– ‘Let battle be joined’ –
Cameron announced his intention to hold a referendum three years ago, under pressure from Conservative eurosceptics and the rise of UKIP.
He said he would only campaign to stay in if he could secure reforms to address key concerns about EU migration, loss of sovereignty, economic competitiveness and the protection of non-eurozone Britain’s financial sector.
Declaring success in his negotiations on Friday, with what German Chancellor Angela Merkel was a “fair compromise”, Cameron said he would campaign “with all my heart and soul” to stay.
But critics say the deal, which contained restrictions on welfare payments for EU migrants and an opt-out for Britain from the EU’s goal towards ever closer union, falls far short of what was originally promised.
“Call that a Deal, Dave?” headlined the mass-market Daily Mail, while The Daily Telegraph said Cameron had made “puny gains” and The Times called it “Thin Gruel”.