David Cameron has announced that on 23rd June of this year, the people of Britain will get to vote on whether to stay in the EU or to leave. The announcement comes after the Prime Minister concluded marathon talks with other EU leaders to secure a new deal for Britain within European. Although Cameron supports Britain’s continued membership of the EU, his own party is split on the matter.
Home Secretary, Theresa May, is one Conservative MP to come out in support of the European Union, saying she will campaign to stay. Meanwhile, Michael Gove is one of five Cabinet ministers who will argue that Britain should leave the Union. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has also announced he will support the Leave campaign, a move his father has claimed could be career ending.
UKIP have, of course, backed leaving, however, two groups have emerged vying to represent those who want to get out. Grassroots Out are one group who look to front the campaign to leave and are backed by Nigel Farage, while Vote Leave – backed by UKIP’s only MP, Douglas Carswell – also hopes to get the official nod from the Electoral Commission. There is less competition on the stay side, with Britain Stronger in Europe the favourite to represent the stay side, something of note because the official campaign will have access to state funding and TV coverage.
With a date set for the referendum set within the year, this marks the start of a tough few months of campaigning and a difficult time of division for the Conservative Party. With Stay leading the polling, Leave has ground to make up, but UKIP’s success at the last election shows that there is real discontentment within Britain on the subject of the EU.
This announcement also marks the beginning of Young Perspective’s coverage of the EU referendum, so stay tuned for interviews, features and more in a busy few months for politics which will also see coverage of the Scottish Parliament elections.