Bloomberg News

Cable Signals EU Referendum Not Block to 2015 Tory-Lib Dem Deal

February 06, 2013

U.K. Business Secretary Vince Cable signaled that Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan for a referendum on European Union membership wouldn’t be an obstacle to another coalition between their parties in 2015 elections.

The comments show how Cable’s Liberal Democrats are seeking to keep their options open. They initially criticized the Conservative Cameron’s call last month for a vote by the end of 2017 after talks on repatriating some powers from the EU.

“I was one of the people who was out there warning about the dangers of uncertainty,” Cable told Bloomberg Television today. “We’ve actually probably come out in quite a sensible place. As far as a referendum goes, all party leaders accept the principle. The people should be trusted. The differences can be exaggerated. There’s potentially a good way through this.”

On the day of Cameron’s announcement, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said "years and years of uncertainty" would hurt growth.

Cable said he thought Cameron would find allies within the EU for his agenda. “He’s arguing certain things need reforming -- we would agree with that,” he said. “A lot of people in the EU want reform.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net; Francine Lacqua in London at flacqua@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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