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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid