Cameron Strengthened By EU Referendum Announcement
By saying during Prime Minister’s Questions today that he didn’t think the UK electorate should be offered a referendum on whether the UK should continue to be a member of the EU, Labour leader Ed Miliband made the political advantage the Conservatives gained over Labour even bigger. Most politically aware people knew prior to his speech this morning, David Cameron was the most likely of the leaders of the three major parties to offer the electorate a referendum on whether the UK should continue being a member of the EU. They also knew that David Cameron has made a bigger effort to fight against “ever closer union” than Ed Miliband or Nick Clegg would have had they won the 2010 general election. Ed Miliband has confirmed that Labour is the least likely of the three major parties to offer the electorate a referendum on the UK’s relationship with the EU.
Though internal conflicts have weakened UKIP, David Cameron knew prior to his speech, that the threat posed to the Conservatives by UKIP was growing. UKIP are still a threat, but fewer voters who usually vote for the Conservatives may abandon the Conservatives for UKIP than if the Conservatives weren’t going to offer the electorate a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. The Conservative Party has been divided on the UK’s membership of the EU during this government’s term in office. Today’s referendum was widely supported by Conservative MPs. Though they may still have disagreement about the EU, the Conservatives are more united because of David Cameron’s announcement.
By announcing his intention for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU to be held in 2017, David Cameron has put pressure on the leaders of other EU countries. Other EU members don’t want the UK to leave the EU. David Cameron has told them that significant changes to the relationship between EU institutions and EU members and other significant changes will have to be made by the time of the referendum. David Cameron wanted the EU to be reformed when the Conservatives were in opposition. Though his use of the veto showed he was prepared to fight harder for the UK than previous prime ministers, he still hasn’t succeeded in getting the EU to significantly reform. The referendum is not just a referendum; it is an ultimatum to the leaders of other EU member states. Make the reforms the UK wants, or the UK will leave the European Union.