Voter Backing for EU Referendum Bill

May 14, 2013, 8:10 AM UTC

A majority of UK voters support plans to enshrine a referendum on Britain’s EU membership in law - and almost half think Cameron could get other parties to agree to a referendum before 2015 if he really wanted to

It was announced this morning that the Conservatives will publish a draft parliamentary bill to turn David Cameron’s promise of a referendum on Britain’s EU membership by the end of 2017 into law, after a number of senior Conservative MPs criticised Mr Cameron’s position on Europe.

A YouGov survey reveals that a majority (54%) of voters support the referendum on EU membership being enshrined in law. However most of those in support of legislation (44%) want a referendum before the next general election and just 10% agree with the Conservative's bill for a law to mandate one after it. That is compared to only 8% who support the current plan of merely promising a referendum after 2015 and 20% who oppose a referendum outright.

In addition to supporting the idea of legislating for the referendum, many think Mr Cameron could actually get it: more (48%) believe that “if he really wanted one, David Cameron would be able to get other parties to agree to a referendum” than who say (31%) that “whatever David Cameron wants, the other parties would not agree to holding a referendum before the next election”.

The question of whether or not the referendum would require a majority to call the result has yet to be decided, but the latest research from 13th May shows that if a referendum was held now those in favour of exiting the EU fall short of a majority (44%) and those opposed to an exit number 34%. 

However high the current 'out' voting intention appears, it could simply be returning to normal levels after January 2013 when Mr Cameron initially pledged the referendum and provoked discussions and arguments for voting 'in'.

See the full EU results

See the full referendum tracker