Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn warned that a Brexit would be seen by Russian President Vladimir Putin as a sign of British weakness at a speech today.
In a speech delivered at the London headquarters of British think-tank Chatham House, Mr Benn also claimed that President Putin would “shed no tears” at a Brexit.
However, he did add that a European drive towards a common energy-union would “weaken Russia’s dominance as an energy supplier in Europe”.
Mr Benn’s comments drew criticism from Eurosceptic groups, such as Vote Leave. The group accused Mr Benn of scare tactics, following the speech.
The speech comes after a poll by ICM, which indicated that support for a Brexit had a lead of 42% to staying in the EU, on 41%.
An actual date for the EU referendum has yet to be officially announced, but comments by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reflected, and in turn, helped feed speculation about 23rd June being the possible date.
— Havard Hughes (@Havard_Hughes) February 3, 2016