ICM have released their weekly tracker on the EU referendum. The poll was conducted between Friday evening and today, so it was after Cameron’s EU deal was announced but was almost entirely before Boris Johnson endorsed the leave campaign (only eleven responses are “post-Boris”). Topline voting intentions are REMAIN 42%, LEAVE 40% – so wholly in line with ICM’s polling before the deal. Tabs are here.

Today also saw some new YouGov polling of Labour party members, conducted for Ian Warren. The fun stuff from this is probably the data on the leadership (out tomorrow on Ian’s site) but the initial slice of data covers the policy views of Labour party members, and compares them to Labour party voters and to the general public.

The Labour party membership is increasingly in line with the views of their leader. 68% of Labour members opose renewal of Trident, 64% think trade unions should have more influence, 58% say they wouldn’t vote for any Labour leader if they had supported airstrikes against Syria. Recent recruits are even more Corbynite – over 80% of those who’ve joined in the last year are anti-Trident, over 70% think unions should have more influence and would only support a leader who opposed airstrikes in Syria.

A leftwards consolidation of the Labour party membership however risks opening up a significant gulf between the views of members and voters. The most obvious example of that here is immigration. On salience, health and the economy are seen as two of the three biggest issues facing the country by Labour members, Labour voters and the general public. But on immigration 60% of the general public think it is a major issue, 46% of Labour voters do, just 17% of Labour members do; 78% of Labour party members think immigration is good for the economy, only 41% of Labour voters do, only 29% of the general public.

Finally, on the EU referendum Labour party members are overwhelmingly in favour of REMAIN – 81% say they’ll vote to stay, 11% to leave, 8% don’t know.


96 Responses to “New ICM EU polling and YouGov Labour members survey”

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  1. This was in moderation last night for some reason, so you probebly missed it…

    It’s amusing that the two biggest changes in the EU since the 1975 referendum have been the Single Market, and eastward expansion, both of which were primarily driven by Britain (and most of all by the Thatcher government in the 1980s), yet it’s the Conservatives who are riven now, whereas in 1975 it was Labour.

    Notwithstanding this, I don’t expect a substantially different result from 1975, which like this one, was called primarily to heal an internal party rift and based on a largely phony “renegotiation” (though to give Cameron his due he got more than Wilson managed). I’d be surprised at less than 60%/40% for remain, or more than 65%/35%.

    Which leaves me to ponder Boris’s decision. Assuming for the sake of argument that his primary driver is personal ambition (not an unreasonable assumption), and also assuming that my predicted outcome is correct, one has to ask why he has opted to back a probable loser. The only rational explanation I can arrive at is that had he chosen “remain” he would still be behind Osborne and May in MP’s leadership votes, and hence would not have made the national party ballot, whereas if the electorate does vote to leave he’s a shoo-in as next leader. Small chance, in other words, beats no chance at all.

    Any other theories welcome (excluding the obvious but to mind unlikely one that he’s acting on pure principle).

  2. One if the standout findings is that ‘labour voters’ are marginally LESS concerned about the environment than the public as a whole!

    I have a Scotland-related question about the referendum: If ‘remain’ were to prevail by, say 55:45, would Nicola Surgeon consider the matter of Brexit to be settled for ‘at least a generation’?

  3. Correction: not less concerned about the environment, but less likely to consider it to be one of the most important issues, still quite remarkable though.

  4. I’m not sure that the membership of any political party represents the views of either the general public and/or the party’s voters very well. On Europe for example, the views of the 150,000 Tory members seem much more opposed to continued membership than the general public while the Labour membership seem much more in favour. Both memberships are out of kilter with the public on Europe, as they probably are on a number of other issues like capital punishment and immigration too. That’s the nature of political party members, I suppose, and the same applies to members of the Greens, SNP, the Lib Dems etc. I wouldn’t read much into these polls, to be honest, and while Labour members are more numerous than those in other parties, and maybe have more influence over policy development, it doesn’t surprise me that they currently favour Corbyn’s policy agenda. They did vote for him in quite big numbers only a few months ago.

