Mr Hague denies a referendum and supports our membership of the EU on current terms

 

We are told that the government has brought the debate on the EU referendum forward to today so the Foreign Secretary can join  the debate. The debate will be led by Mr David Nuttall, the mover of the motion.
            Some have suggested the government switched the date because they want to stop the lobby of Parliament by the Peoples Pledge on the Thursday in favour of a referendum. I feel sorry for all those who had booked their tickets and were ready to come on what they thought would be an important day. However, I am prepared to give the government the benefit of the doubt. The Foreign Secretary does have to be in Australia on Thursday, and  his wish to be called in the backbench debate does show he is taking it seriously.
            I suspect the Conservative leadership wants  Mr Hague to speak as  a respected Eurosceptic. If the Speaker calls him to speak in Mr Nuttall’s debate, as doubtless he will, the Leadership hopes that some undecided backbenchers will be swayed by Mr Hague’s arguments and pedigree on the issue. It is for them  Mr Hague of the burning building speech to the rescue, the man who said the Euro would consume all it devoured in flames.
               Eurosceptic backbenchers are increasingly looking at what Ministers  do, not at what they say or have said. They judge Ministers not on words but on whether they resist powers going to the EU, whether they fight to stop the ever advancing swathes of EU law and regulation, whether they set out an alternative view in their area from that of the Commission. They want the Foreign Secretary to tell them how he is going to reverse the tide of regulation and powers which is still flowing to the EU.

             Some MPs present will  remember that in 1997 when Mr Hague became leader he argued that the UK should keep open  the possibility of joining the Euro. He came later to the view that the Euro was a bad idea. Today he argues that the Euro is a good idea for other countries, and wishes to help them make it a success by allowing them many more central powers. It is  apparently a burning building which only burns the UK.
           The government is likely to  rely on three main arguments, I suspect.
           The first is that we need to stay in the EU in order to trade with Europe. This is a silly argument. The USA, Norway, China all trade successfully with the EU without being a member. International trade is now guaranteed under international trade rules from the WTO. Germany will still want to sell us BMWs, whatever we say about our future relationship with the EU. They sell us more than we sell them. Our trade is not in jeopardy, whatever the British people decide.
           The second is  we need to stay in to have an influence over the rules for that trade. Well the US, China and Norway do not sit round the table and influence the rules. They can trade under WTO rules. Some of the rules the EU dreams up apply to us and not to them, and do us economic damage. The demand for a renegotiation anyway would not stop  us influencing  discussions around the table, if the British people vote to stay in. It means if successful we could have more influence.
          The third is the doctrine of the unripe time. Ministers  – and their  friend and ally in this, Mr Miliband the Labour leader- will say that as the Euro zone is in crisis, it would not be fair for the UK to raise the issue of our relationship now. Why not leave renegotiating and seeking powers back until a convenient date like 2015, after the next General Election?

           There are two great reasons for renegotiating now. The first is the EU needs our consent to Treaty changes to legalise what they are doing and to allow them further powers for Euroland. The second is, once the new Euroland has its strengthened powers within the EU the UK will by definition be in weaker position. A relationship which the government and Opposition  thinks works well at the moment would not work so well when Euroland meets more often and forms a clear and strong inner wheel to the EU.
            If the British people wish to stay in this new EU they will need and want a much looser relationship. My suggestion is a simple one. In return for letting them go ahead with full scale union we will need to have the right to opt out of measures we do not like. This must apply to past measures as well as to future ones. We would offer them the chance to repeal the measure for all EU members, or amend it to mutual satisfaction. If they do not wish to do so we must have the right to repeal it in the UK.
            That would be a single simple technical  change to the Treaty to balance their Treaty change to allow them to bail out Euro members with Euro and EU cash.
              I think  MPs today should  thank the government  kindly for its views, but  vote for the motion. It is strange to see the Lib Dems in the Coalition impose a three line whip to vote down a referendum, when it was their policy to demand an In/out referendum on Europe. It is even stranger to see Mr Miliband use the might of a three line whip to ensure the government he opposes succeeds in defeating its own backbenchers. Of course we all want Euroland to sort out its debt, deficit and currency problems. We are also very keen to ensure that the UK avoids the bills and as much of the damage as possible, as a reward for keeping out of this dangerous scheme. Minimising the damage to us requires strong minded negotiation.


 

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

105 Comments

  1. davidb
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    There really needs to be a popular vote to bury this argument for once and for all. I am a politicianskeptic rather than a euroskeptic, but the issue is a festering sore in the UK. We should have a vote and then all accept the outcome and get on with making the best hash of it we can. Either wholeheartedly in or wholeheartedly out.

    It does seem strange how this issue pans out in other member states too. In many countries there seem to be significant groups of people opposing the EU, and yet in those states there seems to be unity amongst politicians of likely governing parties to accept more of the same. I am suspicious of the way so many ex primeministers and the like end up in highly paid jobs. Perhaps there would be more of an alignment of popular views to those of the elite if it were not so suspiciously strange that the people who do best personally appear to be career politicians. It begs the question who they think they work for.

    Will the Labour party be able to argue that they are all for a referendum in the future if they vote against one today?

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      A vote of itself will not bury the issue because it does not change opinion. There first needs to be a debate of sufficient scope, detail and engagement such that when votes are cast they are on the basis of, at least, a basic understanding of the facts and the issues. There is then at least the prospect of the vote being won on the merits of the arguments rather than the most effective spin.

      • Tim
        Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Everyone I know is opposed to the EU, yet our politicians remain convinced that if they say something like,” its not the right time”, oh that’s ok then. NO IT IS NOT. The public are sick and fed up with more of the same. There has been no real change on public spending, immigration, the EU (more regualtion and budget up 72% to £13.5 billions), free international health service, education, taxes up, the Human Rights Act (aka The Criminals charter!), crumbling roads and transport system whilst we give away £11.5 billions in foreign aid to nucleur powers with huge armies, whilst we allegedly have to share our aircraft carriers with the French! Enough is enough. What is the point of Westminster if most of our laws are made in the monstrous no benefit to the UK, EU and the main parties whipp the socialist consensus against mainstream public opinion. The total arrogance and lack of democracy is extreme. Time for a change.

  2. Mick Anderson
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    John, you are preaching to the choir.

    Unfortunately, 100,000 members of the public are not as important as the combination of Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband. The deputy PM is merely following orders, so even he doesn’t count.

    I would like a referendum to guide the Country out of the EU, but if the Country as a whole decides otherwise I would grudgingly accept it. What we have is a two people out of >65 million deciding. Even when we are awarded a debate, they nobble it before it starts, with no concept of democracy.

    Any referendum would not be for a couple of years, and if the EU finances are not resolved by then, surely even Mr Cameron would admit defeat on his Euro dream (fantasy).

    Unsuprisingly, I am still waiting for a reply to the e-mail I sent to the Minister associated with this constituency.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      300,000 petition from Express readers alone apparently.

    • Disaffected
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      This is why people need to vote for another party at the next election, why would anyone want to give any of the three main parties another try?????

      Interesting to read that recently Huhne was briefing against his ministerial colleagues and today it is reported that one of Clegg’s SPads has briefed against the PM. What a bunch of back stabbers they all are. Add the Fox scandal in the mix and what change has taken place in Westminster, same old same old. Radical change is required to the whole shabby mess.

