British Prime Minister David Cameron sought to quell fresh signs of rebellion in his Conservative Party over Europe, warning ministers they will have to back his European Union strategy or leave his government.
Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting in Germany of the Group of Seven Industrial nations (G7), Cameron, who has pledged to renegotiate Britain’s EU ties before offering a membership referendum, signalled he would not tolerate dissent.
“If you want to be part of the government, you have to take the view that we are engaged in an exercise of renegotiation to have a referendum, and that will lead to a successful outcome,” he told reporters, when asked whether he would allow ministers to vote according to their conscience
“Everyone in government has signed up to the programme set out in the Conservative manifesto.”
Cameron, who has promised to hold the EU referendum by the end of 2017, says he is confident he can get a deal that will allow him to recommend Britons vote to stay in the 28-nation bloc, a club they have belonged to since 1973.
He is vulnerable however, commanding a mere 12-seat majority in the 650-seat House of Commons. A fully-fledged rebellion over Europe among his own lawmakers could derail his wider lawmaking agenda and cast a cloud over his second term in office.
Cameron spoke out after a group of over 50 of his own lawmakers said they were prepared to join a campaign backing a British EU exit, known as a ‘Brexit,’ unless he achieved radical changes in the bloc. It was the first sign of Eurosceptic revolt since he was re-elected last month.
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