    On Europe, Corbyn is much more in line with his members and voters than Cameron is with his. That may be quite significant over the next few months when I don’t think Trident and air strikes in Syria will be quite as important as the EU. There will be trouble at mill in the Tory Party whatever the result of the referendum, particularly if it’s tight call in favour of staying in. That could be as bad for them as a big vote to leave.

    As for the polls on Remain or Leave, I’d say at this stage of the campaign that I’d expect Remain to be firmly ahead, not neck and neck with Leave. The Scottish Referendum saw the status quo argument lose ground steadily as the vote approached and something tells me that if I was a “remainer”, I’d be happier with a bit more in the bank than this.

  5. @David

    You’d have to ask her.

  6. FRASER
    Do you think I’m the only person who’d like to know?

  7. “78% of Labour party members think immigration is good for the economy”

    Well, most people tend to take the rather simplistic view of “good for the economy” as meaning the economy is growing.

    It is well known that, whilst there may be some unproductive immigrants, the majority of immigrants come here to work. “Taking our jobs” and all that malarkey. Thus, if we can take it as a given that these immigrants aren’t so dreadfully unproductive that they actually *lower* average productivity across the nation as a whole – a reasonable assumption by all accounts – then it is a bare fact that immigration produces economic growth, and is “good for the economy”. (Something that George Osborne found reason to be extremely grateful for last year, though never publicly admitted of course).

    And so: what was the point of the question again? Anyone who thinks immigration isn’t “good for the economy” has a somewhat peculiar relationship with reality.

    Unless…..they have a rather different notion of what “good for the economy” might mean, than the one most politicians and political commentators assume.

  8. David Colby

    Fraser is right. You can ask her on behalf of the other person who wants to know too.

    She is very accessible on social media – unless you are trolling of course.

    She might consider that asking her if she would endorse Alastair Darling’s comment that “we hope we win well enough to say that this has been settled for at least a generation.” was a little odd though.

  9. “I have a Scotland-related question about the referendum: If ‘remain’ were to prevail by, say 55:45, would Nicola Surgeon consider the matter of Brexit to be settled for ‘at least a generation’?”

    I’d say she would, but remember that people don’t live as long in Scotland, so definitions of ‘generation’ may differ.

  10. Haven’t seen the news today, so can’t comment on the reality, but there are many reports across the spectrum that Cameron ‘attacked’ Boris today.

    Not altogether sure about this approach – from the referendum campaign itself to internal party relationships. I suspect Cameron will live to regret this, especially in light of the way that Boris, Gove etc claimed to have found backing Brexit a very tough personal call to make.

    We’re now beginning to see the full potential horror that can arise when you fire the gun on a 6 year leadership election.

  11. Nah, I think it’s largely in the mind of the journalists.

    No paper ever prints the headline “Nothing Much Happened Today. Pretty Unremarkable Really”.

    If Cameron was staying on it might be different. I don’t think Cameron has any issue with Johnson becoming party leader. They’re relatively close on most issues, and personally friendly. “Attacking him” is about trying to win the referendum, not about stopping him from being leader.

  12. ALEC
    I believe she would too, but I’ve been warned by the cartoon character who thinks he runs this site that speculating about what Nicola Sturgeon might say or think is strictly verboten.
    Apparently, it means you’re a troll.
    The correct procedure is to contact her directly. As far as I can tell, his rule does not yet apply to any other politician or to any country or subject other than Scotland.

  13. @David Colby

    Look at it this way:

    The UK votes 55/45 to stay in the EU, but over the next few years things deteriorate, the promises made to Cameron are not kept. And the EU takes an ideological turn which is the complete opposite of the UK. Do you think it would be reasonable for the Tories to include a second EU referendum in their 2020 manifesto?

