EURef Round-up: the referendum is damaging the Pound and small businesses already…

Lib Dem Voice’s EU Editor Antony Hook looks at the latest news on the EU referendum from the UK and international press.

Shell has said they would be damaged if Britain voted to leave the EU, reports the International Business Times.

In his usual tactful style, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has hinted at “economic certainty” as the referendum approaches, reports the Daily Mail and Reuters.

The South China Morning Post, one of the most important newspapers in Asia, reports on the hit sterling and UK shares are taking because of the perceived risk of Brexit.

Peter Foster, Europe Editor of the Telegraph, argues that public interest in the referendum is still relatively low and therefore we should assume people have yet to make up their minds.  Professor Annand Menon is quoted in the article arguing that a short attention span for the campaign will make who the messenger is more important:

People won’t listen to a lengthy debate on stuff they find irrelevant at best and boring at worst, so someone they trust delivering the message is absolutely fundamental.

In Delhi, FX Street reports that “Brexit risk premium” has pushed the pound weaker.

Small Business Concern

The Liverpool Echo reports that SMEs in the North West are worried that exchange rate volatility caused by the referendum will harm business.

There are concerns too in the West Midlands reports Business Desk.

Apathy is Danger for IN

In a video for the FT, Janan Ganesh suggests that apathy and low turnout would play into the hands of the Leave campaign and that people need to be told of the risks of exit to address this.

Referendum Date

Brian Taylor of BBC Scotland suggests the signs point to a June referendum date.

Minister David Lidington told journalists in the Balitic that it may be “before the summer holidays”.


Secretary of State David Mundell backs IN,reports the Telegraph.

Northern Ireland

The deep concern in Northern Ireland at what Brexit would mean continues. The Belfast Telegraph reports it is the “biggest threat to NI’s food and drink companies”.

The Northern Ireland Select Committee is going to examine whether Brexit would damage the peace process.

Republic of Ireland

In the Irish Independent, farming minister Simon Coveney is concerned about what Brexit would mean for British and Irish farm exports.

Labour Splits

Labour’s loud voices for Out are calling for their Leader, Jeremy Corbyn to campaign for exit reports BT News.

* Antony Hook was #2 on the South East European list in 2014, is the English Party's representative on the Federal Executive and produces this sites EU Referendum Roundup.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • The uncertainty caused by the referendum, nothing but a ploy to paper over conservative cracks, is disastrous for Britain. It’s utterly ridiculous that we’ve got into this situation.

  • Referenda always cause uncertainty. Uncertainty makes markets unhappy. This was always going to happen. And indeed it would have happened if the Lib Dems had got our way back when we were calling for an in-out referendum…

    I’d be wary of getting alarmed by the inevitable result of a policy we recently supported.

  • “And indeed it would have happened if the Lib Dems had got our way back when we were calling for an in-out referendum…”
    Sorry I must have slept through that apparent LD transparency and openness to an EU referendum policy?
    Let’s get real here. Liberal Democrats have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the EU referendum ‘table’, because liberals don’t trust voters, and as such, direct democracy is not the first port of call for liberals. Liberals prefer to tell voters what to think.
    Fact : We [UK voters], have an EU referendum despite liberals extensive anti-democratic efforts to fight tooth and nail against having it.?

  • Like the double standards here: The EU referendum is a bad thing because of the uncertainty of the outcome, yet the uncertainty being generated by LibDems and Labour over Trident etc. isn’t a bad thing…

  • After the news today on us being forced to take thousands of asylum seekers, the out vote has won.

  • Alan Depauw 21st Jan '16 - 9:24am

    Few British were as impelled by the emotional and political drive for an increasingly united Europe as were, at least up to the Euro and now the refugee crises, most of the peoples of the Continent. It is perhaps the commitment to an ‘ever closer union’ that most concerns the electorate, especially as its effect becomes ever more manifest, with Directives and regulations decided mostly by foreigners imposed on a Parliament considered from time immemorial to be sovereign.

    So it is surely right that the Prime Minister pursues the question of the UK’s relationship with the EU in the current negotiations (although I personally object to the way he is handling the issue of immigration). It reflects the concern of a large swathe of public opinion and he has a mandate to do so.

    We should therefore welcome the forthcoming referendum and be developing arguments for remaining in the EU. Brexiters know the economic case for staying in is compelling; their alternatives are vague and contradictory. Instead, they intend whipping up emotion and feeling; that the very essence of what is Britain is under attack by foreign institutions.

    We should counter by explaining how the pooling of sovereignties could protect our national characteristics better than going alone. To do so, we should develop a programme of what we would do to reform the EU from within. This should be the specific LibDem contribution to the referendum debate.

  • @Alan Depauw:

    “we should develop a programme of what we would do to reform the EU from within. This should be the specific LibDem contribution to the referendum debate.”

    Of course we should. But we failed to do this in the European election campaign in 2014, ebven though the whole point of that election was to elect the people who help decide what the EU should look like. If we could not articulate what our MEPs would do AS LIBERALS to realise our specifically liberal vision of the EU during a campaign to elect EU lawmakers, then I don’t hold out much hope for us doing so in the referendum campaign. Instead we had Clegg casting himself as the voice of the Brussels establishment, no doubt to Farage’s glee.

  • Alex, is this quite fair? ALDE had a good manifesto, but Liberals across Europe suffered against nationalist onslaughts. And if, for economic reasons, the British finally vote to stay, we’ll need a reform programme. Let it not be only a Tory one!

  • Party conference in Autumn 2013, at Glasgow, passed an excellent policy paper on Europe which included huge amounts of policy changes and structural changes (“reforms”) we wish to bring to Europe. It is a programme of radical change.

    There was a decision not to use it in the 2014 election, which in my view was a mistake.

  • Alex Macfie 21st Jan '16 - 2:44pm

    I’m with Antony here. Our European election campaign made no reference to any Liberal manifesto, whether Lib Dem or ALDE. To the extent that we mentioned the EU, it was all about what what marvellous things the EU had done but with no reference to the contribution of Liberals to this. So we gave voters no reason to vote Lib Dem rather than one of the other parties, in terms of what Liberal MEPs would do that is different from what MEPs from any other party would do.

    While that election was always going to be difficult for us, I think making Clegg the front person for it was a serious mistake. Both because it made us look like the party of the Brussels establishment, and also because he was associated with the Coalition when we should have been emphasising the INDEPENDENCE of our MEPs from what happens at Westminster (the European Parliament was a “Coalition-Free Zone).

    UKIP tends to do well in European elections because voters have been conditioned to not care much about the European Parliament: they think it doesn’t matter, so it is safe/harmless to vote for fruitcakes in elections to it. But our election campaign did nothing to disabuse voters of this notion. Similarly the media and the electorate got that idea that the election was about the UK’s place in the EU, which is also wrong, because MEPs do not decide that. But again, our campaign did nothing to challenge that falsehood, so our campaign was fought on Farage’s preferred territory. That is why we did so badly.

  • Alan Depauw 21st Jan '16 - 3:08pm

    Alex, well argued. So let’s do better for the referendum!

  • ‘ It’s utterly ridiculous that we’ve got into this situation.

    Yes,whatever we do don’t consult voters what do they know ,the Westminster bubble knows best.

  • World stock markets are falling because of our referendum? Now there was me thinking it was about oil.

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