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What Is The EU Referendum?

If you're feeling a bit confused about the EU Referendum and you're not really sure what decision to make, read on for a brief overview that will hopefully help you on your way to a decision.

What is a Referendum?

Quite simply, a referendum is a vote on a single political decision which has been put to the public. For example, Scotland had a referendum in 2014 to decide if they wanted to stay in the United Kingdom.

When will it be held?
23rd June 2016

Why are we having one?
Prime Minister David Cameron promised to hold a referendum if he won the 2015 general election, in response to growing calls from his own Conservative MPs and the UK Independence Party (UKIP). He said: "It is time for the British people to have their say”, and he kept his promise.

What is the European Union?
The European Union (EU), is an economic and political partnership between 28 different European countries. The idea was formed after the Second World War on the basis that countries that trade together are less likely to go to war with one another. It is now more like one big market which allows goods and people to move around freely, working as if it is one country.

How are things looking at the moment?
According to the latest opinion polls (find them here:, the British public is currently very evenly split, with no clear decision showing through. This makes the outcome even more uncertain, with the decision swinging one way or the other very quickly.

Who’s for Staying and Who’s for Going?
Campaigning for the UK to leave the EU is The UK independence Party, roughly half of Conservative MP’s, 5 cabinet ministers and several Labour MP’s.
Campaigning for the UK to stay in the EU is Prime Minister David Cameron, who has secured changes to the UK’s EU membership to attempt to gain back more control. The Labour Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Lib Dems are all in support of Mr Cameron, as is President Barack Obama and the EU nations of France and Germany.

Why they want to leave VS Why they want to stay
Those who are backing the UK to leave the EU argue that Britain would be able to take back full control of its borders, therefore controlling immigration. They also feel the European Union is holding back Britain and imposing too many rules on the country.
Those who want to stay argue the opposite, highlighting the benefits of immigration for economic growth and payment of public services. They are also protecting Britain’s world status which they feel would be damaged by leaving. They believe it’s better to be part of a 28 country strong team rather than going it alone.

How do I vote?
If you are a UK citizen and resident over 18 years old, you will be given the opportunity to vote. Voting is much like other elections that are held. Ensure you are registered to vote, and you’ll be sent the relevant information about how to vote nearer to the time.

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