  14. COUPER
    Yes I think it would be reasonable.

  15. @ Neil A

    I think there is a BBC radio recording somewhere from an olden time in which the speaker said: “Nothing more happened today, so listen to some music until our next programme starts”. Or something equivalent.

    It could be an urban legend though.

  16. Alec

    I think the “once in a generation <opportunity” comment was Salmond’s.

    From my time in the fishing industry, I seem to remember that the generational life of a salmon is 4-6 years. :-)

  17. @Laszlo

    No, it’s true. I can’t remember when it was but there was a day in the distant past when the BBC announced there had been ‘no news’.

  18. @Laszlo

    18th April 1930. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p010szlg.

  19. David Colby

    Describing Anthony as a “cartoon character” seems a little churlish.

  20. OLDNAT
    :)

  21. @ RAF

    Thank you.

  22. Looking at the ICM poll I wish those 65 and older would reflect on the views of 18-34 year olds who have their whole lives in front of them, and then reflect on how selfish it is to vote to “leave” when one is at the end of ones life and in retirement when you do not have worry about the economic consequences of leaving.

    And this idea of voting to “leave”, but only as a ploy to get a better deal – is that not like spinning a roulette wheel and hoping you do not lose everything on the gamble.

    Can anyone explain what the breakdown is by level of income?

    Strongest support is in Scotland and the South, with the weakest support in the Midlands, followed by Wales

  23. Andy: this fallacy of selfishness versus the greater good really grinds my gears. Most people of all political persuasions vote out of self-interest rather than in the best interests of the country.

    It’s similar to the left-right argument. It’s just as selfish to vote Labour because you want extra benefits, as it is to vote Conservative because you don’t want to pay extra tax. But try telling that to your average Guardian reader.

  24. @Crossbat11

    “There will be trouble at mill in the Tory Party whatever the result of the referendum, particularly if it’s tight call in favour of staying in. That could be as bad for them as a big vote to leave.”

    In terms of garnering electoral support from the debate over the EU, the Tory Party is in a much better place than Labour. Because the Tory Party is split, it is still capable of garnering the votes of those who have strong views in either camp.

    By contrast, Labour’s near unity is around a position that will ram home the supposed benefits of the EU over the next three months. That is out of kilter ill with an electorate that has become heavily critical of the EU’s policies and the way it operates, even if many of those people would baulk at actually cutting our ties altogether. Labour is I think contriving to put off people with eurosceptic views from supporting it. Compare the views of the remaining Labour voters on the EU with those of the C2DE social class which once formed its core support (and especially older C2DE people).

  25. POLLTROLL,

    Except that most Guardian readers calling for higher taxes for benefits for the poor probably aren’t poor and on benefits. People on Benefits are more likely to buy the Sun that is always complaining about scrounges.

    On the possibility of Indey 2, Better Together said that a “No” vote was the only guarantee of keeping Scotland in the EU. A daft claim to make as no Government let alone campaign organisation can bind future governments.

    Darling equally claimed a “No” vote would guarantee the same pensions in Scotland as England, but again nothing he said could stop some future Chancellor from putting regional pensions in his budget and it becoming law.

    Alex Salmond was free to say, and may well have believed, that the Referendum was a once in a generation opportunity, but that doesn’t bind the next Scottish Government elected in May even if it is the SNP.

    Personally I think the UK will vote to remain and if it is leave there won’t be a second referendum.

    Peter.

  26. @Andy S
    “Looking at the ICM poll I wish those 65 and older would reflect on the views of 18-34 year olds who have their whole lives in front of them, and then reflect on how selfish it is to vote to “leave” when one is at the end of ones life and in retirement when you do not have worry about the economic consequences of leaving.”

    Older voters have experience of what life was like before the UK’s membership of the EU, and also every older voter I know is very concerned about the future for their children and grandchildren, which is why a majority want to Leave.