  3. norman
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    You’ve left out a third important reason why we should try and stem the flow of powers from us to the EU now rather than after the next general election – there is no guarantee of a Conservative led, let alone a solely Conservative, government in 2015.

    The way things are going it’s not beyond the realms of possibility Labour or the Lib Dem dream ticket of a Lab / Lib coalition (assuming their half dozen or so remaining MPs will make a difference) forming the next administration.

    It comes back to the same old question – does Cameron / the Party leadership want to govern or do they want to preside over things the way they are and tinker a little here and there? By continuing Labour policies in virtually every area (including welfare reform and education, albeit on steroids) this government is doing precious little to reverse the downward trend we are on.

    • Simon 123
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      I don’t think you will have to wait very long. The car crash will happen in 2012 and the EU will then propose a new constitution which will require treaty amendments. This will trigger a referendum in the UK.

      I would use a modified version of the Salmond strategy. Ask for independence (full opt out in the EU context) but settle for more self determination (repatriation of powers and the right to opt out of new EU measures).

      I was disgusted by the Today programme this morning. No serious treatment of the issue. We all know that the BBC is the on-air mouthpiece of Left-Liberal Britain but its charter requires it to pretend to be even-handed. The Conservative MP they fielded was going to follow the three-line-whip and was against a referendum! William Hague was also present and sounded like a university student asked to write an essay contrary to his real views.

      We need to send a message to the EU that the UK public has had enough and that Brussels is playing with fire. At the same time the UK should lead a coalition of those non-Euro EU states who want to fight to preserve their national identity.

      • matthu
        Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        But are you absolutely sure c car crash will trigger a referendum in the UK? Or will the government argue that no additional powers are actually being ceded by the UK and therefore no need for a referendum?

        • RB
          Posted October 24, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          One can only go by experience. We have been given a referendum “lock” as a throwaway scrap to us, the dogs in the corner, following the failure to give a referendum on Lisbon.

          That is supposed to ensure that there is no further ceding of sovreignty without the poeples’ voice being heard. SO how are we doing?

          1.The coalition has signed up for an extension of the European Arrest Warrant, and brought in new powers for foreign police to operate on British soil through the European Investigation Order.

          2.They implemented the Agency Worker Regulations—which gives temporary workers the same rights as permanent ones—which is, by the government’s own estimates, going to cost £1.9 billion. This will almost certainly destroy the agency worker market and is yet another issue related to our economic governance that we have given away.

          3.The PM has boasted of holding the EU’s budget increase down to a mere 2.9%, (when we were told he went into those negotaitions opposed to any increase – a working example of “In Europe and not run by Europe” and our utter inability to influence anything) whilst simultaneously signing over control of both our finances and our financial institutions to the EU, an economically huge issue for the UK.

          4. Recent ECJ judgment means that we must give full benefits to anyne who turns up here, wiping out the effect of any proposed benefit reforms.

          5. DC crowed that he had removed us from the EU mechanism to bailout Eurozone countries from 2013, but at the same time (and which he never mentions) the Commons voted through an increase in our IMF conributions – the IMF now being used as a second bailout fund for the EU. This wipes out ALL of the supposed savings we have made from “Cuts”.

          6. We were told that EU bailouts were illegal and MErkel said it would never be countenanced. The EU then did it anyway.

          7. We were told that there would only be a one off bailout. FUrther bailouts have now been made and we are told that there will be more in the future with a leveraged fund and possible further treaty changes.

          8. The ECB would never buy debt – it has now been doing so with abandon.

          It is without doubt a sovereign power to decide to what extent and how much a country’s population is taxed. The coalition and the former government have given to by design, or been compliant with, unelected EU stooges’ decisions to borrow yet more from the unborn to bail out staggeringly rich bankers and feckless countries.

          And yet all we get is lawyerly language telling us why these are not issues of sovereign power, how now is not the time or place to have a referendum. In short the same old contempt. We are treated like children.

          As has been said, there is now not the space of a cigarette paper betwen the main three parties on Europe. The battle is now between the political elites and the people who they hold in utter contempt.

          So, matthu, you are probably right. Whatever happens, whatever is proposed, we will be told to shut up and pay up.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    First of all, we are all behind you today. Go for it – with all of our full support! And there are lots of us.

    But why are the Conservative government so utterly insensitive? Mr Clegg must take a lot of the blame, and that is a guess. Secondly, I suspect, but have no means of knowing because it is all done in secret, that the French and Germans have diametrically opposed aims. The French are terrified of losing two of their own banks, while Angela Merkel is terrified of not being re elected. Meanwhile, Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne, being decent eggs and all that don’t hit a man when he is down etc etc. and Mr Hague goes politely and cordially along with them. I know this is personal and will probably not get on the blog, but there you are. At this stage, personalities rule over principles.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Don’t blame Clegg, Mike.

      It’s precisely what Mr Cameron wants.

    • forthurst
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      “Meanwhile, Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne, being decent eggs and all that”

      (unflattering personal abuse of Messrs C and O, saying they are not good eggs-ed) The Conservative party is well past its sell by date; when was the last time it ever did anything for the British people? Liberty to decide their own future? No. Freedom of Speech? No. Right to live in their own country without being swamped by foreigners? No. Business friendly polices? No.
      Right to an education system of their choice? No.
      What is the actual point of the Conservative Party? That it is not as bad the Labour Party? Unproven, at best.

      • forthurst
        Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        That someone like JR is not in the government tells you all you need to know about how conservative this ‘Conservative’ government is.

  5. Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Can a mouse negotiate with a cat? We have no influence in the EU.Should we have joined the Soviet Union in order to influence it? There is no logic in your argument Mr Redwood.How about going to an orgy to convice people there of the benefits of celibacy?What did Einstein say about the definition of insanity?Go figure.

    Reply Do stop criticising those of us who are trying to move the position on. I have repeatedly said the government should see what it cvan negotiate and then put it to the people to decide if they want to stay in on those terms. What is wrong with that? If you want to come out without negotaition you would still have to sit down and negotiate what replaced all the complex cross broder agreements in place at the moment.

    • Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Stop pretending to the British electorate that EU ideologues can be reasoned with.Tory pragmatism in the face of such hidebound ideological fanaticism is futile.My witness is the last 40 years of UK EU membership and the screwing we have had from Brussels.What and where is yours?

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        Niconoclast – We have a political and judicial class which is both Left wing and federalist. The people go around dismayed from being continually shafted and undermined and not understanding that the damage being done to them is by their own ruling elite. The EU is being used as a cover to bring in socialism.

        There are obvious exceptions to this and Mr Redwood is one of them. The problem is that a straight In/Out campaign would be defeated by a powerful and well funded publicity machine coordinated to put the fear of God into people by scare mongering as happened in the ’70s.

        We have to be more subtle than that. A measured withdrawal needs to take place and a continual debunking of the Federalist’s myths (this article is a brilliant start.)

        Unfortunately there is relatively little interest in this issue out there excepting those who read newspapers. The comprehensive education system has succeeded in reducing intellect and attention span and our society has been fragmented into different groups of cultural and political interest – divide and conquer if you will.

