EU referendum ‘is now inevitable’

By Alex Gangitano

A referendum about the European Union will be inevitable once treaty changes take place, a prominent left-of-centre think tank said today.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report comes after MPs inflicted a humiliating defeat on the government with a motion which demanded David Cameron  lobbied for a cut in the EU budget.

"Just as the prime minister has called for Scotland to have a vote on its relationship with the UK and only then consider which powers should be devolved, any referendum on the UK’s relationship with the EU should also be clear and decisive," Will Straw, IPPR associate director, said.

"A new purpose based on geopolitical realities, economic necessity and cultural ties is needed if Britain is to secure public support for its continued EU membership."

The report argues that some sort of referendum is inevitable once political and economic changes take place at an EU-level and argued an in-or-out version would be preferable.

The coalition is edging closer towards confirming a referendum after the next general election but it is likely to concern transferral of powers rather than the broader question of whether Britain should be in the EU at all.

Sixty-seven per cent of citizens said they want an ‘in-out’ referendum and 48 per cent said they would vote to leave, according to the group.