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 bĂȘte 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, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    @99. SilentMajority
    In fact the same charge is extended to all our politicians. Worse is that they clearly dive off on their pet idea not only without listening but without looking at the effects and deciding when they are clearly in the wrong.
    We don't have 'democracy' here, never have had. Sad that the EU, Nick, Ed and even on most things David seem to think we have democracy

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Today being good for business almost certainly means bad for the majority.
    We have had enough of politicians cosying up to big business and look where it has got us.
    We must never expect to be helped by corporate interests.
    The 'oh but they might leave' bluff should be called.
    If they won't help the whole nation then good riddance to them.
    They have had preferential treatment for too long

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    The EU as a common market, free trade and the ability to move goods and services freely within the union = YES, good idea keeps job and economic stability.
    The EU concocting legislation to tell us how straight our bananas should be or that insurance rates can't be determined on gender and certainly the Common Agriculture Policy that costs the UK unnecessary billions = NO

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband both suggest to me that I (the voter) should keep quiet and let them decide what is in our best interests. Neither of them know, or care I shouldn't wonder, whether the majority of the country agree with their view of what is in our best interests. David Cameron has now promised that we will be asked, I just hope he keeps his promise this time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    @90.Francis power - some fair points but how can Labour not now promise a referendum? And if there is one which side will they throw their weight behind - "in" (support of Cameron's position and long-term majority Labour view) or "out" (politcal point-scoring). That's what's too close to call for me, based on recent parliamentary voting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    Nothing has really changed in my eyes, 5 years is a long time to wait and the truth is those who want out of the EU will still turn to UKIP rather than the Tories. All Cameron's fluffing has achieved is that we still are part of the EU (one that is unlikely to change) and he is still going to have to agree on the EU budget against EU partners who now see us a the sulky brat in the corner.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Aussie lizard to dodgy Dave ' the shirkers and workers policy is backfiring on us, Osbornes got some appaling figures to bury, I know lets do the Euro referendom, but I want to stay in says Dave and it might harm Britain, sod Britain says the lizard, look at the poll ratings, ok says Dave I will do it - sort of'

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    Six things that the Europe speech changed

    We are not discussing NHS cuts and reforms

    We are not discussing tax cuts for the rich

    We are not discussing tax rises for the poor

    We are not discussing the deficit going up not down

    We are not discussing the drop in exam results in education

    We are not discussing Cuts to police, defence, local government

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    Can anyone actually say what the Tories want? Apart from thinking UK working should not be legally allowed to restrict their working week to 48 hrs....what?

    Not that it really matters...they have virtually no chance of being outright winners in the next election...the huge protest vote that traditionally goes to the Libdems won't anymore...and very little of it will go to the Tories.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    Are referenda more democratic than elected govts?
    A crude unscientific study in my office shows that 90% aren't bothered one way or another by the EU and close to 100% don't know the positive and negative arguments.What's wrong with representative govt where we elect them to implement their programme and deal with issues based on having time to understand them?
    Referenda are political cop outs

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    2017 is a long way ahead, and anything can happen in the intervening years. I am sure that David Cameron will do his best to get what he can for his friends in big business, but I do not trust him to get the best deal for the majority of the British Public. Hopefully his party will not win the next General Election anyway as I definitely do not trust him on the question of a referendum.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    What is the point of being a Political Party? UKIP is growing because it is appealing to those who never voted for and do not want a political union with Europe at any cost, if we are in a minority that will be settled at the referendum. Who gave politicians the mandate to transfer powers to Brussels?

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    @ 76 MrBigBear: Firstly I won't vote for a party in thrall to an extremist minority. Secondly a referendum is typically used by an electorate as a protest vote. Europe is too important. A referendum is too dangerous. For me our EU membership comes before my concerns for five years of Miliband. The next Tory PM will likely be Johnson in 2020. Let's hope he is capable of managing his party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    73 francis power
    You have hit the danger for leftish one nation tories like me on the head- I want to be in a freer european alliance but can I trust the electorate to make the right choice -would it be better to vote labour? No I'd rather eat vomit

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    @80, 85 - fully agree and I think Labour will backtrack in due course. The EU has changed enormously since 1975 - well, it became the EU for one thing - and is going to change a lot in the next 3 years as the current Eurozone crisis works its way through into the EU structure. 2017 would be the perfect time to vote, once we know what we're voting on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    Interesting what you list as your #1, Nick; hope Dave isn't thinking the same as I fear he may succumb to an attack of hubris.

    I just don't think the bloke is competent. If he was he would have made a bigger push yesterday to be in the lead of EU reform. This is badly needed. Merkel has let the EU leadership down. Hollande is not in a position to do anything.

    Dave: where were you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    This is what intelligent people are up against. Your argument goes: "We're out of the EU, unemployment's 50% plus, we're all dirt poor, no-one trades with us but we have our democratic voting rights!! Woopie". We'll you go your way and I'm off to Greece who'll be a damned sight better off than the UK, come that day!

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    Ed Milliband on the back foot now. You vote Labour and you lose you chance to decide on the most significant change in how we are governed for generations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    Cameron has articulated an audit of problems that all eu citizens face-the plan to save the euro by deeper integration needs a referendum in every country-I cannot see how a once democratic bastion like france can agree.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    All DC said was if we can't modify the EU and repatriate some powers (maybe the stupid decision by the EU that its discrimination when insurers charge a young man more for his car insurance that a young woman despite being based on decades of actuarial data) then the public will get to vote whether or not the UK stays in the EU. He hasn't said we're leaving the EU, Most on here need to get a grip!


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