Cameron under pressure over EU referendum

2012-07-02 16:05


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - Prime Minister David Cameron came under further pressure over Europe on Monday when a senior lawmaker from his party said Britain should exit the EU if it failed to renegotiate its relationship.

Liam Fox, the former defence minister, said Britain should be freed from "the dogma of ever closer union" with Europe, and called for a referendum on Britain's ties to the European Union.

In a speech, Fox said he wanted Britain to "negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on economic rather than political considerations".

If Europe blocked the move Britain "would have no alternative but to recommend rejection and consider departure from the EU" he said.

Like his Conservative party leader, Fox stressed however that now was not the time to hold the vote.

Cameron on Sunday opened the door to the possibility of a referendum but said it should not happen yet and left open what the question posed should be.

Knock-on impact

The prime minister faces mounting pressure from many members of his Conservative party for a referendum on a complete withdrawal from the EU, but knows that any such move would face strong opposition from his junior coalition partners, the more pro-Europe Liberal Democrats.

"There are those, including a growing number of my parliamentary colleagues, who call for a simple 'in or out' referendum to be held in Britain soon," Fox told a meeting organised by the TaxPayers' Alliance campaign group.

"I too believe that a referendum will be vital but I believe that having one now would be an error with great tactical risks."

Fox argued that measures taken at last week's European Union summit in Brussels would not solve the problems in the eurozone - and their knock-on impact on Britain.

He added that the EU's failure to deal with the crisis was posing "a real threat" to the global economy.

About 100 lawmakers from the centre-right Conservative party wrote to Cameron last week calling for a legal commitment to holding a referendum in the next parliament.

Audit planned

"For me the two words 'Europe' and 'referendum' can go together," Cameron wrote in the Sunday Telegraph, in a move seen by some as an effort to appease the rebels.

But he stressed that voters needed to be presented with "a real choice" before a vote could take place.

The government is already planning an audit of the impact of European laws in Britain which is likely to drive the campaign for repatriation of certain powers from Brussels.

"Whole swathes of legislation covering social issues, working time and home affairs should, in my view, be scrapped," Cameron said.

The main opposition Labour party has said it would consider a referendum on Europe but not until a clearer picture emerges on the future of Europe and the eurozone.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    david cameron
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Lancaster comes out guns blazing
Namibia's Bothma banned
LIVE: New Zealand v Tonga
Boks more focused after Japan shock
Traffic Alerts

It is always easier to notice the faults in others rather than face our own. Focusing too much on the perfect and ideal more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.