  27. It would be interesting to know how many Labour Party members are actually in minimum wage jobs of the sort that can be filled by EU immigrants. I suspect that those people do not have the time or money to indulge themselves in being members of any party.

  28. I do not like the tone of this. I am 67 and do not consider myself at the end of my life. On average, I have about 16 years to go!

  29. @Andy S
    “Looking at the ICM poll I wish those 65 and older would reflect on the views of 18-34 year olds who have their whole lives in front of them”
    Perhaps, Andy, those near the end of their lives are less likely to adopt a purely selfish point of view based solely on their own economic interests?
    They may even have reflected as you suggest and are worried that those 18-34 year olds, especially the younger ones among them, are basing their decisions on limited life experience and not considering the risks of remaining in an organization run by …. well, watch a few YouTube clips of speeches by EU leaders.

  30. Morning folks,

    @David Colby (fpt). I’m sorry that I came across in a passive-aggressive fashion – my shrink is helping me work through the issues. BTW, I live in Germany too.

    Quick update from the Irish election situation. The final opinion poll of the campaign has been released this morning (no eve-of-election polls are published). Fieldwork was Thurs-Sun (I don’t have a sample size yet). There were 7% undecided which is very low by Irish standards. The figures are Fine Gael 30% (-), Fianna Fail 20% (+2), Lab 7% (-1), Sinn Fein 15% (-1). Others 28% (-). So more or less the same. The interesting point is that FF were around 23% in some of the other weekend polls, so maybe RedC (who performed this particular one) are coming into line? RedC also performed a “wisdom of the crowds” poll, which interestingly shows a quite different picture. This poll has FG 28%, FF 22%, Lab 12%, SF 17%, Others 22%.

    I know it’s always tempting to progress one’s own prejudices onto poll findings, but the “wisdom of the crowds” poll seems a little closer to my own projections, taking into account the campaign itself. My view is that the opinion polls have shown significant percentages for the smaller parties, most of whom will only stand candidates in a fraction of constituencies – it’s a bit difficult to imagine that the Greens, who have been almost invisible for the last five years, winning more than 1 seat. I also have the impression that there remains a shy FF vote (a remnant of the economic crisis), but whether this plays out on Friday, I’m not sure.

    Finally, and on topic for once, a few commentators above seem perturbed by the fact that sometimes older voters and younger voters vote! I for one intensely dislike the partitioning of the population into nice neat demographics (particularly notable in the US) – I’d rather see politicians try to convince a large swathe of the population to choose them according to their policies, rather than pander to some mythical fixed proportion of the electorate. Guess what folks, some older voters will vote to stay in the EU because they feel that it benefits the country overall, despite its drawbacks, while some youngsters will feel that their futures are better served outside the EU. I have my own (fairly biased) views on the subject, but I respect the right of peeps (sorry Carfrew) to make their own decisions. My only wish is that people made a well-informed judgement on issues, rather than on their personal views towards certain politicians. One can dream, eh?

  31. @Andy Shadrack

    Neither the Leave or Remain group are thinking “selfishly” because neither gains financially from this. They’re thinking more about Britain’s place in the world.

    The EU has started to behave weirdly since the Great Financial Crash. Papandreau of Greece was toppled simply because he wanted to gain consent for bailout terms via a referendum – a referendum he would have won. Berlusconi was toppled simply because he questioned Merkel’s fiskalpact. In both cases they were replaced by eurocrats without the consent of voters.

    There is nothing democratic about this – one govt decided to topple others and the institutions of the EU were powerless to stop her, but instead helped her out.

    Suppose Corbyn were to be elected Prime Minister of the UK by some miracle. People like me who disagree with him would abide by the result, roll our eyes and try to vote him out at the next election. But Merkel and co would try to topple him because he’d be vetoing everything she put forward. That’s the essential difference between our Anglo-Saxon system and what is going on in the EU.