        Clearly it is not the people who are the radicals or the ‘fanatics’ here. It is those who would suppress debate and support the use of a Three Line Whip.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      “I have repeatedly said the government should see what it cvan negotiate”

      Oh dear, with the present bunch we would be taken to the cleaners!

      And if you go into negotiations with an attitude of “lets see what we can negotiate” it means that you have already indicated that you don’t mind giving up all your demands. Is that your true intention?

      Negotiating with anyone in that manner would damage any chance of success and could easily result in getting nothing at all. Going into negotiation with the EU with that attitude would result in even less than we started with; a bit of deja vu!

      Come on, this vote today should be a step towards an open discussion in the UK to determine what our relationship should be with these continental European countries.

      This is just as important as the result itself.

      This country needs self determination. We used to take it for granted and we haven’t had it for the last thirty years.

      And the longer we leave it the weaker our negotiating position will be.

  6. Ian Wragg
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    A pipe dream dear friend. Cameroon is a latter day Heath and will do all possible to maintain the status quo in Europe. Hague has been compromised and is a busted flush so watch all the meally mouthed excuses for not having a referendum or even a sensible discussion.
    The time never will be ripe and I’m afraid the Tory Party will be finished at the next Euro and general election.
    We are sick of being told how they will influence the debate in Europe when all we are good for is our net contributions.

  7. Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Well done with the deserved arched eyebrows for your opponent of yesterday!

  8. David Price
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    As a constituent I welcome and support the stand you are taking on this matter and in the debate.

    Your last paragraph says it all – I believe we are in the position we are because we have lacked strong minded negotiation and a focussed leadership that puts the UK at least equal if not first. We seem to get little benefit from the relationship but definitely a lot of the cost and no little abuse.

    The relationship needs to change.

  9. Javelin
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    As an IT contractor who has worked in the worlds largest investment banks I have been able to search through the derivative databases as part of my job. Part of my degree also I included statistics so I can say with a high degree of confidence which instruments, countries, sectors and counterparts are exposed to which events. Simply netting databases notional values in a simply SQL group by can tell you alot.

    I obviously cant say which banks or counterparties are exposed and to what. But I will repeat that the European banks need to open their derivative books up to scrutiny. Its my view that the stress tests have not exposed the huge risks in the European banking system. £2 trillion ? I would put the figure at £9 trillion.

    I think Hague and the Government are immensely foolish to continue on this path without finding out the size of the problems in the EU banks.

    • ms m davies
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Javelin, for this insight.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Wow! Wow as to numbers. Double Wow as to insight.

      Robert Preston, where are you now?

      • Robert K
        Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Being Robert Peston, probably

  10. Andrew Shakespeare
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I wonder whether you still feel that UKIP is “a part of the problem”; that, by splitting the Eurosceptic vote, it is obstructing the implementation of Eurosceptic policies in the UK.

    It has seemed to me over the past week that the Conservative party’s supposedly “Eurosceptic” leadership hasn’t the slightest intention of repatriating powers, reforming the EU, halting the EU’s acquisition of powers, examining the balance of EU competences, permitting referendums, or, in fact, doing anything at all beyond yakking about some wish list.

    Between the size of Britain’s trade deficit with Europe, the weakness of the EU, and to LibDems’ abysmal popularity ratings, David Cameron already has the opportunity he claims to be awaiting, and probably better than we’re ever likely to see again. If he won’t take advantage of it at this time, there is absolutely no reason to assume he will take advantage of a future, probably less-advantageous opportunity.

    To put it very bluntly, all their manifesto promises were lies. They lied to their supporters, they have made liars of their activitists, and (while I don’t question your sincerity), they’ve made a liar of you.

    I don’t suppose you will remember this, but before the last election, I wrote a post on your blog questioning the sincerity of David Cameron’s Eurosceptic claims. You replied confirming the Conservative party’s policy to repatriate powers from Europe, adding (somewhat testily), “I thought everybody knew that by now.” That reassurance strongly influenced me to cast my vote for the Conservative party — but I was right, wasn’t I?

    When even Lord Tebbit, of all people, is questioning aloud whether continuing to support the Conservative party remains worth his while, what argument you would make against voting UKIP at present?

    Reply: There will be no UKIP MPs available tonight to vote for a referendum. There will be a continuing chorus of UKIP criticism directed against the Conservative MPs who do vote for a referendum! UKIP proudly trells us we have a Coalition governemnt ratrher than a Conservative government because they fought the last election. So now their preferred parties, Labour and Lib Dems, unite to stop a referendum.

    • Robert
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Do you think that the line taken by Cameron and his boys on this referendum debate is a reason for those who voted UKIP at the last election to vote Conservative at the next election?

    • Yudansha
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      We need a whole new party. Right of centre, experienced, viable.

      I sometimes wonder if the hour has come. To put country before party.

      If democracy is suppressed at this crucial juncture it would be right to pull the plug on the whole thing.

      If we can’t have our country then be damned if anyone else is going to have it.

    • Andrew Shakespeare
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      I don’t doubt that Mr Cameron’s three-line whip (a mockery though it makes of his own petitioning initiative, which was supposed to restore the public’s faith in our political process) would be ample to defeat the motion, with or without the Labour party’s assistance.

      What you are suggesting is that, regardless of how egregiously Mr Cameron has lied to his supporters and betrayed their confidence, we should simply vote for him regardless. That would hardly encourage him to adopt a new attitude of integrity toward us, and given the diligence with which he has striven to snub and marginalise his Eurosceptic MP’s, I have little hope that he will suddenly undergo some Damascene conversion. The reformation of our relationship with the EU will not be accomplished on David Cameron’s watch!

      I hate to say it, but I see no option but to vote against the Conservative party at every opportunity, to damage it and to inflict the maximum hurt possible upon Mr Cameron’s politcial career. Sure, this will put Labour into power — that’s the point. Hopefully, in ten years’ time, Cameron’s replacement will think twice about lying to his Eurosceptics.

      I’m sorry, Mr Redwood. I see no realistic alternative.

      Reply The scorched earth policy is foolish as well as unpleasant.

    • APL
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      JR: “There will be no UKIP MPs available tonight to vote for a referendum. ”

      True, but then there are only a handful of Tories in Parliament. The rest of those on the government benches ……

      “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself …”

    • Jer
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redwood, what you say about UKIP is true.

      The reason _why_ it is true is entirely down to the poor judgement of David Cameron. The fact that he simultaneously alienate the eurosceptics and Sarkozy suggests that he has lost none of his talent for needless own-goals. He had such a great hand here, and he has completely muffed it.

      He is very lucky to be facing such a useless Labour party.

    • Jwoo
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      “Reply: There will be no UKIP MPs available tonight to vote for a referendum. There will be a continuing chorus of UKIP criticism directed against the Conservative MPs who do vote for a referendum! UKIP proudly trells us we have a Coalition governemnt ratrher than a Conservative government because they fought the last election. So now their preferred parties, Labour and Lib Dems, unite to stop a referendum.”

      What a pity, just as I was beginning to think there might be someone in the Con party who could be reasoned with (yourself) and relied upon to act with integrity (that is inline with what they say) and you give a perfect (as they see themselves) politician’s response to a point which actually required just a little honesty.

