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The EU Referendum

The EU Referendum – a cabinet and kingdom divided?

February 22nd, 2016 - Posted by Doireann Clabby in Political Media Tracker

With the referendum date now set for 23 June, the UK has four months to decide whether or not to remain a member of the European Union (EU). With the In/Out debate set to dominate our headlines we will be following the EU Referendum closely with a series of blogs analysing media coverage.

What happened at the EU Summit?

David Cameron has promised to campaign to keep Britain inside a reformed EU in an in/out referendum. A series of talks in Brussels over two days led to an agreement for the UK shortly after 9pm on Friday 19 February. The main changes agreed were:

  • Child benefit - payments to migrant workers recalculated to reflect the cost of living in home countries
  • Migrant welfare payments –migrants must earn for 4 years before claiming in-work benefits. 
  • Eurozone - Britain can keep the pound while being in Europe, and its business trade with the bloc.
  • Safeguarding Britain's large financial services industry to prevent eurozone regulations being imposed on it
  • Sovereignty - as an independent nation, we would be self-governing in matters such as taxes, immigration, law. As a member of the EU, we would not other than collectively.
  • Make it easier for governments to band together to block unwanted legislation.
  • Competitiveness - all EU institutions and member states to "make all efforts to fully implement and strengthen the internal market".
  • Some limits on free movement – measurements to tackle "sham" marriages and exclude people believed to be a security risk.

How will Britain vote in the referendum?

These agreements may help to influence voters who are currently divided or indifferent. 

LexisNexis Newsdesk analysis of print, online and social media shows the spike in coverage over time of the EU Summit and its related key issues.

Analysis of social media reveals the Stay/Leave debate is mainly focusing on a Brexit.

In the days since David Cameron's deal at the EU Summit other politicians have been making their voices heard. Perhaps most notably London mayor, Boris Johnson has come out in favour of a Brexit, a position that will no doubt damage Cameron's In campaign and help sway public opinion. 

There is currently no evidence of a significant shift in opinion one way or the other, but this may well change in the run up to 23 June.

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