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East Midlands Chamber News

Conservatives announce draft Bill for EU 'in or out' referendum

Europe imageThe Conservatives are to publish a draft parliamentary Bill for an 'in or out' referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union to be held before the end of 2017.

The move comes amid growing discontent over Britain's membership of the EU, as evidenced by recent local council election results, and is seen as an attempt to show Prime Minister David Cameron is serious about the referendum pledge he made earlier this year.

A recent survey of DNCC members found that two-thirds of respondents were in favour of the UK remaining in Europe but wanted domestic power transferred back to Westminster.

George Cowcher, Chief Executive of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce said: "The uncertainty created by today’s announcement of an ‘in or out’ referendum in 2017 is extremely unhelpful in the current trading climate.

“Recent Chamber research found that more than two-thirds of local businesses felt renegotiating the UK’s relationship with the EU was preferable to complete withdrawal.

“They recognise that as the world’s largest single market, Europe will always be a key trading partner for the UK.

“While there are elements of the UK’s membership of the EU that need addressing – such as the endless tide of new regulation, red tape and financial burden - the Government cannot afford to take its eye off the ball in terms of domestic business growth and economic stability.

“Europe will always be a key part of that and the Prime Minister should consider engaging in negotiations this side of the election, rather than prolonging the uncertainty by making post-election pledges that might never come to fruition.”

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