  11. lifelogic
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    You say:

    The government is likely to rely on three main arguments, I suspect. The first is that we need to stay in the EU in order to trade with Europe. This is a silly argument.

    As indeed are the other two arguments you put. The time now is ripe for obtaining the best deal for the UK the only real obstacle in the way is the LibDems who we are lumbered with by Cameron’s idiotic failure to win against the sitting duck Brown.

    I cannot disagree with anything you say on this issue.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Cameron long ago relinquished the right to be judged on his “cast iron, triple lock words” and his actions so far are nearly all in totally the wrong direction.

      Clearly only if forced to will he ever do the right thing. He can clearly no longer lead the party at the next elections as his words now count for nothing.

  12. Tedgo
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I see an interesting report in the Telegraph, particularly the 2nd paragraph,

    Jerzy Buzek, the president of the European Parliament warned the summit that growing public anger over the EU’s handling of the crisis could endanger plans to change European treaties towards greater fiscal union.

    ”I am concerned, however, that our citizens might not be ready for another round of referendums and ratifications,” he said. “MEPs keep telling me that in their constituencies, many people now see Europe as part of the problem, and not as part of the solution.”

    It seems that EU skepticism is felt across Europe and is not just a British position.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      It is certainly felt across Europe by all sensible Europeans.

  13. Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Much respect earned John, its good to see you actually standing with the People, too bad your party does not believe in doing the same thing.

  14. Alan
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I think Mr Redwood mis-states the first of his reasons for being in the EU. It is not that we would not be able to trade with the EU if we left, it is that our exports to the EU would decrease, and that this would be to the detriment of our economy. Estimating the scale of this decrease, especially in the aftermath of the euro crisis which is likely to decrease EU economic activity anyway, is not straightforward and I suspect no one really knows what the economic result of us leaving the EU would be.

    As for the value of our influence on the EU’s policies, that must be even more difficult to estimate, but you can be fairly sure we will not gain by losing influence.

    But I thought the core of Mr Redwood’s objections to the EU was the loss of control of this country, not for reasons of profit but for reasons of retaining authority over our own way of life. If it is just a matter of profit and loss almost any economist will tell you that it is better to be a member of a large closely integrated economy than to be a small outsider. But if it is a matter of deciding how we want this country run and how much wealth we are prepared to forego in order to remain separate, then the argument is more finely-balanced.

    Personally, I am prepared to give up quite a bit of control if it makes us wealthier, but I can understand and respect the views of those who regard this as intolerable.

    Reply: My main concern is democratic. However, I note that Switzerland is the richest country in Europe per capita and is not a member of the EU

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Let us be clear Hague is no more a Eurosceptic than Cameron or Clegg. The difference is the degree, if any, of Euro enthusiasm. His view is clearly as you say to” support our membership of the EU on current terms”. He talks about future treaty change needing the support of a referendum. This is not the same as repatriating powers which I think he has no intention of doing. If they had their way I doubt if we would ever have a referendum as he and Cameron will find ways of continuing to give away our parliamentary powers calling them something other than treaty change.

  16. alan jutson
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    John

    I wish you and like minded MP’s good fortune in the debate today

    Are you speaking by chance ?

    The simple fact is, Europe wants our money, but not our input or ideas.

    Reported in the telegraph today that Sarky told Cameron, to just shut up, when he tried to make a contribution to yesterdays debate.

    If true, that really does sum up the whole EU set up in a nutshell for me.

  17. A.Sedgwick
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Very good analysis – Hague is a massive disappointment in this Government, I expected Cameron to be a disaster and he is exceeding my expectations but Hague has joined the “you cannot believe a word they say” mob.

    I thought Mr.Ed was politically brighter especially as the Trade Unions are beginning to get twitchy about the EU. A free vote was the best option, the second best was an abstention whip and leave the dance floor to the Conservatives.

  18. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Norway has been called a “fax democracy” in its relation with the EU (no influence but obligation to implement the rules, sent by fax). The UK may want a position of more influence than the EEA or EFTA or even WTO provides and with a renegotiation of its relationship that could well be achieved (an a la carte arrangement as suggested by Mr. Redwood) . The problem here is that the Tories aren’t the government, they’re bound in a coalition. So it may all have to wait for new elections anyway. An honest debate during the coming years might help to bridge the gap between Conservatives and LibDem, because the Conservatives simply don’t have the numbers yet.

    • forthurst
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      On a simple point of comparison, better a ‘fax democracy’ than a faux democracy. PM Putin pointed out in a recent interview that the Central Committee of the EUSSR is more prescriptive in its issuance of law than the Central Committee of the USSR. So, once the EUSSR is fully instituted with all those further steps of integration, yet just a gleam in the eye of the Euro-Marxists, don’t be surprised if its not going to be ‘happy ever after’; so let’s keep out of the war zone.

  19. Caterpillar
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I tend slightly to lean more towards than away from the EU, but nevertheless would welcome a referendum. It would give the three main parties a chance to clearly explain the advantages and disadvantages, and where they would like the UK-EU relationship to be. I do not see why Europhiles cannot welcome this.

    On the date, I would disagree. I would prefer a referendum to be held on the day of the next General Election, allowing more time for the EuroZone to tackle (or not) its problems, and allowing the major parties to align their manifestos with their prefered referendum stance.

    If Messers Cameron, Clegg, Milliband are unable to put forward an alternative date to 2013 then they will never be able to stand by an – its not if but when argument, all will have lost credibility and this must be made clear in the debate and to the electorate.

    I worry that there may be Lib-Lab politics in play, hoping to fester a Conservative only argument for political gain, and this must be highlighted as what it is.

    I do not go along with the ‘conspiracy’ strategy of forcing the Eurozone into closer ties, so that non-Eurozone are then in a position to renegotiate – although it does feel like there might be diplomatic wishful thinking in play.

    • RB
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Do you really believe that the three main parties would expalin the disadvantages?

  20. Mactheknife
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Putting Hague up as the case for the defense seems a somewhat desperate measure at this point. I have been reading Camerons comments in the press on the issue and it seems he will discuss at some point in the unspecified future perhaps renegotiating a small part of whichever treaty.

    All feeld like “jam tomorrow” to me. A political delaying tactic if ever there was one.

    The sad thing is that if the Conservatives shy away from this issue, then this makes red-Ed look stronger. All the surveys have shown that at the very least the UK public want some repatriation of powers to include border controls, human rights, law, social reforms etc etc. I suspect Clegg has his hands round Camerons throat trying to choke off any action and I also suspect that Tory MP’s know this.

  21. Viv Evans
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    A well-argued take on how negotiations might work – I think you’ve made this much clearer in this post today.
    However, this remark is actually quite horrific:
    “Eurosceptic backbenchers are increasingly looking at what Ministers do, not at what they say or have said.”
    Isn’t that what we ought to expect all our MPs to do, not just the Eurosceptics in regard to the EU?
    No wonder our country is in the mess we see around us every day if those whose job it is to scrutinise government simply listen to nice PR coming out of Whitehall instead of asking the simple everyday question “why should I belive this?”

  22. Bryan
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    The EU

    Mr Cameron and/or his advisors are strategically naive, Mr Hague has become the Jack Straw of the Government.

