What Lib Dem members think about an in/out referendum & the future of the UK in Europe

by Stephen Tall on January 13, 2013

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 550 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

By 2:1 majority, Lib Dems reject new EU referendum

EU flag - Some rights reserved by European ParliamentDo you think the Government should or should not call a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union?

    32% – Should

    63% – Should not

    5% – Don’t know

And 92% would vote to remain if there were an in/out referendum

If there were a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, how would you vote?

    92% – I would vote to remain a member of the European Union

    5% – I would vote to leave the European Union

    0% – I would not vote

    3% – Don’t know

Almost half Lib Dem members back greater UK integration in EU

Thinking about Britain’s relationship with Europe, which would you most like to see?

    49% – Britain remaining in the European Union, integrating more closely with our European neighbours

    34% – Britain remaining in the European Union as it is

    12% – Britain remaining in the European Union, but with a repatriation of powers that means membership is on the basis of a free trade agreement and no more

    2% – Britain leaving the European Union completely

    4% – None of these

Here’s a selection of your comments:

Why is everything about “in”, “further in”, “out” or “further out”. The EU needs a massive amount of reform of policies – whether this is “further in” or “further out” for the UK is irrelevant to all but Daily Express journalists.

We should leave the EU but set up trading arrangements like Norway and Switzerland. Don’t forget how prosperous Hong Kong was, as a little trading outpost on the edge of a huge monolithic bloc called China!

Status quo is always easiest. IF we are to re-negotiate, let’s be clear that the dialogue will in some areas involve further integration and in other areas some repatriation.

Britain remaining in the European Union, working to create a more liberal and cost-effective EU where the principle of subsidiarity is adhered to closely.

Perhaps we don’t need more integration, but we do need to engage with the EU more effectively!

Britain does well out of its membership of the EU and the EU does well despite the many challenges it faces. When will we finally hear about the advantages of membership?

The EU is a source of so much business and academic goodness, UK society would crumble without it! As an academic who has worked on EU projects, it really is vital.

The press has spent so long putting it down that people do not understand the benefits. It there was a referendum, it would need legislation to ensure that all of the facts were given to everyone.

The euro was a big mistake, and so was the extradition treaty. But it makes no sense to be mindlessly anti-EU.

I’d like to see closer co-operation on some things (defence, foreign policy, the environment) and a lighter touch from the EU on most economic and contractual matters including health/safety and procurement. A Liberal approach should be based on the wish to bring power down to the lowest level possible, but to establish democratic structures to deal with things that can’t be handled locally.

If people vote for a real US of Europe (similar to USA) that is fine but so far nobody has bothered to ask the people and ‘the project’ proceeds by stealth.

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Over 500 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 7th and 11th December.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past offered accurate guides to what party members think.
  • For further information on the reliability/credibility of our surveys, please refer to FAQs: Are the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members accurate? and polling expert Anthony Wells’ verdict, On that poll of Lib Dem members.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll
  • * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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