Labour made “terrible mistake” with EU Referendum, says political writer Owen Jones

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Guardian columnist Owen Jones admits the Labour Party made a “terrible mistake” in not offering an EU Referendum at the last General Election.

Mr Jones, speaking out during a visit to Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent, said the party he supports missed an opportunity.

The 31-year-old has also expressed fears that the lead up to the referendum will be a ‘refugee bashing’ event for the right wing media.

With a date now set for the referendum on June 23, the former Independent writer believes a structured debate is needed to show both sides.

He said: “I think, with both sides of the EU argument, I have respect for both sides.

“I think we should hear both sides of an informed discussion.

“Labour made a terrible mistake by not offering an EU referendum in the last General Election.

“Personally, I’m happy we are having the referendum.”

Mr Jones, a strong left-wing supporter, said: “The danger is that it will turn into a massive exercise for migrant and refugee bashing.

“It can be seen as a referendum for ‘kick out the foreigners’ – that’s the danger.

“In terms of how the media will be, they have been very inflammatory before.

“Now they’re not exactly offering a nuance discussion about immigration and refugees by the likes of the Sun, and the Daily Mail, Express etc.

“Often I think it is a deliberate attempt to inflame people’s anger, and attempts to turn people against each other, that is the dangerous phenomenon.

“They make those people the scapegoats for all the ills of society.”

Watch Mr Jones speak to StaffsLive about how the EU referendum, below:

(Additional reporting by Dan Bates)

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