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In England, Cameron promises a referendum on the EU…

By JANE MERRICK [The Independent] – David Cameron’s pledge to give Britain a referendum on Europe has given him a five-point “Brussels bounce” in a poll for The Independent on Sunday today.

The Conservatives have narrowed Labour’s lead to six points, down from an 11-point gap last month, in the first comprehensive survey of public opinion since the Prime Minister’s speech on Wednesday.

But the ComRes poll shows the Tories, up five points to 33 per cent, have taken votes directly from Ukip, who are down four points, while Labour has remained on 39 per cent. The poll shows 43 per cent would vote to leave the EU, compared to 31 per cent who want to stay…

A substantial majority – 57 per cent – think that if some EU powers cannot be restored to the UK, Britain should leave. This figure is barely unchanged since November, when 58 per cent said the UK should withdraw from Europe unless there was reform. Some 21 per cent disagree and 21 per cent do not know. However, only a third of people believe Britain should leave the EU regardless, down from 43 per cent in November. Some 43 per cent disagree with this statement today.

Continued at The Independent |

…while Scottish voters will be denied a say.

By TOM PETERKIN [Scotsman] – [Scotland’s deputy first minister] Nicola Sturgeon has warned that the UK’s “collision course” with the European Union is creating “damaging uncertainty” and putting Scottish jobs at risk.

In a speech in Dublin to the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, she said Scotland benefited from being part of Europe, and that the EU had created and safeguarded some 64,000 Scottish jobs in the past ten years.

She argued that if Scotland was an independent member state, it would be much better placed to protect the national interest.

The Deputy First Minister spoke out following David Cameron’s promise of an in-out referendum on Britain’s EU membership some time after 2015 if the Tories win that year’s election…

But her attempt to put the economic case for independence within the EU was dealt a blow when Ireland’s European affairs minister, Lucinda Creighton, said an independent Scotland would have to apply for EU membership, saying there were “legal constraints”.

She said: “If Scotland were to become independent, Scotland would have to apply for membership and that can be a lengthy process, as we see even with the very advanced and well-integrated countries like Iceland, where I’ve just come from.”

Labour MSP James Kelly said: “This is deeply embarrassing for Nicola Sturgeon on her away day to Dublin.”

Patricia Ferguson, Scottish Labour’s constitutional spokeswoman, said:

Nicola Sturgeon is showing incredible hypocrisy by claiming a referendum on Europe is causing uncertainty when she makes Scots wait three years to have their say on staying in the UK.

How can threatening to leave one union – the UK – be good for Scottish investment, as Alex Salmond has repeatedly claimed, but holding a referendum on Europe creates uncertainty? Her lack of self-awareness is astonishing.

The SNP cannot even guarantee if a separate Scotland would be a member of the EU.”

Continued at The Scotsman | The French view (via Adlestrop) | More Chronicle & Notices.

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