Sunday

1st May 2016

Cameron faces new EU referendum backlash

  • (Photo: bisgovuk)

David Cameron is under new pressure from a eurosceptic backlash inside his Conservative party, amid reports that up to 100 of his MPs will promise to vote for Britain's withdrawal from the EU after the next election.

The move, reported by the Independent on Sunday (August 31), follows the defection of backbench MP Douglas Carswell to the eurosceptic Ukip party last week. Carswell called a snap by-election in the process, stating that Cameron's promise to reform rather than leave the EU was one the principle reasons for his defection.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Up to 100 Conservative MPs have threatened to promise the UK's exit from the EU, despite David Cameron's pledge to rewrite the UK's membership terms. (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Opinion polls released over the weekend suggested that Carswell will hold his Clacton seat in Essex, a region where Ukip topped the poll in May's European elections, as Ukip's candidate by a margin of more than 40 points over the Conservative candidate.

Ukip has prioritised 12 seats, most of them currently held by Conservatives, as it tries to make its first breakthrough into the Westminster parliament, even as Conservatives fear that a surge in support for the anti-EU party would lead to Labour, which does not support an EU referendum, winning next May's election.

For his part, Cameron has promised to renegotiate the UK's EU membership terms followed by an in/out referendum in 2017 if the Conservatives win next year's election. He, and the majority of his ministers, have maintained that they would vote to remain in a reformed EU.

Meanwhile, a survey of more than 3,200 businesses across the UK found that six in 10 felt that a British exit would damage the country's economic prospects, although they supported renegotiation of the UK's membership terms.

Fifty nine percent of responding firms stated that leaving the EU would cause economic harm. Sixty percent believe that remaining in the EU while transferring specific powers back to Westminster would have a positive impact.

At the same time, 46 percent said that further integration with the EU would damage economic prospects.

“These results show that firms believe a renegotiated relationship with the EU, rather than further integration or outright withdrawal, is most likely to deliver economic benefit for the UK," said John Longworth, the British Chambers of Commerce's director general.

Companies were "frustrated by the slow progress of the single market in services," he noted.

For his part, Donald Tusk, the newly appointed European Council chief, said at the weekend that he would "certainly meet the concerns voiced by Britain", adding that many of Cameron's plans to reform the bloc were "acceptable to reasonable politicians in Europe."

"No reasonable person can imagine an EU without Britain," he said.

European experts to probe Polish police law

The Council of Europe is sending a team to Poland to investigate fears that a new law will give police too much power, as the supreme court weighs into a row over legal reform.

News in Brief

  1. Netherlands funds €1.3mn Russian media project
  2. Fake euros network dismantled in Bulgaria
  3. Inflation negative in eurozone in April
  4. EU economy registers 0.5% growth in first quarter
  5. Eurovision says No to Kosovo, Palestine, IS flags
  6. EU to decide on future of tobacco agreement 'soon'
  7. Russia blames Sweden for frosty relations
  8. UN chief warns of 'growing xenophobia' in Europe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Roundtable of IndustrialistsDigitising European Industry
  2. Counter BalanceParliament Gets Tough on Control EU Bank's Funds
  3. ICRCSyria: Aleppo on the Brink of Humanitarian Disaster
  4. CESIWorld Day For Health and Safety at Work: Public Sector Workers in The Focus
  5. EFABasque Peace Process-Arnaldo Otegi Visits the European Parliament
  6. EscardioChina Pays Price of Western Lifestyle With Soaring Childhood Obesity
  7. Centre Maurits CoppetiersThe Existence of a State is a Question of Fact, Not a Question of Law
  8. Martens CentreJoin Us at The Event: Prospects For EU Enlargement After 2019
  9. ICRCSyria: Aid for Over 120,000 People Arrives in Besieged Town Near Homs
  10. Counter BalanceHighway to Hell: European Money Fuelling Controversial Infrastructure Projects
  11. EPSUResponds To Reported €300 Million McDonald’s Tax Bill in France
  12. Access NowAcademics and Privacy Groups Ask Obama to Reject Anti-encryption Law

Latest News

  1. EU roaming charge cut enters UK referendum campaign
  2. EU fiscal rules, migrants and Belgium's trick
  3. EU should call out Bangladesh on workers' rights
  4. Kosovo: Living in a ghetto on the EU fringe
  5. War crimes law poisons Serbia accession talks
  6. Italy and Austria try to calm tensions on Alpine pass
  7. French MPs call to lift Russia sanctions
  8. EU sides with embattled Greek PM in bailout talks