Saturday

17th Apr 2021

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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.

Ukip surge in local elections ahead of EU poll

Nigel Farage's Ukip made its strongest performance in local elections in its twenty year history, raising expectations that the anti-EU party is poised to win Sunday's European elections.

Analysis

Self-defeating Tories fighting over Europe again

Most British politicos spent their summer on the beach or fretting about the Scottish referendum. But the UK Conservative party spent theirs having yet another bout of internal warfare over its attitude towards the UK’s EU membership.

Poll shows UK support for EU at 20-year high

The rise of the UK Independence party has coincided with increased support for Britain remaining part of the EU, according to a survey published on Wednesday.

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us