Britain-EU guide for dummies as MPs propose exit

The European Union flag fly amongst European Union member countries' national flags in front of the European Parliament. Credit: Getty Images
The European Union flag fly amongst European Union member countries’ national flags in front of the European Parliament.
Credit: Getty Images

What’s happening?

A number of Conservative (Tory) members of Parliament have submitted a bill proposing a referendum on the UK’s EU membership before the end of 2017.

Has Parliament approved the bill?

No. It was defeated by 277 to 130 this week, as almost all Labour and the Liberal Democrat MPs voted against it.

Why is the bill such a big deal, then?

Because 114 Conservative MPs voted against their own party leadership. And, even though it was defeated, the bill has to be debated in Parliament. The debate is bound to show the huge rift among Britain’s elite – and its voters – regarding EU membership. In other words: the bill shows the opposition to the EU in Britain. The government failed to include any mention of an EU referendum in last week’s Queen’s Speech. Now parliamentarians are getting back at the government with their own bill for a referendum.

What happens next?

A parliamentary debate. After that, the government technically doesn’t have to do anything. But, with pressure building in favor of an in-out referendum on Britain’s membership in the EU, Prime Minister now says he supports such a vote.

If the referendum happens, what will Britons vote on?

It will be a straight in-out question: “Do you think that the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union?”

Will the referendum happen?

It seems very likely. The Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives’ coalition partner, want to remain in the EU, but their voice is weakened due to the recent electoral success of the eurosceptic UKIP party.

How are other EU countries reacting?

Germany is likely to sweeten Britain’s EU deal, making it more palatable for Britain to stay.

Will Britons vote to leave the EU?

Probably not. According to the most recent poll, 40% of Britons would vote to remain in the EU – but a sizeable minority of 34% would vote to leave.

Timeline:

1963: Britain tries to join the European Common Market but is vetoed by French President Charles de Gaulle.

1973: Britain joins the European Economic Community.

1975: Referendum on EEC membership: voters decide Britain should stay in.

1984: Britain wins a “rebate”, which means it gets a huge chunk of its annual EU contributions back.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.