    Mr E Miliband reportedly has said today that the EU does not have enough power and he does not rule out joining the Euro.

    Mr Clegg, well words fail me.

    These are our present and near future

    We are doomed!

  23. andyC71
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I emailed my MP, and slightly to my surprise (given his voting record to date) he replied saying he would support the bill. Good for him… maybe something is happening here, I hope so.

    • Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      So did I but he has yet to allow the courtesy of a receipt – let alone a reply!
      I note that an urgent questionnaire was sent round from HO yesterday asking people what they thought that their MPs should do on the three options available. They also asked whether they thought that Cameron was disinterested in changing the EU? No prizes for guessing what I told them!

  24. Martyn
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I see Sarkozy has at last said aloud what he an and other EU directors have long felt – they are sick and tired of the UK carping on about the Euro. I wonder what, if any, response DC made to being told that? Turn the other cheek, I suspect – after all, we musn’t upset France and Germany whilst waiting for those two embattled nations to decide our fate.

  25. Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Refusal to have a referendum when their is a clear demand for one (regardless of the subject) is nothing more that a denial of true democracy.

    It is what is expected of dictators, and at the end of today, we will know which MPs believe in democracy, and which would prefer a dictatorship under their party leader.
    As far as I am concerned, the issue is not about the EU, it is whether this country is still a true democracy.

  26. A different Simon
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    It”s not just a matter of the lack of legitimacy of the EU with respects to the U.K.

    The UK should insist that referendums be held throughout all European countries .

    Todays debate is not about M.P.’s personal opinions on the merits of integration into Europe .

    Todays debate is on whether M.P.’s think they have the right to deny us , the public , our say on the issue .

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    JR: “In return for letting them go ahead with full scale union we will need to have the right to opt out of measures we do not like.”

    As I’ve said before, I would be more sympathetic to this plan if it was expanded to address these two problems:

    1. Under the present EU treaties the number of EU member states to be included in the “them” is legally required to increase from its present 17 out of 27 to at least 25 out of 27, or more generally (N – 2) out of N where N could eventually be approach 40.

    2. Even if a measure legally applied only to the eurozone states, that wouldn’t save the UK from potential collateral damage when they adopted it.

    Here’s a list of eight EU treaty changes which Cameron should have demanded as a quid pro quo for the radical EU treaty change to which he assented on March 25th.

    That’s the radical EU treaty change in European Council Decision 2011/199/EU, which is attached to the statement that Hague laid before Parliament on October 13th:

    http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/eu-section5-statement

    delivering his “opinion” that under the new “referendum block” law it did not need a referendum and so it could be approved just by an Act of Parliament.

    1. All measures adopted by the eurozone states just for themselves through intra-eurozone treaties and agreements must be consistent with all aspects of the wider EU treaties and laws, including the “no bail-out” clause Article 125 TFEU.

    2. All proposals agreed by the eurozone states for such intra-eurozone measures must be subject to unanimous approval by the wider European Council, the heads of state and government of all the EU member states.

    3. The creation of a mechanism for a country to make an orderly withdrawal from the euro if it so chooses.

    4. The 8 EU member states which are not yet in the euro, but which were forced to commit themselves to eventually join it as a requirement of their accession to the EU, to be relieved of that legal obligation so that they have a completely free choice whether or not to adopt the euro.

    5. The EU must cease to impose that legal requirement on new member states, so they too would have a completely free choice in the matter, starting with Croatia.

    6. Strengthening of the UK’s “opt-out” protocol, so that it was written into the EU treaties that the EU could not allow the UK to join the euro unless that decision had been approved by a national referendum.

    7. EU member states that are not in the euro to regain some control over the entry of additional countries – at present it’s the eurozone states alone which make those decisions, under Article 140 TFEU, even though as we’ve seen the consequences of de-stabilisation of the eurozone severely affect the non-euro countries.

    8. To help prevent any repetition of its disgraceful abuse in the future, Article 122 TFEU to be returned from qualified majority voting to unanimous decision making, so that the UK and every other country will once again have the right to veto its activation, and it to be explicitly stated in the treaty that this Article cannot be used to circumvent Article 125 TFEU.

  28. Atlas Shrugged
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I agree with your analysis. However what I cannot understand is why all three parties are so keen on the EU. Evidently it has some practical advantage for them.

    Is it that the politicians can agree things at an EU level and then be able to impose the decisions upon their own countries without having to justify matters in their National Parliaments?

    Or is that the Senior Civil Servants in the different countries can use this method to avoiding public accountability for their agenda?

  29. Gordon
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood you are a man of integrity, a rare commodity in parliament, and your strategy on this issue is perfectly sensible. Maybe that is the trouble.

    The odds seem to be with the ‘kick the can down the road’ brigade, at least you and like minded colleagues are attempting to generate some balance on the issue.

    Good luck today and my best wishes go with you.
    Thanks for your efforts.

  30. Cliff. Wokingham.
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    John,

    The one thing that made my blood boil over this issue, was a government minister over the weekend on the state’s broadcaster, stating that disciplinary action would likely be taken against any Conservative MP that voted against the government’s position.
    MPs are elected by the people to represent their views, not blindly follow an egotisical leader’s whims.
    I know you will vote according to your principles as ALL MPs should but I suspect many will not, especially the young ambitious ones that rely on the benevolence of a party leader, to advance up the greasy pole.
    It is ironical that whilst we are going around the world almost imposing democracy on other countries, we are, at the same time, being denied it here. It is also ironical that whilst we are running anti-bullying campaigns, the government, through the whips office, are bullying MPs to comply.

    Stand strong John as I’m sure you will.

    Message to other MPs thinking of backing Mr Cameron’s position against their own beliefs and the wishes of their electorate; Mr Cameron is unlikely to be party leader after the next election, but the people will remember if you put party ahead of those you represent.

  31. Bill
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    If this, the circumstances within Club 17, were a business deal, rather than high politics, would you choose this moment to negotiate terms?
    Too true!

    Economic growth is one of the biggest factors in dealing with the debt. The myriad of regulations emanating from the EU are often anchors on economic growth.

    Unfortunately there seems to be a big difference between Mr Cameron’s rhetoric and his actions.

    If he doesn’t choose this time he won’t choose any time.

  32. APL
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    From the Guardian: “Sarkozy bluntly told Cameron: “You have lost a good opportunity to shut up.” He added: “We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do. You say you hate the euro and now you want to interfere in our meetings.”

    Another show for the domestic UK audience. Cameron can come back and say “We had some really really tough talk” .. we have seen and heard it all before from people with more skill.

    I cannot really say I have heard Cameron say anything of substance, least of all about the Euro. He twittered on about plastic bags a while ago but nothing else.

    I suggest he follows Sarkozy’s orders and shuts up altogether.

  33. Mark
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    We see that M Sarkozy already considers the UK to be outwith the EU because he seeks to exclude it from policy meetings. Perhaps Cameron considers that to be better than a slap in the face with a wet kipper?

  34. Posted October 24, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Of course the LibDem Manifesto Promise to support a referendum, by definition, represnts the very highest standard of honestry to which that party ever aspires. In doing precisely the exact opposite of what it promised it is demontrating exactly what that standard of honesty is – that there are no possible circumstances under which any statement or promise by any member of the LDs can ever be assumed to be in the remotest degree truthful.