    Then factor in the near fascist govts being elected in Poland and Hungary, all of whom have power in Council of Ministers over EU direction, and you start to feel very queasy indeed.

    This ref isn’t about economics on either side. Both sides agree that the EU has profound problems. The question is what do we do about it. Remain thinks we can reform the EU and Leave thinks we can’t.

  32. @Phil Haines

    “In terms of garnering electoral support from the debate over the EU, the Tory Party is in a much better place than Labour. Because the Tory Party is split, it is still capable of garnering the votes of those who have strong views in either camp.”

    I see the point you are making but the benefit in attracting the electoral support you refer to may well be off set by voters being repelled by the spectacle of a deeply divided party. Conventional wisdom tells us that divided parties pay an electoral price in time. I’m not sure either about the argument that facing both ways on Europe allows a party to exploit both sides of the argument, especially when the leadership of the party is almost wholly on one side of the argument. Sure, there are senior Tories against membership of the EU, as are the majority of members and many MPs, but the Tory Part is only offering one policy and that’s remaining in Europe. Surely that leads to the danger of losing voters and members, doesn’t it? The only unequivocal party on Europe is UKIP. Surely, if you were totally against membership of the EU, you’d be tempted to go there, wouldn’t you, rather than pin your colours to the anti EU Tory rump who don’t enjoy majority support in their parliamentary party or in the Cabinet? Pigs in pokes spring to mind

    However, I do agree with your analysis of the potential weakness of Labour’s position, particularly as articulated by Corbyn. His unenthusiastic and one dimensional embrace of the EU risks displeasing both sides of the argument, I would have thought, even though it’s sort of in tune with the sentiments of most of the party’s MPs, members and voters.

  33. Yes it’s possible all these oldies might be behaving altruistically.

    On the other hand, if as a young person you had seen that the facts show the oldies, having benefitted from the efforts of the generation that won the war, then pulled the ladder up after them, and are continuing to vote for benefits to themselves – heating allowances, avoiding pension changes etc. – denied to those younger, the younger might therefore perfectly rationally reach a different conclusion…

  34. Yes it’s possible all these oldies might be behaving altruistically.
    On the other hand, if as a young person you had seen that the facts show the oldies, having benefitted from the efforts of the generation that won the war, then pulled the ladder up after them, and are continuing to vote for benefits to themselves – heating allowances, avoiding pension changes etc. – denied to those younger, the younger might therefore perfectly logically reach a different conclusion…

  35. ANDY SHADRACK
    “Looking at the ICM poll I wish those 65 and older would reflect on the views of 18-34 year olds who have their whole lives in front of them, and then reflect on how selfish it is to vote to “leave” when one is at the end of ones life and in retirement when you do not have worry about the economic consequences of leaving.”

    As a 75 year old I could not disagree more. The main reason i am passionate about leaving the UK is that I want a better future for the younger generation which I think will only be possible outside the EU, which IMO is in terminal decline anyway.. My hope is that the younger generation will listen to those older (and possibly wiser) than themselves and join us in voting OUT.

  36. @Candy

    “Neither the Leave or Remain group are thinking “selfishly” because neither gains financially from this. They’re thinking more about Britain’s place in the world.”

    ———

    You are ignoring the possibility that some might want to stuff things up for others even if they themselves don’t gain. Hard to get one’s head around that there might be people like that, but then there are people who will bash your car and drive off WITHOUT EVEN LEAVING A NOTE!!…

  37. @ Andy S

    Dave is spot on IMO. I was just old enough to vote in 1975, don’t think I will be this time though. My concern isn’t for myself but for the generations following.

    I’m still in business and 80% of our business sales come from the Far East. We buy happily & without prejudice from European companies but the ones that could buy from us, despite great efforts on our part, CHOOSE not to. As an anecdotal extra I know other businesses who have given up trying to sell into Europe for the same reason. The UK’s annual trade deficit with the EC is massive, no real mention of this so far, if we decide to stay in this needs addressing!

