British Labour party leader Ed Miliband should reject EU referendum, former European parliament chief has warned.

Former secretary general of the European parliament Sir Julian Priestley warned against the EU breakup, saying that it could have " disastrous consequences " for inward investment in Britain. The long - serving Labour member said Miliband should give an “irrevocable” commitment that his party will not follow Conservatives’ plan to hold a vote on the UK’s membership in the 28 - nation bloc. “The British people seem not to have fallen for[British Prime Minister David] Cameron ' s cynical maneuver to shore up his position. If opportunism by a truly Eurosceptic party is not rewarded by electors, imagine the punishment that would be meted out to a genuinely pro - European party which lost its nerve on the EU, ” Priestley said. A recent survey conducted by YouGov and the Confederation of British Industry(CBI) showed earlier that 86 percent of UK business leaders want the country to remain as a member of the EU. The companies said the EU exit would negatively affect access to trading markets. Cameron has vowed to stage a referendum on Britain’s continued membership in the EU in 2017 if his party remains in power after the 2015 general election. The Conservative PM has made the referendum pledge under pressure from his party’s anti - EU backbenchers as well as from his coalition partners in the Liberal Democrat party.