    Unfortunately bthe other parties don’t come out much better. All 3 promised to support a referendum as a result of the Lisbon Treaty. Cameron made this pledge, both personal and in the name of the party “cast iron”.

    Since at no time has the party agreed to change the referendum pledge, which was undoubtedly party policy, I think it quite improper of the whips to pretend that the refusal to allow the people a voice is a genuine party policy rather than Cameron’s personal repudiation of agreed party policy.

  35. Steven Whitfield
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Respect to Mr Redwood for standing by his principles and putting the national interest first . It lifts the spirit to know that in 2011, there are still a few principled politicians that are prepared to stand up and tell it how it is.

    This will be in stark contrast to Mr William Hague who will trot out the usual worn out old establishment rubbish about the need to forever be at the heart of Europe etc.
    If these views had any merit , the election of John Major would have been a turning point in British history,signaling an era of new found wealth and prosperity. It wasn’t. Major was the living ,breathing embodiment of this ideology and a disaster for the Uk.

    Lets hope the pro referendum vote gets into at least 3 figures.

  36. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    From a reading of European history it can be understood that the peoples of many european countries became disillusioned with the competence of a succession of their own governments to govern their own country well. In such circumstances a more federal governance has much appeal if you think an amalgamation of all the talents would do much better – especially if you think things can not possible get worse.

    In the UK the situation is fundamentally different. Although governments come and go according to electoral preference, the system is thought to be sound. After all, it has served us well for a very long time. So in the UK there is no pressure for “federal is best”. Support for the EU has primarily been to do with trade rather than governance.

    So we have two fundamentally different views as to governance.

    What amazes me is why successive UK governments (with one notable exception) should be so keen to align the UK with so much federalism. Is it that the political elite have completely lost confidence in their own abilities to govern? Are they “frit”?

    From the smouldering disintegration of UK politics there needs to arise a new champion.

  37. GJ Wyatt
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    The simple suggestion in your antepenultimate para – if only!
    One size fits all “harmonization” is Brussels’ mantra, so it would be completely against the grain for them to accept an à la carte approach.

  38. NickW
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Will we be able to watch the debate on BBC Parliament, or has it been censored?

    So far; there is no sign of it; the Parliament Channel’s timetable has not been changed to take account of the debate today.

  39. George Stewart
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    John;

    What can we the British People do to help you?

    As John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your Country can do for you, ask what you can do for your Country.”

    We need leadership and you my friend are it, wither you want it or seek it, you now have it.

    Reply : Thank you. What the supporters of the motion need from like minded people is support, instead of carping criticism that we are in the wrong patry or not Eurosceptic enough.

    • Yudansha
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      This point is worthy of a post in itself, Mr Redwood.

    • RB
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      JR, do you really believe this, still?

      Ok so the EU is one issue. But it so large an issue that it is disco dancing on your front lawn, covered in neon lights, then wearing your pyjamas in bed with your wife, grinning inanely and calling you out for a punch up.

      You, Carswell, Hannan and others have for years taken the view that you do – where has it got us in respect of the EU issue? How long can you maintain this position?

  40. alan jutson
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I hear from the BBC news at lunchtime today.

    Mr Hague is calling the EU motion paper today “a piece of graffiti”

    This is an absolutely disgraceful statement from a government Minister who is supposed to be serving the people in a so called democracy.

    He also said “the wrong questions at the wrong time”

    Hague has now nailed his colours firmly to the mast, of the white flag of surrender to all things EU.

    Amazing how power corrupts the mind.

    I hope these words come back to haunt him, over and over, and over again, never again should this man be allowed to stand, or be put in a position TO SERVE THE PUBLIC which he has shown he clearlydespises.

    Simply a disgrace

  41. Nick Kirby
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I apologise if this is the wrong forum, but is there actually somewhere a layman could go to see the impact of EU regulation on British business?

    I’ve read Richard north’s book – “Ten years On” and have no reason to doubt his research but there never seems to be a listing of how the UK is affected by the EU.

    There’s also an irony that the ‘It’s a wonderful thing, the EU’ side never tell us why, or open up a reasoned debate on costs and benefits.

    Reply Ther Chambers of Commerce have done a good study showing the huge annual costs of Brussels regulation.

  42. sm
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    This could end in really serious trouble, its almost like they forget history. What are they not telling us?

    My opinion of 650 MP’s is sinking lower by the day – some afraid to speak publicly in a career they chose? This whipping system needs to be completely reviewed with a view to making it compatible with a representative democracy. This is banana republic stuff. What is the point in electing MPs if they vote only as instructed by a party leader.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15291712

  43. Norman Dee
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    “Norman Dee
    Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I tire of making the same obvious comment, you say that UKIP are no hopers because they have no MP’s, if the 60 to 80 true sceptics who will vote for the motion tomorrow, were really serious and determined, then UKIP would have 60 to 80 MP’s overnight. Then UKIP could be reorganised to become the conservative party we all want, change the name if it makes you feel better. Or start a completely new one, it doesn’t matter, but lets see some money in the same location as the talking.”

    I am surprised you have no answer to this, you have normally replied to positive suggestions, why not this one ?

    Reply I have often answered this. I fought the eleciton as a Eurosceptic Conservative and will represent people as a Euroscepitic Conservative, keeping my pledge to them. UKIP got very few votes in Wokingham showing that Wokingham did not want a UKIP MP.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redwood. I think you rather miss the point here.

      Wokingham had John Redwood standing for MP. Why would anyone vote UKIP under those circumstances ?

  44. Peter Dayson-Smith
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    It’s probably a very silly question but if the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary were so eager to attend today’s debate, why was it not pushed back for a few weeks? That way, MP’s would have had a proper chance to speak to constituents and there would have been much less of a rush to get things properly discussed.

    Oh, I see…….

  45. Barry Sheridan
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, how kind of you to think that if Euroland want closer integration you then we are happy to oblige as long as we can get our own terms on the table. Surely the question here is for politicians across Europe, and that means here as well, to start listening to their own electorate instead of just themselves. The EU is a shambles led by those with contempt for the ordinary. Well, I for one see few if any in politics who are my betters, if only because I do not consider it necessary to lie my way through life. I could go on but you get the point I think.

  46. Hackney Hal
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    It is very curious that Cameron and Milliband will vote against a referendum (let’s leave aside Clegg who actually had a referendum as an official policy at the last election and yet will still vote against ). If either of them promised an In/Out vote after the next election they would win by a landslide as they would attract one-off support from UKIP and disaffected supporters of their opponents. So why won’t they ? It seems that despite the enormous cost of membership, despite the corruption, despite the democractic defecit, despite the transfer of powers to Brussels the two of them somehow think that being in the EU is an overwhelmingly good idea. Why ? You could argue from Miliband’s viewpoint it permanently contracts-out powers to a permanently socialist/left-wing organisation but seeing any benefits from Cameron’s viewpoint is hard. I am not really persuaded by the “they want a job after they have retired” argument. So exactly what is it that Cameron sees that many of his senior colleages don’t ?

