Europe referendum: What has changed?

David Cameron Conservative-supporting newspapers were happy with what Mr Cameron said

Six things that the Europe speech changed:

1. The Tory press is back

David Cameron has never enjoyed headlines this good. Even his bête noire Simon Heffer of the Mail praises him

...but for how long?

2. The Tory backbenches are happy

MPs worried about losing their seats, as party activists and voters defect to UKIP, now have something to woo them back.

Europhobes loved the promise to end "ever closer union"

Pro Europeans were relieved by the pragmatic tone of much of the rhetoric

...but for how long?

Next week gay marriage will test their patience and many loathe the Coalition

3. UKIP's attacks on the Tories will now be blunted

Last night Nigel Farage attacked Ed Miliband. Some in UKIP will wonder whether they should strike deals with Tory MPs, whether formally or informally.

...but for how long?

The EU Budget row looms. If David Cameron comes back from Brussels with only a real terms freeze will that re-light UKIP's fire?

4. The Lib Dems will get closer to Labour

A party led by passionate pro Europeans - Clegg, Alexander and, perhaps soon, Huhne - will find the thought of another Coalition with a Tory party committed to EU renegotiation increasingly unpalatable of a Lab-Lib Coalition will grow

5. Labour will find it easier to woo big business

Although the Tories assembled an impressive list of business backers to write a letter to The Times today other business leaders - particularly of multinationals - may start to warm to the idea of a Labour government

..making it easier for them to get elected

6. The Tories will be more united ...

David Cameron took a leaf from Harold Wilson's play book by promising a renegotiation followed by a referendum to calm a battle raging in his party. It allowed Labour to get through two elections in 1974 without splitting

..making it easier for them to get elected

However, the divisions opened up by the referendum of 1975 led to the creation of the SDP in the early 80s and Labour's wilderness years. It could happen to the Tories after 2017

...but they may end up splitting

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

What a difference a day makes

In just 24 hours, Sir Malcolm Rifkind went from angry defiance to a grim-faced acceptance that he would have to quit his job as an MP and chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 342.

    Interesting and credible scenarios.
    IMHO most likely scenario is 1) Conservatives win next election because of promise to renegotiate and hold a referendum on EU 2) modest changes agreed to the "settlement" 3) PM argues that mission accomplished and the country should vote to stay in EU 4) UK votes to leave EU on small majority 5) PM decides to stay because that was always his intention.

  • rate this

    Comment number 341.


    So you want no say in the regulation that sets out how you work, do you?

    Would you want a say in your own pay negotiations or not? I guess you would and on the same basis we have to be a full part of the EU.

    We need to at the table when regulations are devised or we will only lose out.

    That is also why the people of Europe (all of us) must be allowed to vote for our EU President.

  • rate this

    Comment number 340.

    @339 quietoaktree
    We do still produce oil but IIRC, as before, it tends to be too good for diesel & petrol production & it gets sold abroad. We import a lot of our fuel oil but cannot off top of my head quote nos.

    On gas, I think we became net importer from Russia, Morrocco, Norway, some time ago - during last decade?

  • rate this

    Comment number 339.

    #336 Up2snuff

    --The last figures I remember were UK produces Ca. 90 % oil and 70% gas of its requirements.

    --am I mistaken ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 338.

    What has changed is that Cameron has realised that change is happening. People are fed up with EU socialists bossing them about and telling them what's best.

    The BBC cannot "steer" the people like they used to. Everyone can see all sides and engage. Transparency and Democracy is on the up! Tell Red Ed and Tony next time you see him - no president of europe for you now eh Tony?! HA HA HAAA!!


Comments 5 of 342



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