Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
1 July 2012

Cameron considers EU referendum

The prime minister has said he might hold an EU referendum.

By New Statesman

David Cameron has said that he might call for a referendum on Britain’s relations with the EU if it demands more powers.

Cameron is under increasing pressure from Tory backbenchers to hold a referendum as the eurozone crisis proceeds. He said, in an article for the Sunday Telegraph, that he would need “the full-hearted support of the British people” for a decision:

The fact is the British people are not happy with what they have – and frankly neither am I. Put simply, for those of us outside the eurozone, far from being too little Europe there is too much of it. Too much cost, too much bureaucracy, too much meddling in issues that belong to nation states or civil society or, indeed, individuals.
Whole swaths of legislation covering social issues, working time and home affairs should, in my view, be scrapped.

Douglas Alexander told Sky News that the conservatives were confused about Europe. He said:

It’s extraordinary. In the space of 24 hours we have the Telegraph saying that Prime Minister has ruled a referendum out and now he’s ruled one in – it’s a shambles. What we heard from William Hague this morning is that there’s been no change in the Government’s position.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

They are now sending out senior ministers to explain a confused government policy, but what should worry us all is that the motivation for the decision doesn’t seem to be the future interests of Britain but the present difficulties of the Prime Minister.

Content from our partners
“I learn something new on every trip"
How data can help revive our high streets in the age of online shopping
Why digital inclusion is a vital piece of levelling up

William Hague said on the Sunday BBC Marr show that the government position had not essentially changed, but that there was a new debate over EU membership.