Pro-EU campaign boss backs June referendum

David Cameron has hinted at holding an EU referendum on June 23. Picture: TSPL
David Cameron has hinted at holding an EU referendum on June 23. Picture: TSPL
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The leadership of the pro-EU Scotland Stronger in Europe group has said an in/out referendum in June would be enough time for it to mount a case to remain in Europe as it launched its campaign in Edinburgh today.

David Cameron has hinted he wants to hold his EU referendum on 23 June, despite objections from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who has it would conflict with the devolved elections on 5 May.

However, John Edward, Scotland Stronger in Europe’s senior campaign spokesman, said that staging a EU referendum on 23 June would be “enough for us to campaign” to stay in Europe.

Mr Edward also said any renegotiated terms of EU membership for the UK achieved by Mr Cameron was “neither here nor there” to the campaign and stated that the key issue was that of “remain or leave”.

His remarks came as the campaign was formally launched today with a leadership team that includes Scotland’s former chief medical officer Professor Harry Burns, the chief executive of Virgin Money Jayne-Anne Gadhia and Community trade union assistant general secretary John Park.

Virgin money boss Ms Gadhia, whose firm has its HQ in Edinburgh, said uncertainty over the UK’s EU membership was damaging overseas investment in Scotland and called for the referendum to be held “sooner rather than later.”

Meanwhile, former chief medical officer Prof Burns said public health in Scotland was “better served” by staying in the EU due to regulations about areas such as water quality.

The campaign’s advisory group also includes senior academics, Professor Petra Wend, principal and vice-chancellor of Queen Margaret University and Dame Anne Glover vice-principal external affairs and dean for Europe at the University of Aberdeen.

The Scotland Stronger In Europe advisory group is chaired by Mona Siddiqui, a professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at the University of Edinburgh.