News / Europe

Cameron Moves to Quell Party Revolt over Europe

British Prime Minister David Cameron moved to end a revolt over European Union membership in his ruling Conservative party saying all his ministers backed his strategy on the issue despite two expressing more sceptical views than his own, (File photo).
British Prime Minister David Cameron moved to end a revolt over European Union membership in his ruling Conservative party saying all his ministers backed his strategy on the issue despite two expressing more sceptical views than his own, (File photo).
Reuters
British Prime Minister David Cameron moved to end a revolt over European Union membership in his ruling Conservative party on Monday, saying all his ministers backed his strategy on the issue despite two expressing more skeptical views than his own.

Cameron, who heads a two-party coalition, has promised to try to renegotiate Britain's membership of the EU if he wins an election in 2015 and then call a referendum to decide whether his country remains a member of the bloc.

He cannot act now because his junior coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, oppose such a move.

Two of his ministers suggested on Sunday they would vote to leave the EU if a vote were held today, while Cameron has always said he wants Britain to stay in a reformed EU.

A powerful wing of his own party worried about losing votes to the UK Independence Party (UKIP), an anti-EU party, is pushing him to enshrine his promise of a vote in law now.

In comments he hopes will hold his party together on an issue that helped bring down previous Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and dogged the premiership of her successor John Major, Cameron said his policy enjoyed the full backing of all his ministers.

"What matters is making sure that we do everything we can to reform the EU ... so that when we have the referendum before the end of 2017 we give the British public a real choice," Cameron told reporters as he flew to the United States to support the case for a U.S.-EU trade deal.

"Every Conservative cabinet minister is confident that we'll be able to deliver those changes. We're all confident of the success."

Symbolic Vote

To compound Cameron's discomfort, up to 100 Eurosceptic Conservative members of parliament are expected to back an amendment later this week criticizing legislative plans unveiled by the government because they did not include a bill paving the way for a referendum on Britain's EU membership.

Cameron played down the prospect of such a vote on Monday.

"Coalition does throw up different circumstances," he said, saying newspaper headlines about the vote were "over-excited", a reference to some front page stories claiming his party was embroiled in a civil war.

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, a member of Cameron's Conservatives and a potential leadership rival, said he supported the vote.

"I personally back legislation now to make sure that referendum goes ahead," he said, writing in the right-of-Centre Daily Telegraph newspaper.
 
"It will be a good thing for everyone, because we will all have to focus not on the feud ... but on what is actually right for the country."

Several high-profile internal critics have said Cameron has no chance of renegotiating Britain's EU membership.

He strongly rejected that charge on Monday.

"You shouldn't give up before a negotiation has started," he said. "It seems to me to be an extraordinary way to go about things. The idea of throwing in the towel before the negotiations have started is a very, very strange opinion."

Cameron set out his Europe strategy in a speech in January. At the time, some business figures criticized him for creating uncertainty around such an important issue.

Officials in several European countries warned him he could not have an "a la carte Europe", choosing the bits he liked while discarding other parts he didn't.

But Cameron said on Monday he had been encouraged by reaction to the speech.

"[It] had a reasonable reception in Europe with a number of key European players recognizing this was a legitimate agenda," he said. "It's a good start."

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid