UK & World News
David Cameron Faces Party Battle Over Europe
David Cameron is facing a challenge to hold his party together as battle lines are drawn over Europe.
With just over a week until the Prime Minister's key speech on Britain's relationship with the EU, Tory Europhiles have launched a fight-back against demands for an in-out referendum.
Cabinet minister Ken Clarke will share a platform with Labour peer Lord Mandelson later this month to stress the benefits of remaining in the union.
The move comes after fellow Conservative Lord Heseltine warned that the economy would suffer if Mr Cameron took a "punt" and committed to a national poll on membership.
Around 20 Tory MPs have also apparently signed a letter, due to be published this week, warning of "massive damage" if the UK leaves the EU.
Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, told Sky's Murnaghan show that he, Mr Cameron and many other MPs were in agreement on the EU's importance to Britain.
The Lib Dem said the idea of isolating Britain from Europe was "just mad". "That would be completely the wrong thing," he said.
"In the end it is our national interest, our national interest in terms of our economy and jobs and society that has to come first in any approach."
Labour leader Ed Miliband on Sunday criticised Mr Cameron's handling of the situation as "incredibly dangerous", and he ruled out promising a referendum before the future shape of the EU was clear.
He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "I think he is essentially sleepwalking us towards the exit door of the EU.
"The last thing we should do is start saying for some date five, six, seven years hence, let's decide now to have an in-out referendum."
Mr Miliband went on: "As Michael Heseltine said very well ... that means you are having a referendum on a negotiation that has not yet begun, with a timescale that is uncertain and an outcome that is unknown. That is an incredible gamble.
"We know why this is happening. (Mr Cameron) is worried about the threat from UKIP and he is worried about what is happening in his own party."
Rumours have been circulating that Downing Street has given tacit approval to efforts to highlight the dangers of an exit.
In an unusual intervention last week, senior US diplomat Philip Gordon openly stated that America wanted Britain to remain in the EU.
Prominent business figures including Sir Richard Branson have also spoken out about the potentially dire consequences of severing ties.
Tory backbencher Robert Buckland, who has organised the pro-membership letter, said he had been informed that Number 10 regarded his efforts as "helpful".
"There is a silent majority out there who do not want Britain to leave the EU," he told the Mail on Sunday.
"The danger for the Tories is that because the right-wing Eurosceptics are making the most noise, we could slide towards the exit door of the EU."
Meanwhile, a ComRes poll has put UKIP above the Conservatives when people were asked about who they would vote for in the European elections - 35% said they would back the Tories, with 23% saying UKIP. The Conservatives came third with 22%, followed by the Lib Dems on 8%.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage told Sky News: "If it is a protest, there's a lot to protest about because we've got three so-called main parties who resolutely do not want to give the British people a say on their future in the EU."
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what do you think?
All too often ministers release so called 'facts' in their speeches which are later proven grossly inaccurate. At the moment when this happens the minister or department sits back does nothing which continues to mislead the public. In some cases it gives the yob culture an excuse to attack vulnerable, sick or disabled people. I want this to end. If you do too then please sign and share my petition. It can be found by googling Force ministers to retract intrue or misleading statements. Thankyou.
Windows Live User
Done Glynne. Keep pressing for all to sign up for the e-petition on the Gov website. Stop muck spreading by the mp's re the EU. I wonder if the USA would be prepared to contribute toward our membership costs as senior US diplomat Philip Gordon openly stated that America wanted Britain to remain in the EU. Obviously must be an advantage to them if we stay in.
Windows Live User, I agree with what you say but Mr Gordon may have done us a big favour. Nothing gets British backs up like the Americans poking their big noses into our affairs.
Utter rubbish. The majority in this country would vote for exit. If they are so sure the silent majority want to stay in the eu why they not allowing them the chance to speak in a referendum? Ukip is going to put you out of office David unless you wise up. And labour will be in signalling the death of Britain. Saving hard to emigrate. This country is on its knees with a gun at its head. You have the chance to remove that gun David. Act wisely!!
People willing to trade freedom for temporary security, deserve neither and will lose both. Benjamin Franklin 1722
Do you believe that if Briton pulled out the the rest of the EUROPE would stop trading with us they need to trade with us just as much as we with them. The plus side we save billions of pounds retain are boarders and sovereignty and have full independence. Their fear is Briton would be the catalyst for others that would like to leave but don't want to be the first GIVE US THE VOTE DAVID
Spot on Paul.
