UK Parliament To Debate Referendum On Leaving EU

David Cameron

British politicians will debate whether the country should have a referendum on continuing membership of the EU, reports the BBC.

The debate will take place on the 27th of October. Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith described the three parts of the debate as: “status quo, out, radical reform.

The motion was brought forward by Conservative MP David Nuttall after a petition on the referendum got over 100,000 signatures in an online petition.

The motion shows worrying signs of a rift amongst the Conservative party (one half of the governing coalition) over Europe. Some, such as Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne, still want a close fiscal union with Europe. However, others are clearly unhappy with the government’s stance on Europe.

The Telegraph reports that Foreign Secretary William Hague told several MPs in private meeting last week that the public mood on Europe was its most “hostile” since the UK joined in 1973 (it was then known as the common market).

Earlier this month Cameron told the BBC’s Andrew Carr:

“It’s not our view that there should be an in/out referendum. I don’t want Britain to leave the EU. I think it’s the wrong answer for Britain.

“What most people want in this country is not actually to leave the EU, but to reform the EU and make sure that the balance of powers between a country like Britain and Europe is better.”

It is thought that Cameron may be forced to tell Conservative MPs to vote against the referendum, which could in turn lead to a back bench revolt.

The debate will be the first on the subject in a generation.

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