In October, in front of the British Houses of Parliament, a group of protesters demanded a referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU.
They were led by members of UKIP, a political party which wants to see Britain independent from Europe. However within the Commons, they were joined by 81 of David Cameron’s own Conservative MPs, the largest rebellion against a Tory Prime Minister on this issue.
At the time, he said he understood that feelings ran high on this issue:
“There is, on my part, no bad blood, no rancour, no bitterness,” he said. “These are valued Conservative colleagues. I understand why people feel strongly and we will go forward together and tackle the difficult decisions that the country faces. But you have to do the right thing and give a lead in politics and that’s what yesterday was about.”
However the pressure from some of these radically anti-EU members weighed heavily on the shoulders of the British premier. On December 7 at a tough Commons session before leaving for Brussels, Cameron pledged to defend British interests at the summit, and facing much Eurosceptic public opinion, he vowed to be the protecter of British national sovereignty.
“I will be doing my best for Britain, and I hope that, if we get a good deal, that would be good for Britain, but if I can’t get what I want, I will have no hesitation in vetoing a treaty at 27, because I’m not going to go to Brussels and not stand up for our country. That is what a prime minister should do and that is what I will do,” Cameron said.
With his veto, the British premier has also satisfied Eurosceptics in the City, whose interests have been preserved, according to David Jones, a Market Strategist at IG Index:
“If something like that financial transaction tax was put into place it needs to be global and you can’t really see, for example, the US and the Asian market signing up to that, so actually I think it’s the right thing for the UK economy that’s been done,” he said.
The financial aspect may have been such a sticking point for the British prime minister, because the City alone accounts for 10% of the UK’s national GDP.