    Reply: It looks as if the leaders of Conservatives and Labour are positioning for the 20% Lib Dem 2010 vote (now half that) rather than for the 3% UKIP vote. Labour has so far picked up a lot of past Lib dem voters. There are not enough UKIP votes to win a General Election. Try reading the polls.

  47. Tedgo
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I think its about time the Conservatives changed their leader. Isn’t the Autumn their traditional time for a challenge.

    Reply There will be no challenge. The Leader no longer faces annual re-election. To have a contest there needs to be sufficient Conservative MPs seeking an election.

  48. Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I thought your piece made a lot of sense. I fail to understand Cameron’s argument & feel he will drive more traditional conservative supporters like
    me to vote for UKIP as the only alternative. I have always felt we should be in Europe but not run by it.
    I do hope conservative MPs have a free vote otherwise its a sad day for democracy.

  49. Deborah
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    The Government is living in the past. William Hague has lost his eurosceptic credentials. Action speaks louder than words and his inaction speaks volumes.

  50. Winston Smith
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I left the Party last year after realising Cameron’s clique no longer represented real Conservatives, particularly those of us from less privileged backgrounds. I was also fed up with the shambolic functioning of the Party. My parting shot to the association chairman was the predictions that the party would fall apart again at the first major EU hurdle, and secondly, a new centre-right party will emerge before the end of the 5yr term of the coalition.

    • RB
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Should we take note that the 100000 people who signed the e-peition represent about the same number of people as 50% of the conservative party membership?

      Add in others who have signed other petitions and the conservative party membership is dwarfed by those who have asked for a referendum.

      Just a thought.

  51. Jane
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I am opposed to the decision by back bench MPs to vote on a referendum at this time. Further, I am quite concerned at how many political commentators are reporting their opinions that the issue is not related to the EU but discontentment at David Cameron.

    I am very concerned about all of this. A reminder that the Conservative Party did not win the election and are in coalition government. Also, it seems to me that many MPs on the government benches have forgotten the number of years they were in opposition. Is this the image they want to present to the public that they are a divided party and that Europe has again become a major issue? I have read many recent reports on the electorate and it appears that Europe is not a great priority.

    I am sorry, but this debate today reminds me of the bad old days of a divided Tory Party with Europe doing damage to PM’s. David Cameron has many friends outside of Westminster and if commentators are to be believed and the vote today is against his leadership then Ed Miliband will be the next PM.

    Reply: The vote today is not about the Conservative party or its leadership. It is about the EU and has come about because many people in the country wanted this debate. People are very concerned about the economy, and the EU debate is central to the economic prospects.

  52. Jane
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Whoops……..
    I have just read Fact Check (C4) regarding the public’s view on Europe. It is worth reading.

  53. Vanessa
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    When will the tories engage their brains? I know the Treaties are virtually unreadable but what is embedded in ALL of them is the process of ACQUIS COMMUNAUTAIRE meaning one-way only. Once the “competence” (control) has been given away it can NEVER be returned – that is how the EU works. Surely somebody in the tories knows this and therefore that re-negotiation is utterly IMPOSSIBLE. Nobody in Brussels will correct our stupid PM because they do not want the British public to know too much about what is written or what they do.

    • Chris
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      I think you are right, Vanessa, re the possiblity of renegotiation. Renegotiation I believe is not an option if Schauble, German finance minister, and Barroso are to be believed. Schauble, at his Chatham House address last week, apparently indicated that although there would have to be an alteration to the treaty to deal wih the current financial problems, it would be targeted at the fiscal policy part of the treaty only, and that owing to the “nervous markets” it would have to be rushed through – there would not be the opportunity for national grandstanding/renegotiating of national positions. Surely our government is aware of this?

      John, on a separate issue, I read on the D Tel website comments section that disaffected voters should launch a Facebook page and aim for 1 million signatures.

    • Ken Adams
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Thus Mr Redwoods suggestion that we be allowed to opt out of any measures we do not like, is a non starter. Even if it were, the choice would be made by political elites who seem quite content with the present situation, so it would be no guarantee of a looser agreement.

  54. Chris
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Fascinating ICM polling results (21-23 Oct) analysed in Guardian showing the very great change in public opinion towards leaving the EU.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/24/eu-referendum-poll-uk-withdrawal
    “Conservative rebels pushing for an in-or-out referendum on Europe are riding the tide of public opinion, according to a Guardian/ICM poll. Some 70% of voters want a vote on Britain’s EU membership, and by a substantial nine-point margin respondents say they would use it to vote for UK withdrawal.
    Forty-nine per cent of voters would vote to get Britain out of Europe, as against just 40% who prefer to stay in….”

  55. NickW
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph is trying to argue that the vote tonight is actually a vote on Cameron’s leadership.

    It isn’t, and just because Brogan has written an opinion that it is, does not make it so.

    Cameron has given MPs a choice of being at war with him or at war with their constituencies and the House is actually dividing on that motion as a subtext of the main topic of the debate.

    It is a debate about democracy and there is no doubt that the Government is on the wrong side of it.

    Cameron has almost certainly destroyed his Premiership; there is no way back.

  56. John Corfield
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    You have encapsulated succinctly the salient arguments and hypocrisy shown by critics of the vote for and against and you are ever so gentle on the turncoat Hague but nicely done.
    Metaphorically you have anesthetised the patient before sticking the knife in and quite rightly so highlighting his amazing volte force over the Euro.
    As usual the Lib/Dems defy rationality and their previous demands for a referendum.
    My local MP Maria Millar for Basingstoke sent me in response to me asking which way she will vote responded with the generic letter composed and sent from Downing Street highlighting just how important her career is above her constituents wish’s.
    Basically she has patronised me quoting we should not spend money on a referendum now with all its fuss.
    I replied Cameron readily agreed to Clegg’s request for one on the voting system to be voted on in under a year.
    Of course no reply .
    I truly wish you represented us Conservatives here in Basingstoke as you are a man of principle and honour.

  57. Adam5x5
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Just saw your contribution during Anne Main’s (Con, St Albans) speech.

    Excellent point John!!!
    A good speech from Anne Main as well.

  58. Adam5x5
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    One question though, Mr Redwood.

    This is a very topical debate, lots in the papers with a lot of friction between the party leaders and back benchers.

    Why is it that the House of Commons is 2/3 empty? (18:30)

    surely there should be more contributors than this?
    Though most contributors seem to be in favour for referendum. Is it that the ones who are just going to toe the party line will show up just before the vote and file through?

  59. BobE
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    The third European War is being fought by beurocrats wielding power point presentations. The fifth column is the potential gravy train for rejected beurocrats.

  60. adam
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Headline: PM ‘standing up for UK’ in euro row

    This old ruse again. Go to Brussels to stand up for the UK in Europe while secretly handing away more authority to the EU.
    How long will this continue to work before people twig.

  61. Sam Sailor
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    A great speech John right up there in the top echelons on the Churchillometer of oratory.
    It has been an impressive debate the government has to take notice of the people.

    Reply: Thanks

  62. STAN FRANCIS
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I sent a copy of this note to Sajid Javid MP for Bromgrove and also to my local newspaper.

