One of David Cameron’s key election promises was to have a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union by the end of 2017.
Now we’re all but certain to see it happen next year or the year after, the question now is what will Cameron ask for as he seeks to renegotiate membership terms ahead of it.
To find out what he’s looking for, and what campaigners want him to request, we spoke to Syed Kamall MEP – the leader of the Conservatives in European Parliament – and Robert Oxley, Campaign Director for Business for Britain.
We ask Syed:
What happens between now and the referendum?
Syed says Cameron will be meeting with EU leaders to renegotiate terms such as the freedom of movement of labour, tackling benefit tourism and more power for national parliaments.
Is it likely Cameron will get what he wants?
Syed isn’t sure what the outcome will be but he thinks the negotiation will be seen positively by some EU leaders, who are pro-reform.
How divisive is the referendum going to be among politicians?
Syed hopes it will be a ‘civilised debate’, with a quick healing process among party members who fall on different sides of the divide.
If Cameron gets what he wants, does that negate the need for referendum?
Syed doesn’t think so – an EU referendum was always planned to be held under improved terms.
Campaign groups such as Business for Britain have tabled their demands on EU renegotiation. We spoke to their Campaign Director Robert Oxley.
We ask Robert:
What are you calling for?
Business for Britain has set out a ‘shopping basket’ of ten reforms the PM needs to bring home.
Would it be bad for business to leave?
Robert isn’t so sure. He says much is made of the supposed trade benefits of being a member but there could be scope for a ‘looser’ trade agreement.