Chancellor George Osborne is so confident that Prime Minister David Cameron will be successful in his renegotiation with the EU and prevent a Brexit that he isn’t even bothering to prepare for any other scenario. Talking to the BBC’s Newsnight programme last night, Osborne said that he believed that Cameron’s efforts would address the major concerns British people have about the EU and will result in them voting to remain in the upcoming EU referendum.
When he was asked if the Treasury had a plan in place just in case British voters choose to leave the EU, Osborne rather confidently replied that “the Treasury is 100 per cent now focused on achieving the renegotiation. That is where the resources of the Treasury are deployed.”
Even though Cameron is having a hard time getting other EU leaders to back his proposed changes to Britain’s relationship with the EU, Osborne insisted that his party leader was going to achieve everything he’s asking for, including the extremely tricky to negotiate restriction on benefits for new EU migrants to the UK:
I think Britain is going to be able to achieve a more competitive Europe, I think we’re going to be able to make sure that we’re not part of that ever closer union, I think we’re going to be able to secure our rights as a country that’s not in the euro and I think that we’re going to be able to deal with abuse of freedom of movement and people travelling just to claim our welfare benefits.
According to Osborne, these changes will deal with the “major concerns” that British people have about the EU and the majority of voters will choose to stay in the EU when these reforms are agreed:
Achieve those things and you are dealing with many of the major concerns that the British people have about the status quo in Europe.
I think the majority want to stay in a reformed European Union and that’s why this renegotiation matters because it I think it offers the chance of a new settlement between Britain and Europe, where we’re not part of ever closer union, where the Eurozone can’t impose changes on us, they need our consent.
Osborne’s choice of the word “major” there is really interesting because he’s right. A YouGov poll from November showed that voters are much more lightly to vote to remain in the EU if “major” changes are made to Britains relationship with it. It’s still very much up for debate if the British public will think any changes Cameron secures are “major.”
You can watch the Newsnight interview below.
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