Mon, Jun 08, 2015 - Page 6 News List

More than 50 UK Conservatives want exit from EU: report

Reuters, LONDON

UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage arrives at a UKIP conference on Saturday.

Photo: Bloomberg

More than 50 lawmakers from British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party are to join a campaign backing Britain’s exit from the EU unless Cameron achieves radical changes in the bloc, according to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

The lawmakers are to be part of a new group called Conservatives for Britain (CfB), which is to support Cameron’s bid for reform while urging an end to EU membership unless significant changes are achieved, the article said.

Cameron is attempting to persuade European leaders to back UK demands for reform before holding an in-out referendum on Britain’s EU membership. He has promised the vote by the end of 2017.

“We wish David Cameron every success, but unless senior EU officials awake to the possibility that one of the EU’s largest members is serious about a fundamental change in our relationship, our recommendation to British voters seems likely to be exit,” Conservative MP Steve Baker said.

Cameron wants to restrict EU migrants’ access to British welfare, improve the single market, and win safeguards to ensure countries outside the eurozone are not put at a disadvantage by greater integration.

The article said CfB had already signed more than 50 MPs and expected numbers to soon rise to about 100, including some ministers.

FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE

“I have been struck by the dozens of Tory [Conservative] MPs who would vote to quit the EU now and who will not settle for anything less than fundamental change,” Baker, who is chairing the CfB group in parliament, wrote in a separate article for the Telegraph.

On Saturday, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage called for Euroskeptic politicians from rival parties to put aside “personal animosities” and begin the “No” campaign against Britain’s continued membership of the bloc.

REFERENDUM

Farage said his party, which won almost 4 million votes in last month’s national elections, would start to “fight the ground game” but warned that unless a coordinated campaign begins now, it would be too late if Cameron calls a referendum early next year.

An ICM poll indicated that 59 percent of Britons supported staying in the EU, and 41 wanted to leave, the Telegraph said.

In an interview with the Observer newspaper, Polish Secretary of State for European Affairs Rafal Trzaskowski said European leaders wanted Britain to stay in the EU, but not at any cost.

“Many people in Europe want to be accommodating,” he said, “but if the demands are too extreme, they are not going to be met.”

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