    “I would like to talk about the EU referendum, I would like to talk to the people of Bromsgrove about the EU referendum, I would like to talk to our Bromsgrove MP about the EU referendum.
    And what is it I want to say, I want to say where are your guts when you are told you will have a referendum and then it’s reneged on?
    Cameron said you will have a referendum if the people want one, then he said MP’s should decide if a public referendum should occur or not, then CAMERON SAYS EVEN IF THE MP’S SAY THEY WANT ONE I WILL NOT ALLOW IT…THEN HAGUE SAYS NO WAY IS THERE GOING TO BE VOTE!!
    100,000 signatures went to Parliament to have the issue brought out for discussion, one of these signatures was mine and I now want the public referendum and I want our MP to state the same.
    We are being slowly dragged down by EU countries that cannot get their books straight, we are being asked to tighten our belts, pay more taxes to prop up these countries, how did these countries get on before they joined the EU, they must have found a way then, or is it just too easy now they are in the EU where hardworking people in other countries like the UK work to keep them. What would Greece do for example if there were no EU??
    Stan Francis
    Romsley villager fed up of keeping other people!

  63. Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Norway. Highest GNI per capita in the world. They only need to trade in oil.

    US and China. No they aren’t just able to freely trade because of the WTO. The WTO doesn’t control import tariffs, does it? They have massive international clout.

    Are you suggesting out of the EU but in EFTA John?
    Or are you suggesting being part of the WTO is enough?

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted October 25, 2011 at 1:49 am | Permalink

      That’s like saying the Swiss only need to trade in cuckoo clocks.

      Swiss per capita income is much higher than the uk’s (and Japan’s) .

      Wisely the Swiss stay out of the EU, have very low taxes and a flexible labour force. Being in the EFTA they can trade freely without signing up to be bound in red tape.
      Maybe there is a lesson there for the Uk ?

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted October 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        Maybe Steven,

        but your suggestion contradicts the blogpost which seems to suggest that we don’t need to be in EFTA.

  64. John C
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    I watched the whole debate on BBC Parliament (the first time I have ever done so) and can say that, IMO, there were just a handful of speeches that lived up to the occasion and yours was certainly one of them Mr Redwood. Great passion with no notes.

    I now, for the first time in my voting life (born in ’61), believe that I will finally have a vote on the EU.

    After the antics of the government I am also convinced that both Cameron and Hague has been taken over by the dark side (also known as the mandarins in the FCO).

    In my opinion, Cameron and Hague will do the same as the Labour government and try to claim that powers transferred to the EU do not trigger a referendum as it is not in a treaty. Perhaps they will call it a constitution next time – how ironic that would be!

    • BobE
      Posted October 25, 2011 at 1:29 am | Permalink

      UKIP

  65. Anne Palmer
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    The only true Politicians in that House of Commons today were the ones that remembered what they were there for. In case they have forgotten, it was to speak and stand up for those that elected them and I will add, contribute to their ‘wages’ and vast expenses.

    They should at all times be true to their true and faithful Oaths of Allegiance to the British Crown-and through the Crown to all in this land and to govern according to this Countries Long Standing Common Law Constitution.

  66. Steven Whitfield
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    A great debate tonight . I thought Bill Cash and John Redwood delivered particularly well crafted and powerful speeches. They showed they have hearts made from english oak.
    Many speeches were noteworthy from both the Conservative and Labour sides. It was good to see some disruption to the too cosy relationship between the Liberals and Conservatives . The point that the Liberals were allowed the indulgence of a referendum on PR ( that had virtually no pubic support), while denying the people having a say on the EU was well made.

    Malcolm Rifkind also stands out for the exceptional quantity of nonsense he managed to speak. Anyone wishing to get an insight into why David Cameron clings so doggedly to his unshakeable belief in the EU project was left disapointed. None of the arguments from his side stood up in my view.

    I don’t know what has happened to William Hague but someone needs to talk some Yorkshire common sense into him – the baubels of power seem to have gone to his shiny head.

  67. Posted October 25, 2011 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    Congratulations John on your speech,I loved the way you raised your voice and got emotional
    BUT I am still convinced the powers that be have gone over to THE DARK SIDE,and private Fraser is right.I still tell any young people to EMMIGRATE, today’s Mail says EXPATS are not coming back 800,000 of them changed their minds last year alone and gives reasons,I myself am going back to South Africa next year [violence and all] my best friends kids all 5
    have now gone and he is following at 65 yrs old. AS FOR “JAVELIN” and his comments
    THEY ARE SCARY,and I BELIEVE THEM,they are enough to make anyone get really mad,I
    am actually surprised the press have not picked up on him from reading your blog,if I was an investigative reporter I would be digging away like mad ,the TRUTH IS OUT THERE as the X files said.Who or what is the Darth Vader with the hands gripped TIGHTLY around our rulers throats ???? makes me want to believe in CONSPIRACY.

  68. Roger Hubbard
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir, I write to you with a heavy heart having watched the entire debate & vote on the motion for a referendum on the European Union.

    Whilst there were indeed some excellent speeches, I’m afraid the whole process was rigged by the front benches of all three parties, & frankly I’m disgusted by the whole process & its outcome!

    Milliband……what can I say…..he’ll vote down anything just to see the government fall, the man has no morals & does not have the moral character or compass to take a dog by the leash let alone lead the country.

    Clegg…….let him make the most of it……..he’s seeing his final days in office. The man is a hand wringing Eurofile who has his own agenda…which doesn’t include listening to the people. Let him emigrate to Brussels….but not on my payroll…….no big loss.

    But Cameron! Really….he had an opportunity to allow the country to see his real metal by allowing a free vote on a motion that was not binding on the government anyway, but no…he had to call a three line whip.

    Perhaps Mr. Cameron is more afraid of Clegg & the coalition than he is of the electorate!

    I mean a three line whip from all three main political parties…..what are you all afraid of?

    As for Sir George Young’s wrap up comments outside parliament….what a load of tosh!

    Well I’m afraid you are all sadly under estimating the depth of feeling of your constituents on the issue of Europe.

    Whilst you say you all believe in giving power back to the people…..you still don’t listen to what we are saying.

    It seems the only thing you listen to is the ballot box.

    Having voted Conservative for all of my life……in all future elections & until I see some real change on the subject of Europe, I am going to vote with one of the independents, with one of the independents who has on their manifesto a real referendum on Europe, one that will actually happen in the term of that government….not at some time in the future….when the time is right.

    Mubarak has gone, Gaddafi has gone……..nobody would have thought it……what makes you all think you are so safe in your seats?

    The people have been patient & suffering long enough & are asking, neh, demanding for a real change on Europe, why is it you all believe you know better than us. Even if we are wrong we could not have done a worse job on Europe than politicians have over the last 35 years, & either way its our right to make a choice….even if it is the wrong choice!

    You ignore us, turn us a blind eye & a deaf ear at your peril.

    Open trade market is what we sought….not the federal states of Europe, you have not heard the last of this debate by half. No more….no more smoke & mirrors… enough is enough!

    You are most welcome to use parts of this text in Prime Ministers question time….if you have the courage to do so.

    I remain yours sincerely.

    R.M.Hubbard

  69. Christopher Quinton
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    You may wish to ask your readers to sign another EU petition on the Ten Downing Street site. It is up and running at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/174

    It will be very interesting when 100,000 signatures are there.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page