The question of Britain’s continuing membership of the European Union may be put to a public vote. A recent poll by Populus found that 80% of people either wanted an immediate poll on the issue, or should pull out of the community straight away. Less than 20% were happy with the status quo and saw no need for a referendum either now, or in the immediate future.
Other results from the poll, conducted on behalf of The Times showed that less than a third were unsure whether Britain should be a part of the wider European Community, whereas less than half thought that the UK should decline the opportunity of joining the Eurozone. The Government has denied reports that a referendum is being considered or could be announced at the upcoming Conservative Party conference.
Meanwhile, a credit downgrade is likely to hit two of the UK’s leading financial institutions. Moody’s is expected to lower the credit rating of the Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland on the back of the impact of the £80bn bailout of Spain. Other merchant banks such as Barclays are likely to be hit as the cost of borrowing increases.
The government believes that the continuing crisis in the Eurozone is holding back Britain’s own attempts at recovery. George Osborne, Britain’s Chancellor wrote in The Times that while the government was doing all it could, the problems that other countries faced were having a direct impact on the British economy.
Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox believes a referendum is inevitable in the near future and that pressure is sure to build on the government. As European treaties are renegotiated UK voters are certain to want a say in how the country positions itself economically and politically in Europe.