LONDON, Oct. 22 (UPI) — A Conservative lawmaker in Britain said it is time to reconsider the country’s relationship with the European Union, despite warnings of economic chaos.
Parliament member David Nuttall has proposed a referendum that would have Britain decide to keep its EU membership intact, renegotiate its terms or quit the organization altogether, EUobserver reported Saturday.
Parliament is expected to take up the matter Monday, despite opposition from Prime Minister David Cameron and a warning from British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who said the issue was worthy of “stimulating debate” but that during an economic crisis, it could only make matters worse — maybe far worse — for Britain.
In an article published in the Daily Telegraph, Hague wrote, “The sudden holding of a referendum on leaving the EU would add to economic uncertainty at a time when businesses need all the certainty and confidence they can get.
“As a Conservative, I want to bring powers back from Europe, as we set out in our election manifesto. But a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, especially at this time of profound economic uncertainty, is not the answer,” he wrote.
“Nothing,” he said, “would do more to help our economic recovery than a resolution of the eurozone’s difficulties, while its disorderly breakup would have a very serious impact on our economy.”
But Nuttall said, “It’s 36 years since we last had a referendum on the European Union and it wasn’t the European Union in those days. It was the European Economic Community. Since then it has changed out of all recognition in terms of its size, its scope and its powers.”