David Cameron says there will be EU referendum if...

David Cameron on BBC Radio 4's Today

You hear David Cameron saying on Today people feel increasingly left out of the debate, you hear him say he wants the country to give its full-hearted consent. Ha! You say, yes he's going to give us a referendum on Europe at last.

But just be a little careful - the prime minister has ruled out an in/out referendum now on Europe. In other words a choice now about whether we stay or go - he's ruled it out before the next election.

In other words, what we learned from the Today programme interview, which is a dramatic shift - we'd had hints and nudges before - is that he has set out how we might get that referendum on Europe after the next election, but there is a series of ifs:

  • If he wins the next election alone (in other words doesn't have to get this past Nick Clegg)
  • If he can persuade other European countries, particularly Germany that they need and want treaty change
  • If Britain can then get what it wants in negotiations
  • If he thinks he can then win a referendum

If all that happens, well then, yes, there will be a referendum which he thinks will approve a new better settlement for Europe.

But his difficulty in giving that big speech on Europe in about a week's time is what if he's wrong on any one of those ifs?

Because then the pressure will remain on him from within his party and from outside, not least the UK Independence Party, saying they are not willing to wait for those ifs, saying they are not willing to wait all that time, saying that they are not willing, in other words, to trust him.

Saying, in short, "we want our choice now".

But essentially, what has happened today is that the prime minister has shifted to say you WILL get a referendum one day - in certain circumstances.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 457.

    The EU is a train wreck

    Spoke to someone just back from Dublin

    Beggars on the streets
    Rubbish not collected

    If you want business premises you can have it for free for 3 years
    providing you pay the buildings insurance

    Spain is what? 25% unemployment??
    Those are revolution inducing levels of social unemployment

    The EU?
    Na. No thanks

  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    Four large "ifs".

    A PR guru colleague suggested PM media bluster about Europe is designed to distract attention from Fitch's statement on UK AAA rating. Both Downing St occupants have invested much capital therein; froth created elsewhere to drown Fitch comments out.


    If Fitch downgrade, then the PM may need to recite Kipling's poem as his EU speech.

  • rate this

    Comment number 455.

    The UK's policy towards European political & economic integration is usually:"Wait and See". Cameron's interview on the "Today" programme suggests just reiteration.

    Amid bluster, just shrewd PR; plucking pieces of diced red meat to toss to baying backbenchers, party political points & positioning pre-election; edging a sceptic gap with Lib Dems, & attempting to marginalise UKIP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    in other words- we wont get a vote. why oh why are we constantly being ignored on this? Its not what u mp's want- its what the majority of the country wants-we want out of europe, we want our laws back and we want our towns to be inhabited by english speaking people not full of everyone from every boltic state + every corner of the world. we want the money paid to europe spent on our needy first!

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.


    Nobody knows. The one thing I think we can be certain that would have been different is there wouldnt have been the failed tripartite regulatory model in place. Whilst Brown did not cause the crash, his actions both as chancellor and PM exacerbated the problem. Public Sector splurging didnt help, but isnt solely responsible. But I dont think it would have been significantly different, no.


Comments 5 of 457


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