The coming UK General Election is the most unpredictable poll in decades but will also be decisive in defining Britain’s future place in Europe. It is now increasingly possible it will lead to the first referendum on British membership of the EU since 1975, with the Prime Minister promising to put a renegotiated settlement up for a vote and an increasingly successful UKIP promising to take Britain out once and for all. All of Europe will be keeping a close eye on this election.
This discussion brought together three authors of recent or upcoming reports on the possibility of “Brexit”. They looked at how we have managed to get to this point. What impact will the election outcome have on Britain’s EU policy? What are the politics of a 2017 referendum? How great a risk do our European partners see and how are they likely to respond?
Roger Liddle is chair of Policy Network and became a life peer in 2010. He was formerly Tony Blair’s special adviser on European policy and subsequently worked for three years in the European commission, first in the trade commissioner’s cabinet and then advising the president of the commission. His latest publication is The Risk of Brexit: Britain and Europe in 2015(2015).
Denis MacShane was a Labour MP serving in Tony Blair’s government as Minister for Europe. He now writes on European policy and politics for US, UK and European media and is a senior advisor at Avisa Partners in Brussels. He is the author of Brexit: How Britain will leave Europe (published February 2015 by IB Tauris).
Mark Leonard is co-founder and Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of a publication on Brexit and how other member states should deal with this eventuality to be published in February 2015.