Nigel Farage has hit out at the Government’s plan to make staying in the EU the ‘Yes’ option in Britain’s forthcoming referendum.
The Ukip leader said reports that the Government would phrase the vote question “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?” suggested he was preparing for the worst.
“It is a simple straightforward, unambiguous question. That much is clear,” Mr Farage said in a statement.
“However that Cameron is opting to give the pro-EU side the positive 'Yes' suggests strongly that his negotiations are so much fudge. He has already decided which way he wants the answer to be given, without a single power repatriated”
The PM has said he will try to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership and then hold an in-out vote after to confirm the new settlement.
The government has fast-tracked its EU referendum bill through parliament this year which will give David Cameron the option of holding it this year rather than next year.
He will have to negotiate a number of obstacles to declare success in his negotiations, however.
In pictures: The rise of Ukip
In pictures: The rise of Ukip
1/8 1993: Alan Sked forms Ukip
History professor Alan Sked had been active in anti-EU politics for a while beore he founded Ukip in 1993. He resigned from the party after the 1997 election, concerned that it was attracting far-right members, and has been critical of Ukip since. Picture: Reuters
2/8 2005: Kilroy defects
Former TV presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk founded Veritas in 2005, after a failed bid to become leader, and took many of Ukip's elected members with him. But the party slowly lost its popularity and didn't put forward any candidates in the last election. Picture: REUTERS/Kieran Doherty REUTERS KD/RUS
3/8 2010: Farage becomes leader, again
Farage had led Ukip from 2006 until 2009, when he stood down to fight against the Speaker, John Bercow, for his Buckingham seat. He failed to win the election and returned to lead the party in November 2010. Picture: REUTERS/Kieran Doherty
4/8 2010: Ukip fights for election
Nigel Farage was injured in a plane crash on polling day in the 2010 general election, but his party increased its success in the votes. It fielded 572 candidates and took 3.1% of the vote, though failed to win any seats. REUTERS/Darren Staples
5/8 2013: Eastleigh gains
Ukip's candidate Diane James got the highest ever number of votes for any candidate from the party, but was beaten by the Liberal Democrats. The surge in support gave Ukip confidence ahead of local and European elections later in the year. Picture: Reuters
6/8 2013: Bloom kicked out
Godfrey Bloom, who served as an Ukip MEP from 2004 to 2014, had the whip withdrawn in 2013 after sexist comments and an attack on a journalist. He sat as an independent MEP until 2014, when he ended his term in office. Picture: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
7/8 2014: European election success
Ukip got a higher proportion of the vote than any other party in 2014's European elections, adding 11 new MEPs and taking its total to 24. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
8/8 2014: Carswell defects
Douglas Carswell defected from Ukip at the end of August, and was followed by Mark Reckless at the end of September, who resigned from the Tories amid rumours of many more defections to come. Picture: REUTERS/Toby Melville
David Cameron has said stopping benefit for EU migrants would be a red line in negotiations, but a Downing Street spokesperson has previously admitted that “treaty change is required” for such amendments to take place.
If correct, this could prove a problem in that the French government has explicitly ruled out treaty change and said any attempt to do so would be “doomed to failure”.
“It has to be done without amending the treaties. We will not accept any reconsideration of our basic principles, like freedom of movement,” Harlem Désir, the country’s Europe minister, told the website EurActiv.
Since Mr Désir’s statement France and Germany are reported to have agreed a new plan for closer eurozone political union in such a way as to avoid reopening treaty negotiations.
The foreign secretary Philip Hammond warned earlier today that Britain would vote to leave the EU unless European leaders agreed to the “substantial package of reform” demanded by the prime minister.Reuse content