EU: Britain could be given 'second-class' membership of bloc
Conservative Eurosceptics have given a cautious welcome to a suggestion by senior European Union politicians that Britain could be given a “second-class” membership of the bloc.
Under the proposal, the United Kingdom would be designated an associate member of the EU, remaining in the single market. But it would surrender its ability to influence the trading zone, losing Britain’s Commissioner in Brussels, its Euro-MPs and its veto rights in the European Council.
The plan has been put forward by the Union of European Federalists, a group of organisations campaigning for closer ties within the EU.
The former Cabinet minister John Redwood described the proposal as “great news”. He said: “It shows that the UK can negotiate a new relationship with them. It shows that many on the continent now recognise that the UK cannot join their Euro union and needs a looser relationship with them based on trade.”
Dozens of Tory MPs – as well as the London Mayor Boris Johnson – have backed the vision of a dramatically slimmed down EU returning to its roots as a trading bloc.
David Cameron is set out his proposals to renegotiate Britain’s position within the EU in a speech this month. He has made clear he does not favour withdrawal from the EU, but wants some powers currently in Brussels to be repatriated.
Tonight Downing Street distanced itself from the proposal. But a source added: “The Prime Minister thinks that with the changes that are going on in the EU at the moment, there is a potential for a fresh settlement, taking back powers but keeping the best elements of the single market.”
Andrew Duff, a Liberal Democrat MP, who heads the Union of European Federalists, told Radio 4’s PM programme: “We're now at a point where there ought also to be the option of various formal tiers of membership.”
It will publish its proposals for restructuring the EU within months.
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...