If so what would be the outcome?
According to the BBC’s Nick Robinson David Cameron is set to address Tory back-bench concerns over the EU with a major speech in the next couple of month on Britain’s relationship with Brussels.
Under the heading “David Cameron considers a referendum on Europe” Robinson writes:-
“..The pressures on the prime minister are now much greater than they were before the 2010 election – UKIP is building support and many Westminster insiders believe they could win the 2014 European Parliament elections; Tory backbenchers are restless and even pro-Europeans like Peter Mandelson are arguing that a referendum is inevitable.
One proposal being suggested by some close to the prime minister is a promise for a referendum on, or before, a fixed date towards the end of the next Parliament – for example in 2019.
The Foreign Secretary William Hague has described Europe as like a ticking timebomb for the Conservative Party. For years he has advised the prime minister that it is best not to try to defuse it but simply hope that it won’t go off.
I understand, though, that David Cameron now accepts that he can no longer continue to lecture his party not to obsess about Europe and will have to lead the debate…”
As to the form of the referendum the view is that whatever the question on the ballot it would “morph into a yes/no verdict on EU membership”
Will it happen? I’m beginning to think so. Certainly that was the view of those I spoke to in Brighton this week.
The pressures are building up and UKIP’s rise in the polls is making many Tory MPs very nervous.
As far as I can see there are no current betting markets though I’m sure some will be put up.