Thatcher Chancellor Says Cameron Will Only Achieve ‘Trivial’ EU Reform

Britain's PM Cameron addresses a news conference during a EU leaders summit in Brussels
Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Prime Minister David Cameron will not achieve anything of significance in his planned renegotiation of Britain’s ties with the European Union, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson said.

Cameron, whose Conservatives won a surprise majority at an election last month, has begun talks with other European leaders in his bid to reform Britain’s relationship with the bloc ahead of a membership referendum by the end of 2017.

“It is likely that the changes David Cameron secures will be inconsequential, of no significance at all. He will present them as a major change,” Lawson, Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1983-89 under Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, told the BBC.

“He is looking for more than that but what he will secure will be trivial … they are not going to give him anything significant,” said Lawson, who has previously said Britain should leave the bloc.

Cameron has said he would prefer to stay in a reformed EU but will rule nothing out if he cannot get the changes he wants. Lawson said he expected Britain would vote to remain within the bloc but would later lament doing so.

“I think they will come to regret staying in because they will discover that there hasn’t been any fundamental change,” he said.