Europe Referendum: News Round-Up 1

In a new series for Lib Dem Voice readers, I will be reporting a summary of the latest news from media in the UK and abroad about Britain’s referendum on its future in Europe.

Brexit Risks Damaging Sterling, Investment and Trade

Highlighting the economic damage that holding the referendum will to do, quite apart from the damage of Exit itself, The Wall Street Journal notes that  the pound has fallen to an 8-month low against the dollar and reports that:

“Investors also remain wary… as a possible withdrawal could discourage investment flows that have supported the pound.”

Sir Victor Blank, former Chairman of Lloyds Bank and Trinity Mirror, writes in the Telegraph about the danger to British business of Brexit and benefits for jobs, investment and trade that come from being in Europe.

New CBI head, Carolyn Fairbairn has told the Guardian that the UK’s leading business organisation will be speaking up loudly for the importance of remaining in the EU.

Delhi-based FXStreet reports on HSBC research predicting “sterling falling significantly” within days if there is a vote to Leave the EU.

Investment blog Econotimes predicts economic damage in the event of Brexit and earlier if the risk of Brexit appears to increase.

Despite the above, the Express has editorialised that there is “little proof” that leaving Europe would damage the economy and cites a Vote Leave report that has been savagely criticised and mocked for inaccuracy.

What about Britain’s Farmers?

Farmers Weekly reports that Former DEFRA Secretary Owen Patterson has claimed that farmers would be better off out of Europe, which is a surprising claim given the high level of farming exports to Europe and CAP funding that farmers receive, which a UK government may very well not match.  Patterson has been contradicted by leading farming experts and will debate Farming Commissioner Phil Hogan at Oxford on 7 January.

Irish Concern at Economic Consequences of Brexit

Readers with Irish connections or interests will note comments by Minister Simon Harris in the Irish Times about the economic damage that Brexit would do to Eire’s economy.  Iris h residents, whether in the North or the Republic, are welcome to join or support the Liberal Democrats’ campaign to keep Britain in Europe.

Vote Leave Attacked for Dodgy Figures / Poor Arithmetic

The EU Referendum blog critiques claims from Vote Leave about the alleged “cost” of EU membership.  They take gross figures (as usual) and miss out key amounts like the UK rebate and EU fund allocated to UK public bodies.  Vote Leave also talk about the alleged costs of regulations that a House of Lords report says would be implemented even if we were not in the EU.

Brits in Austria Reminded to Register to Vote in Referendum

The UK Embassy in Vienna has published information on how UK citizens who have lived abroad for less than 15 years can register to vote in the referendum .

We all need to remind friends and family living abroad to register to vote.

Theresa May Sharpens Her Knife for Cameron

In an extraordinary stroke of disloyalty to the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary has hinted, or at least did not rule out, that she might have a major role in the campaign to leave Europe (BT).

Meanwhile, arch-Thatcherite Norman Tebbit speculates on party re-alignments stimulated by the referendum and concludes “the greatest days of the [Tory] party I knew may well be behind us.”

Conservative MEPs are failing to support Cameron, reports The Times (£).

Scottish Labour Split on Europ

The Scotsman reports that Labour MSPs will be allowed to campaign for Exit even though the party’s position will be for IN.  Oddly (to my ears, as an Englishman) the article quotes an SNP spokesman describing his party as a “major UK party”.  You can’t vote for the SNP in 597 of 650 UK constituencies and they won only half the votes of the Liberal Democrats and a third of UKIP in 2015.  The SNP are not a major party but an over-represented aberration of the archaic FPTP voting system.

In the same newspaper, Andrew Whitaker predicts that a Leave campaign dominated by UKIP and the Tory right will essentially be a campaign against social justice.

Bookies Expect Public to Back IN

Betfair are giving IN a significant lead and gives a Remain vote better odds than Corbyn not leading Labour at the next General Election or Zac Goldsmith for London Mayor.

Carl Bildt: Europe is in danger, but more needed than ever

The former Swedish Prime Minister, writing in the Australian:

“The idea that the EU, with its open societies and firm rule of law, would inspire those values in surrounding countries has been turned on its head, with the disorder of Europe’s near abroad projecting tensions and instability into the union.”

Precedent for Cameron? Italian PM To Quit If Referendum Lost

Reuters reports that Matteo Renzi will resign as Prime Minister of Italy if a 2016 referendum on constitutional reform is lost.  Renzi’s proposed changes include reduction in the size and power of the Upper House, with mayors and councillors taking new seats in the Senate, and adoption of a new two-stage electoral system.

* 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 Europe / International, Europe Referendum, News and Scotland.


  • Rob Parsons 31st Dec '15 - 9:49am

    Very helpful indeed; looking forward to more of these.

  • Simon Banks 1st Jan '16 - 3:46pm

    He’ll debate Phil Hogan?

    Those for Phil Hogan…those against Phil Hogan…

    He’ll debate with Phil Hogan.

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