The deal made by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, following the negotiations with other EU leaders has been met with a mixed reaction by senior Tories and the media. The package was announced yesterday and will now be discussed at an EU summit to be held on 18 to 19 February 2016.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is expected to support the Prime Minister and she said that there “is a basis for a deal”. The Cabinet are currently bound by collective responsibility but it is thought the substantial majority will back the Prime Minister, with only Iain Duncan Smith, Theresa Villiers, John Whittingdale, Chris Grayling and Priti Patel likely to support the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
David Cameron, speaking in Chippenham (text of full speech), said:
“Sometimes people say to me, if you weren’t in the EU would you opt to join the EU? And today I can give a very clear answer: if I could get these terms for British membership I sure would opt in to be a member of the EU because they are good terms and they are different to what other countries have”.
The media response was also mixed with The Daily Mirror being generally supportive of staying in, but The Sun criticised the deal. The Daily Express said:
“The only good thing that can be said for his efforts is that they clear the way for a referendum this summer. We say bring it on”.
The Financial Times said:
“For all the criticism, Mr Cameron looks set to secure a reasonable deal for Britain. In each of the areas where he has sought reform, the prime minister has made tangible progress”.
The Telegraph editorial said:
“The Prime Minister has skilfully manoeuvred this debate onto territory of his own choosing; but this is by no means the end of the story. Most voters are yet to focus on the referendum and much can happen in the next four months. In Chippenham, Mr Cameron demonstrated what a formidable opponent he will be for the Outers, investing his personal authority in leading the Remain campaign. The UK, he said, can have the best of both worlds – staying in the EU but outside the eurozone, still with its own borders and with no intention of participating in ‘ever closer union'”.