Since 2010, polls have indicated that the British public is divided on the question of EU membership. The largest ever poll (of 20,000 people, in March 2014) by Lord Ashcroft showed the public evenly split on the issue, with 41% in favour of withdrawal, 41% in favour of membership and 18% undecided. Interestingly, when asked how they would vote if Britain renegotiated the terms of its membership of the EU, and the government said that British interests had been protected, more than 50% said that they would vote for Britain to stay in. If this poll is accurate, the UK’s future in Europe will ultimately be determined by the perceived success of Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempts to secure major changes to Britain’s relationship with Brussels before the referendum is held.
The referendum must take place by December 2017, although some have speculated that the government plans to hold it as early as June 2016. In the meantime, the arguments for remaining in and leaving the EU have started to gather pace with the launch of both campaigns.
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