— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) December 19, 2015
Cameron says he’s “on the way to a deal”
It has been known for sometime that Dave/George want to get the referendum out of the way as soon as possible and overnight the news from the Brussels talks is that the favoured timing could be June or July.
The last thing ministers want is for this to drag on and the longer the wait for the referendum the greater the risk of unforeseen events intervening.
This week saw the Referendum bill completing its passage through parliament so there are no legal obstacles left.
According to the Indy report linked to above it us going to be hard getting agreement that allows Britain not to pay welfare benefits to EU citizens who have been in the country for less than four years but work is going on over a possible deal breaker. It goes on:
“.. The European Commission is understood to be working on a compromise plan that could allow the UK to impose an â€œemergency breakâ€ on paying in-work benefits to EU migrants if pressure on welfare payment and public services rose exponentially. This will not be enough to assuage Mr Cameronâ€™s critics who are certain to claim he has backed down on a key manifesto commitment…”
If that is indeed what Cameron ends up with you can see it being a main driver of the referendum campaign debate. The PM, no doubt would claim this to be a victory in that it was an acceptance by other EU states that the UK has a problem here.
Meanwhile new Referendum online polling published overnight sees a move to REMAIN from ORB which last month had LEAVE with a 4% lead. Now REMAIN is 4% ahead.