  38. @Peter Cairns

    Hmmm…..slight double standards in your last post, I think? Anything my guy said didn’t have to mean what it said, while whatever the other lot said did?

    While I wouldn’t necessarily have used the word ‘guarantee’, yes, I think a no vote was the best way to ensure Scotland stayed within the EU, as a Yes vote would leave that decision in the hands of Westminster, who had the veto over the treaty changes the SNP claimed would be automatic.

    On pensions – no – there is no realistic risk of UK having differential regional pensions. This would spark all manner of risks of movements of the elderly into high pension areas, and all manner of issues over whether the calculations are based on the region where you paid in or the region where you claimed etc. Wouldn’t be possible, so the comment was fair.

    Equally, I disagree on the second EU referendum. The EU commission can even begin to conceive of freezing it’s budget, let alone cut it overnight by c 7.5%, which would be the requirement if the UK left.

    Furthermore, given the strains on the EU already, Brexit could have far deeper implications for the future of the EU than people think. Like the emperor’s clothes, suddenly everything would change, and many other countries would want a piece of this.

    The commission and EU governments are desperate for the UK to stay, and like Ireland and Denmark over Maastricht, would cobble together anything to reverse the vote. I think that’s pretty much baked in.

  39. “Looking at the ICM poll I wish those 65 and older would reflect on the views of 18-34 year olds who have their whole lives in front of them, and then reflect on how selfish it is to vote to “leave” when one is at the end of ones life and in retirement when you do not have worry about the economic consequences of leaving.”

    What preposterous ageist nonsense Andy. Maybe 18 to 34 year olds should take into consideration the enhanced perspective that older people have? Perhaps they should consider that progressive 18 to 34 year olds have a tendency to turn into conservative 70 year olds? Or perhaps we should install a red crystal in everyone’s hand that starts flashing at 35, deny them the vote and send the sand men after them?

  40. “What preposterous ageist nonsense Andy. Maybe 18 to 34 year olds should take into consideration the enhanced perspective that older people have?”

    ———-

    Well I keep trying to take them into consideration but they keep buggering it up. Like, I already mentioned the Georgie Fame gig, and now the other night, I was at a Shuggie Otis gig, and there were quite a few oldies. And some of them just came and sat at our table. Didn’t let on or anything, or ask about joining us or anything. Younger peeps tend to have rather more manners…

    (This is apart from oldies having benefitted from full employment, cheap housing, good pensions cheaper utilities etc. etc. then voting for summat different for those who follow…)

  41. Shuggie Otis, for any wondering…

    http://youtu.be/YHFqOYLgqFA

    (He was only 17 or summat when he did this track…)

  42. @Andy

    “And this idea of voting to “leave”, but only as a ploy to get a better deal – is that not like spinning a roulette wheel and hoping you do not lose everything on the gamble.”

    __________________________________________

    David Cameron tried to make a similar point yesterday with the divorce analogy aimed at Boris Johnson, but it is a misunderstanding of “getting a better deal by voting for Leave”.

    The idea is that trade agreements and no membership fee is a better deal than being an EU member. It is NOT to try to gain better terms while retaining EU membership.

  43. @AndyS, @Rich

    Can I jump in here and tell you that you’re both wrong? Both of you are guilty of preposterous ageist nonsense (and not exactly sticking to the comments policy, but I’ll let our noble overlord AW judge that one). I find this idea that older people have a wiser perspective, presumably from having lived longer, exceptionally spurious, while the glory of youth (manifested largely on social media as far as I see) is more than a bit overdone. How about just accepting that people will make their decision in the referendum (or in the Irish election, or 2020 UK election) based on their own set of circumstances? It definitely beats this exceptionally dull bickering about what people should and shouldn’t do (which always coincidentally matches the poster’s personal view, funny that!).

  44. @Andy S – “…and then reflect on how selfish it is to vote to “leave”…”

    Sorry, but your post is extraordinarily partisan.

