Britain: a head of steam builds against the EU

100,000 people have signed a petition calling for a Europe Referendum, as 80 MPs form new Eurosceptic group.

Cornish Conservative George Eustice and Essex Conservative Priti Patel, together with some eighty other MPs have formed a new parliamentary group which plans to "press the Government for significant changes in Britain’s role in Europe" according to the Telephraph. Eustice told the paper "the aim of this new group is to promote debate about creating a new relationship with the EU and reversing the process of EU integration." He is not one of those who supports a referendum on the European issue. Many think that such a plebiscite would be a distraction, and difficult to hold until the terms for withdrawal or renegotiation were known. 

The new parliamentary group - currently consisting of Conservatives, but which could eventually expand to take in Labour eurosceptics and possibly some Liberal Democrats - will press the government to take advantage of present eurozone disarray. 

Powers previously granted to Europe should be returned to Britain. The meddling has to cease. William Hague, the Foreign Secretary has said "We would like to see powers returned from the EU to the United Kingdom." According to AFP, Hague added "Britain might even do better if it distanced itself from Europe ... In fact we may get ahead as a result of being outside."

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that Tory and Labour MPs are among 100,000 signatories of a new petition calling for a referendum on EU membership. A target of this number was required to trigger a Commons debate on the subject.

The topic is hotting up, but when will it reach boiling point?

September 19 Update:

Mark Pritchard, the secretary of the 1922 committee of Conservative MPs, has written in The Telegraph that the EU is "an occupying force" eroding UK sovereignty. He says the "unquestioning support" of Conservative backbenchers towards the leadership is no longer guaranteed. 

Pritchard has urged David Cameron to call a Referendum.

September 25 Update

John Redwood, Co-Chairmain of the Conservative Party's Policy Review Group on European Competitiveness, wrote a letter to The Economist that if Britain had a more independent relationship with the EU, the UK would still be free to trade. "Our trade is now governed by global rules". If the EU tried to "impose protectionist measures on its trade with us ... it would have to face the world authorities."

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