The UK's influence on the world stage and ability to push for greener energy commitments would be dented if the country breaks away from the EU, according to the Labour Movement for Europe (LME). The group's national chair, Giampi Alhadeff, spoke to IBTimes UK after former Prime Minister Gordon Brown launched the organisation's campaign in Scotland in early January.
LME, which works closely with Alan Johnson's "Labour In" campaign, hopes to broaden the understanding of the EU and its "potential" throughout the wider Labour movement. Alhadeff described the group as the "voluntary wing" of the party's pro-EU campaign and argued there was a strong left-wing case to remain inside the 28-nation-bloc.
"The EU has brought us peace within our continent and if I look at the borders of the EU at the moment I see a lot of instability and a lot of worries," he warned. "A lot of countries are unstable and are threatening to our continent. We have gone through a period of peace in Europe, but this isn't guaranteed forever."
Alhadeff also claimed that Britain's voice is "much stronger" inside the EU and on big issues such as climate change, China would not "listen carefully" to a UK government post-Brexit. "If you're part of a single-market of 550 million people, they will listen a lot more," he added.
As for the question of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed trade deal between the EU and US, Alhadeff is "pretty certain" the European Parliament will not let through some of the controversial provisions which trade unions in the UK have warned about.
Unison, however, has warned that the agreement could undermine workers' rights. "There is a concern that European companies may take advantage of the ease of market access created by TTIP to relocate to the USA, and take advantage of the weak labour regulations described above," a 2014 briefing from the union said.
"Similarly, there is also a danger that American companies may be encouraged by the TTIP to relocate to EU states such as Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia where incomes are low and trade unions are weaker than in other parts of the EU."
Meanwhile, LME has claimed 213 Labour MPs, including all members of the shadow cabinet, and around 50 peers for the party will be campaigning for a "remain vote" at the forthcoming EU referendum. A Labour spokeswoman confirmed the figures relating to MPs and the shadow cabinet, but told IBTimes UK that no data was available for the peers.
Labour Leave, a pro-Brexit group co-founded by donor John Mills, wants Jeremy Corbyn to give his MPs and shadow cabinet a free vote on the issue. Brendan Chilton, the campaign's general secretary, told IBTimes UK: "We have spoken to a number of Labour MPs, including shadow ministers and members of the shadow cabinet, who, if they were given the right to campaign as they wish, would not be campaigning to stay within the EU.
"The parliamentary Labour Party is just 230 individuals in a much bigger movement – everyone in this country has a vote. I do not think the number's game is important. If they were given a free vote, that list would come rapidly down." A spokesman for Corbyn had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
The latest telephone opinion poll from Ipsos MORI, of more than 1,000 people between 23 and 25 January, put "remain" 19 points ahead of "leave" (55% against 36%, respectively).