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

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  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    So why is the BBC commentary on this and other events so obviously biased. Surely we have a right to expect even handed reporting and comment in return for the ridiculous licence fee we have no option but to pay. Listening to Nick Robinson, John Humphreys, Gavin Esler etc they should preface their reports that "Here follows a party political broadcast on behalf of the Labour Party".

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    1. That probably means he's on the right track.
    2. Not just the backbenchers but everyone who didn't sign up to a United States of Europe.
    3. Naturally, he's offering what they essentially want.
    4. The Lib Dems have always been close to Labour, nothing new and they'll be finished at next election.
    5. Not likely, they don't have any policies.
    6. Yes, because it's a win win.

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    As it's still January and January's a time for predictions, here are a couple of my own:

    1. There will be a renegotiation within a few years, by whichever government is in power at the time.
    2. It won't deliver.
    3. We will vote to leave the EU.
    4. The French will hurl a few more insults.
    5. We won't give a damn.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    I've learned loads from Brown and Blair, no matter how bad they performed, this shower of a coalition makes them look like political and economic geniuses!

    No... really... they don't... they are equal in idiocy... take care less you promote one fool over the other... which is what we're going to do at the next election.. makes me sick

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    Option 6 for me. The idea of Milliband's socialists getting in and taking more of my money for very little return is quite worrying. Didn't we learn anything from Blair and Brown?


Comments 5 of 342



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