George Osborne raises prospect of Britain quitting the EU
GEORGE Osborne has raised the prospect that Britain could pull out of the European Union unless changes are made in Brussels.
In an interview with the Germany newspaper Die Welt, the Chancellor said that he very much wanted the United Kingdom to continue as an EU member state.
However, he made it clear that in order for that to happen, there would have to be meaningful reforms of the current arrangements.
“I very much hope that Britain remains a member of the EU,” he said.
But, he added, “in order that we can remain in the European Union, the EU must change”.
A Treasury aide insisted that Mr Osborne’s comments were fully consistent with the Westminster government’s position – that the EU needs to change “and indeed is changing”.
However, the fact such a senior member of the Cabinet is prepared publicly to discuss the possibility that Britain may be unable to stay in the European Union is likely to be welcomed by eurosceptics on the Conservative backbenches who have been pressing for an in-out referendum on Britain’s membership.