Rich and the Political Elite don’t care if immigrants take Social Housing, welfare resources, education, healthcare, They’ll keep on getting richer on the cheap labour and the EU trough

    • Tom Cullem

      Have said from the beginning that backing Brexit is a tremendous opportunity for Labour, regardless of how I feel toward them personally.

      If they can see beyond their hopeless devotion to “internationalism” and back protection of our own working classes, pumping all those billions into an education system that produces competent workers, instead of into EU membership so company managers can bring in cheaper immigrant and migrant workforce – and TTIP will utterly finish off grass roots and local control over health, labour, and environmental regulations . . .

      And an OUT vote would finish off Cameron. They are fools if they pass this chance up.

      • McRobbie

        The current labour hierarchy have only one ambition..promote any policy that is anti british.. and the most anti the better. So of course corbyn and gang are all for staying in. Hypocrites and opportunists.

    • Andrew

      Now isn’t that the truth!!

    • Neil Wilson

      I find it astonishing. However it seems that Labour are in two camps. Those who want to ape the Tories and those who want to ape the Greens.

      There doesn’t appear to be anybody left in Labour who wants to look after those who work for a living here in the UK.

      • David

        You’ve only just noticed that?