    People have markedly different views about what is better for the future of the UK and it’s population. Some genuinely believe Brexit is much better than remaining in the EU, others disagree. We aren’t here to opine on whether one view is or isn’t ‘selfish’.

  45. Personally I find it hard to see how one can come down so definitively for or against the EU thing. This is not simply out of a desire to avoid burdening AW with the partisan, but also because the issue seems to have far too many variables and unknowns for a Carfrew’s noggin to parse. It’s not cut-and-dried, like storage…

  46. @Carfrew – very much with you on that one (the EU bit – not so clear about storage).

    As with the Indyref, my feelings are that there will inevitably be some fairly major short term dislocations in various ways, that would have, broadly speaking, negative effects.

    With time comes the ability to make adjustments, and stabilize what would be a major period of change. What the impacts of this would be in the longer term would depend to a large extend on what decisions were taken.

    My conclusion in the case of Scotland is that the economic entity that is Scotland would suffer too great a short term dislocation and would face too many uncertainties to make the long term calculation advisable, although neither did I think it would be a disaster in the longer term either.

    For the UK and the EU, the long term risks of leaving are not that great, but they are there nonetheless, alongside risks and benefits of staying.

    I think my biggest gripe is that Cameron abandoned entirely any pretence to be serious about making a choice for in or out, months before he started negotiating, and then told his opponents what his choice was. As a negitiation stance, that’s about as useful as an unmbrella in a hurricane. As a result, we have got a complete zero in terms of meaningful reforms, and very little chance for a long time now of seriously revisting the reform agenda. I therefore lean towards a Brexit vote, but not by much.

  47. CARFREW

    @”It’s not cut-and-dried,”

    Absolutely-which is why I think DC’s “Leap in the dark” attack will win it.

    If there was one single cohesive response to it, I have no doubt it could be countered. But there isn’t.

  48. @Alec

    Thank you for articulating so effectively my thoughts on the entire subject. I too am leaning towards Brexit and for the same reasons.

    The so-called renegotiation was wretched and has convinced no-one.

    And of course, a Brexit will rattle the EU hugely and cause massive consternation. It is quite certain to provoke a response from Brussels that will include major concessions.

    I might well then vote ‘Remain’. And I think I will be joined by a lot of others.

    I would go further, perhaps to the point of over-optimism, in saying that a Leave vote might herald the kind of fundamental reforms to the EU that would be welcomed across the continent.

  49. JIMR

    @”The idea is that trade agreements and no membership fee is a better deal than being an EU member. It is NOT to try to gain better terms while retaining EU membership.”

    As I understand it Cameron has said that given a No vote he would do as the People instructed him -and commence exit from EU.

    This would be via Article 50, which prescribes a 2 year period for negotiation of terms. When this runs out the position is the then status quo -unless EU members all agree to extend the 2 year period.

  50. @Colin –

    “As I understand it Cameron has said that given a No vote he would do as the People instructed him -and commence exit from EU.”

    So that’s a ‘no ifs, no buts, cast iron pledge’ then?

    Ho Ho Ho – would probably be the first time Cameron’s actualy delivered what he promised……

    Seriously though, your post isn’t fully accurate. If agreement isn’t reached within 2 years then the leaving country is freed from their treaty obligations (ie leaves the EU) whether or not an agreement on terms has been reached, so not the status quo. This negotiation period can be extended by unanimous vote of the EU council.

    Interestingly, and something greatly in the UK’s favour should leave win, is that clause 2 of Article 50 states that …”the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union”, but critically this agreement will be decided by the EU council (minus the leaving nation) on qualified majority voting. In other words, UK’s terms with the EU in the event of Brexit could not be blocked by one countries objections only. This means a satisfactory exit deal is far easier to negotiate, in contrast to Scotland’s options for independence within the EU, where a unanimous vote was required (including from the UK).

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