Bowing to pressure, UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron has given a free hand to his ministers to campaign to leave the European Union in a referendum expected to be held before 2017. Mr Cameron aims to keep the UK in the bloc if the EU leaders agree to reform the union.
“There will be a clear government position but it will be open to individual ministers to take a different personal position while remaining part of the government,” Mr Cameron told parliament during an update on his renegotiation. Focusing on the UK’s future in the EU, Mr Cameron has told the bloc that he would campaign to leave the bloc, if he doesn’t get a deal with other EU leaders at a Feb 17-18 summit.
If the UK decides to leave the union, it is expected to create further fissures in the union which is already plagued by differences on major issues such as migration and euro zone. UK is the second largest economy in the union and London is the richest city of the European Union. UK is among the top two military powers of EU.
The UK’s decision to leave the EU will also have domestic repercussions, with Scotland claiming it will go for another referendum to secede from the UK if the country decides to leave the EU. This will further erode Britain’s strength internationally. The opposition Labour party is for staying in the EU. However, the ruling conservatives are divided on the issue.
Speaking about his own future, Mr Cameron said that he will not lead his party into the next parliamentary election due in 2020 and he would not resign in the event of a ‘no’ vote in the EU referendum. “This is the choice of the British people … they can either choose to stay in a reformed European Union or to leave the European Union and come what may I will continue to lead the government in the way I have,” Mr Cameron added.
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