Paul If we pulled out the rest of Europe would have a problem - They need our cash
If all the people of Europe united as one against the EU and nation states. . . They would be an unstoppable force and all governments know this. That's why they keep their populations against each other using the time tested method of patriotism, nationalism, ignorance, fear, religion and other forms of mass population control. The people of Europe aren't the enemy of the British population, our combined governments are the real enemy
The Americans want us as their veto in the EU, hot air from UKIP and the other gobsmiths won't change that. US forces came here in WW2 and never left. The head of the CIA's London office has the last word at British Government security meetings.
Did I miss something in that report or was there really not a single opinion from a eurosceptic MP?
European union is the retirement home for UK MPs Why upset the apple cart
"..there is a silent majority out there who do not want Britain to leave the EU..." If that's truly the case, then what's the problem having a national referendum on whether we should be in or not? Surely that "silent majority" would win?.....
Cameron is a pratt and is trying to face both ways at the same time. If they are so confident about the British people wanting to remain in the EU lets have a straightforward in out vote, abide by the result and put the issue to bed once and for all. If the result is out then we can go back to the common market we were told we were joining in the first place
Cameron is a lying cockroach of a man. 2-1 in favour of an eu exit. and they will not let us go. you want a referendum on Europe then just treat the elections like a referendum on Europe- vote ukip that's the only real chance you'll have of any referendum.
The eu is totally undemocratic,they don't want people to have a say in their future,just look what happened in Ireland and Holland,fight for our rights and freedom ,once lost we may never het them back.
Another PM that will go down in history as a politician that did not listen to the people.All three parties are putting them selves first and not Great Britain.GIVE US A SAY.
To pull out of Europe would be absolute folly. We would be left isolated militarily and economically. However, I feel we should attempt to bargain harder for a certain amount of legal independence. I do not believe a Referendum will be held.
Brian, you seem to think we are part of a federal europe where we are bound by federal law. We are not, we are a sovereign nation. But I can see it is a very, very easy mistake to make.
Ken Clarke and Peter Mandelson sharing a platform, now there's an unholy alliance if ever I saw one. You just know there's something fishy going on when those two agree..... Incidentally, with regard to the Comres poll mentioned in this article. It states that "35% would back the Tories, 23% saying UKIP and the Conservatives third with 22%". I thought the Tories were the Conservatives?????.......
Finally Gordon someone else who noticed the error in that report mentioning the Tories in the survey twice! Thought I'd misunderstood something all this time when nobody else was picking up on it!
Sara, Don't worry, I had to read it two or three times myself...............
Yes I noticed too,obviously the writer couldn't bring himself to type LABOUR.
If we have a referendum and vote no,they will hold more until we say yes. I did vote no at the last referendum too late now were in.We need Government that fights for ALL its people not the rich man`s club it has become now.
Lets face it the average man in the street hasnt a clue about the workings, benifits or disadvantages of being a member of the E.U. i certainly havnt ,but would rather take advice from someone like Richard Branson, and i'm by no means a fan of the guy ,than a ultra right wing politician like Farage.
No spin no party politics, lets have the truth about the costs and benefits of being in the EU. Until then I can't make an informed decision and I doubt many others could either. I don't want to know what the extremists believe or want me to believe. Give me the truth in a understandable plain english document and I will make my own mind up on how to vote thank you.
So one person voted this down, as you can expect some people fear requests for the truth, they only want you to hear their twisted version.
Eu rules on everything put up the price of everything. It's really that simple. The Common Agricultural Policy is one example . The Fisheries policy is another ( which also decrees that perfectly good, dead, fish be thrown overboard). EU "green" targets are forcing up the price of our energy to the point where millions of our people are now in fuel poverty. Unelected, faceless bureaucrats are making decisions on us that they have no mandate for so democracy is all but dead. What more do you need to know.
Facts Brian, backed up with costs, rather than rants I have been reading in the newspapers for the last 30 odd years. From the EU is banning the English banger to we can no longer call chocolate, chocolate. All you have done is proved that your anti EU without any substance to your argument.
It looks like a couple of unelected faceless bureaucrats have read the posts judging by thumbs down. I shouldn't wonder that the figures have been massaged and manipulated so much over the years that ministries dont know if their looking at fact or fiction.
Lies are the root of most of these problems. What comes out of the mouths of MPs is misleading drivel manufactured to suit their own opinion. You may or may not agree with what they have to say - but make no mistake - there is a difference between what they say and what the truth is.
Could not have put it better myself.
Being in Europe is good for Europe but it is a disaster for us, we blindly following their rules, which they do not follow, France and Germany privatise, water, Power, Transport no way and they never will. Cheap labour who add nothing to the wealth creation of the Nation, No one buying anything, well that's a surprise as they make up a third of workers, who send their money out of the country. See any cheap workers buying houses, drinking down the pub, No! Lets leave and trade with the rest of the World which has 86% of the Global market not the 14% of the EU.