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The referendum debate

On 23 June 2016 the United Kingdom will hold a vote on whether to remain part of the European Union. This follows David Cameron’s efforts to renegotiate Britain’s membership. A timeline of the whole process can be seen here and at the side of this page.

The question will be: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” The responses will be: “Remain a member of the European Union” or “Leave the European Union”.

For a neutral explanation of the facts behind the arguments on both sides, take a look at our topical issues section.

Unlike the other sections of this website, which are neutral and objective, the referendum debate section contains Leave and Remain arguments.  We hope these are balanced and informative too, but inevitably the argument pages do take positions on the debate.

To facilitate discussion, the Eurosceptics’ Handbook is being published in instalments. Comments are welcome.

Leave Argumentsreferendum-timeline

There are several other groups that will also be campaigning for Britain to leave the EU.

They argue that:

Take a look at some other leave arguments here

Remain Arguments

There are also groups campaigning for Britain to remain in the EU.

They argue that:

Take a look at some other remain arguments here


The Campaigns

On 13th April 2016, the Electoral Commission designated the official lead campaigns for both sides:

  • The In Campaign Ltd (Britain Stronger In Europe) is the lead campaigner for the Remain outcome
  • Vote Leave Ltd is the lead campaigner for the Leave outcome

Each lead campaign group is given:

  • A spending limit of £7 million
  • One free distribution of information to voters
  • The use of certain public rooms
  • Referendum campaign broadcasts
  • A grant of up to £600,000 to be used for certain spending including the administration costs associated with setting up and running a referendum campaign and the costs associated with the TV broadcasts and free mailing to voters that they are entitled to as lead campaigners

There are other groups campaigning on both sides of the debate such as:

  • Leave.EU, Grassroots Out, Labour Leave and Conservatives for Britain.
  • Labour In For Britain and Business for New Europe

All the different campaigns are examined here.

Alternatives to EU membership

A key question in the referendum is ‘What might happen to Britain after a vote to leave?’