European elections 2014: Looming disaster rattles Tories

David Cameron's MPs demand action over an EU vote

David Cameron faces a fresh rebellion from his own MPs in the wake of today's European election results, which are expected to confirm Ukip's dramatic political breakthrough.

The Prime Minister is under pressure from ministers and backbenchers to threaten to vote for withdrawal from the EU if significant treaty changes are not secured before a 2017 referendum on the UK's membership of the bloc.

Tim Loughton, the co-chairman of the moderately Eurosceptic Fresh Start Project of about 100 Conservative MPs, said Mr Cameron would be treated seriously by the electorate and EU leaders only if he warned that he could lead an "out" campaign.

George Osborne appealed to voters after Ukip’s recent electoral success George Osborne appealed to voters after Ukip’s recent electoral success The Prime Minister and senior Tories launched a fightback operation this weekend after Ukip snatched more than 160 council seats in Thursday's local elections. Nigel Farage's party is expected to come first in the European elections when the results are announced later today. In a speech to activists yesterday, George Osborne said he respected Mr Farage and his party's voters and admitted "there are too many people who share our values but did not feel able to vote for us on Thursday night".

In a speech to the ConservativeHome conference in London, the Chancellor added: "The modern Conservative Party will never dismiss or belittle the views of the people we aspire to represent.

"We should show the highest respect for those who go out and cast their vote – and respect too those who cast their vote for another party. That includes those who voted for Ukip on Thursday. We're going to do what I believe the public wants us to do – listen, respond and deliver.

"Listen to the legitimate concerns people have about our economy, about immigration and welfare, about our schools and about Europe. Respond to the anger justifiably felt with answers. And then deliver with an economic plan that provides the security that families crave."

Urging Tories to work "harder than this party has worked for a generation", Mr Osborne added: "The EU was supposed to make our country more prosperous, but the taxes and burdens it imposes risks pricing our continent out of the world economy. So I understand why the public are sceptical of politicians bearing new promises.

"It is our task over the next year to convince them that we will deliver, that the decisive in-out referendum on Britain's membership of the EU will happen. David Cameron could not have been clearer. The Conservatives will not form a government – he will not be the Prime Minister, unless that referendum is assured."

Tory MPs including Tim Loughton want action over EU membership and reforms Tory MPs including Tim Loughton want action over EU membership and reforms But speaking to The Independent on Sunday, Mr Loughton said of Mr Cameron: "By just saying he would want to stay in the EU whatever plays to Euroscepticism. If he says he can envisage a situation where he reluctantly says Britain would have to go it alone then that adds credibility [to negotiations for some powers to be repatriated to the UK].

"I would like Cameron to say: 'We're serious about these reforms, and if there aren't significant reforms then I too would consider, even though it is not my preferred position, I would be prepared to vote no. If significant reform doesn't happen, we gave it a shot, but we'll go it alone.' That strengthens your hand. It's then not just a pipe dream that you would pull out without significant reform."

Mr Loughton's words carry weight as Fresh Start is considered relatively moderate with some pro-European members. The group has been working loosely with senior party figures, such as Foreign Secretary William Hague, over what parts of the UK's relationship with Europe should be renegotiated while also researching how the country economically benefits from being part of the EU.

Many within Fresh Start would like to see the common agricultural policy overhauled. They also want to ensure that non-eurozone countries retain their voting rights so that a two-tier EU does not emerge.

Next month's Queen's Speech could set the scene for a fresh rebellion on Europe after the Government conceded that it would let MPs table four amendments to bills, one more than the current number. This would mean rebels have an opportunity to stage a repeat of their rebellion last year which forced Mr Cameron into legislating for a 2017 referendum. The concession means the parliamentary time between now and the general election could be dominated by Tory MPs debating the issue of Europe.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn