British PM retreats after threatening MPs over EU deal

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 10.06.2015 00:25
Updated 10.06.2015 03:37
British PM retreats after threatening MPs over EU deal

Ahead of voting on the EU referendum bill in the House of Commons on Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron took a step back on his tough stance toward British deputies saying that his words were "misinterpreted" after telling his fellow deputies to back his EU strategy or quit. Unless ministers follow the program set out in the Conservative manifesto, they will be forced to resign their position, the British Prime Minister had warned, as reported by British daily, The Independent. Eurosceptic Conservatives insists that they will continue to campaign for an exit from the EU unless the prime minster secures EU reforms.

"It is clear to me that what I said yesterday was misinterpreted," he said at a press conference at the G7 summit in Germany on Monday afternoon. "I was clearly referring to the process of re-negotiation. But the point is this. I have always said what I want is an outcome for Britain that keeps us in a reformed EU. But I have also said we don't know the outcome of these negotiations, which is why I have always said I rule nothing out."

The EU referendum bill is one of the top items on the Conservatives' legislative agenda, part of the Conservative Manifesto. The British Prime Minister Cameron plans to renegotiate Britain's relationship with a reformed European Union before holding an in-out EU membership referendum. Cameron has held a series of talks with other European leaders in a bid to secure reforms to the EU that he says are necessary ahead of the referendum.

The pro-EU opposition parties criticized the Conservative government plans on the EU referendum including the exclusion of European migrants from voting in the EU referendum, while favoring young people aged 16 and over to be eligible to vote in the referendum. The opposition Labor party declared Tuesday they would run a separate pro-EU campaign to keep the country inside the EU. As part of a pro-EU campaign from the Labor Party and Scottish National Party (SNP), the lowering of the voting age to 16 is expected to increase the chances of staying in the EU. Young people are more likely to favor Britain's EU membership, as suggested by a poll conducted by YouGov among 18- to 24-year-olds.

British Prime Minister Cameron says he will vote in favor of remaining in the EU if he can secure these changes, which include making it harder for EU migrants to claim state benefits in Britain. However, opinion polls suggest so far that the majority of voters in Britain would back staying in Europe. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center on the British mood over the EU exit shows that 55 percent of U.K. citizens are in favor of remaining part of the EU bloc. Thirty-six percent wants Britain to leave the EU bloc, the poll suggests. Compared to 2013 findings, this marks an increase, as only 46 percent of U.K. citizens favored EU membership in 2013 while 46 percent favoring leaving. The British daily Guardian reported that 63 percent want Britain to stay in the EU.

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