Britain to hold EU referendum on 23rd June
The United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, also known as the EU referendum, is scheduled to take place in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar on 23 June 2016.
Membership of the European Union has been a controversial issue in the United Kingdom since the country joined the then European Economic Community in 1973.
The European Union Referendum Act 2015 which provides for the referendum was passed by the British Parliament. The Act follows a Conservative Party manifesto commitment to hold such a referendum.
In May 2013, the Conservative Party published a draft EU Referendum Bill and outlined their plans for renegotiation and then an In-Out vote if returned to office in 2015. The draft Bill stated that the referendum must be held no later than 31 December 2017
It will be only the third plebiscite to be held throughout the United Kingdom, and the second time the British electorate has been asked to vote on the issue of European Union membership: the first was in 1975, when it was then known as the EEC, when membership was approved by 67% of voters, although the nature of the EU has changed dramatically since then and the result of this referendum is expected to be much closer. The referendum will also be held in and affect the status of Gibraltar, a UK overseas territory.
Those in favour of a British withdrawal from the European Union – sometimes referred to as British exit or Brexit– argue that being a member of the EU undermines Parliamentary sovereignty, while those in favour of membership argue that in a world with many levels of supranational organisations any theoretical loss of sovereignty is more than compensated by the benefits of membership of the EU.
It is argued by those that support Brexit (most British Eurosceptics) that restoration of sovereignty would allow the UK to be better able to control immigration, be in a better position to conduct its own trade negotiations, and be free from what they believe to be unnecessary EU regulations and bureaucracy.
Those in favour of remaining in the EU argue that leaving the EU would risk the UK’s prosperity, diminish its influence over world affairs, and result in trade barriers between the UK and the EU.
Before the 2015 general election, the Conservatives pledged in their manifesto to legislate for an EU Referendum to be held by the end of 2017.
Following the surprise election of a Conservative majority government on 7 May, Cameron reiterated that pledge, suggesting it might be brought forward to 2016.
The UK Government included the planned referendum in The Queen’s Speech on 27 May and introduced the European Union Referendum Bill 2015–16 in the House of Commons on the next day.