More voices than votes


                Yesterday Parliament staged a good debate. Voice after voice was raised to condemn the lack of democracy in EU government. MP after MP warned their leaderships that too much power has passed to Brussels without gaining the consent of the British people.  MPs asked their leaders what part of the 80% public opposition to the imposition of a 3 line whip they did not understand. MPs praised the idea that the public can raise issues in Parliament through the petition system. They asked why the 67%  of the public who want a referendum on the EU are not to have their wish granted.

                 A few MPs argued with the official spokesmen of  Labour and the Conservatives and with the Lib Dem party  that we need to stay in the EU on current terms, and should not hold a referendum. As heralded here yesterday, they used three main arguments.

               We heard as always the argument that 3 milllion UK jobs are based on exports to the EU. We were told we must not put those at risk. I asked Labour why it is that many jobs in China are based on exports to the EU. On their argument as China is not a member of the EU these jobs should not exist.

               We heard that now is not the time for a referendum because the Euro is in crisis. As Charles Walker asked, “If not now, when?” We explained that the Euro crisis is long, deep seated, and means Euroland needs changes. This is exactly the time to renegotiate and to ask the people.

               We were told that now any tfransfer of power through a Treaty will command a referendum. We asked about all the transfers of power taking place daily without a Treaty, and all the powers transferred by past Treaties where governments refused to hold a referendum.

                I don’t know what the leaderships expected on the vote. 81 Conservatives voted for or acted as tellers for  the Yes camp. 19 Labour MPs voted for the motion as well. 111 MPs in total supported the motion.

               As I have explained on this site before, this is a federalist Parliament. Solid ranks of Labour and Lib MPs can be expected to vote for more EU government. Coalition Ministers often join them. The heart of the Conservative party is Eurosceptic. Last night more showed their heart. Many of the remaining Conservatives who voted No did so whilst they saying they wanted less EU government, and wanted a referendum at some other time.

               The drum beat of the Conservative party is to renegotiate. It is to get a new relationship with Euroland. The party is united in this. It speaks for the overhwelming majority of the UK electorate.


  1. matthu
    October 25, 2011

    I listened to part of your speech on LBC as I was driving home last night and was struck by your passion and the forcefulness of the points that you made. Thank you, John: I hope you will post the entire speech that you made on your blog.

    Reply. Thanks. I will post it

    1. alan jutson
      October 25, 2011


      Seconded, thank you for your efforts John excellent passionate speech.

      Strange how the newspapers are reporting this today.

      Tory Mp’s are labelelled as rebels, and Cameron is not in control of his party.
      Miliband is in control of his party to a greater degree than Cameron.
      Clegg has absolute power over his Party.

      As if control of your party (a one man dictatorship) in this instance, is a good thing.
      Whereas the opposite in this case is true.

      The Conservtive MP’s wanted to give democracy a chance by a much greater degree than Labour or the Lib Dems, and had the courage to not only see it, but act upon it as well.

      What is the point of a peoples petition system, if it is only ever going to be voted down.

      Cameron will suffer for this, as will the other Paty’s, as more people go to the fringes, or not bother at all.

      We now have a greater disconnection than ever, between politicians and the general public.

      Sarky’s rant, shut up Cameron, we only want your money, now means Cameron or any government are in a more difficult place with his suggested future negotiations, as he cannot say parliament and the people are behind him in any request.

      If you are no prepared to walk away from failing negotiations (and get out), then all you get are the crumbs ofered from the table.

      Cameron and the other leaders weakened our bargaining position last night.


      1. Disaffected
        October 25, 2011

        John, you and the other 80 MPs should be congratulated for standing up for democracy and the national interest.

        Unfortunately, Cameron has just resigned the Tories to opposition for years to come. The vast majority of the public want a referendum and through bully boy “Flashman” tactics he won a vote for something that most people thought he was opposed to. He has just put himself in the same position as Clegg, no one will believe a word he says.

        When one considers changes in employment law brought about by Tories to have secret ballots to prevent intimidation within union ballets, there appears to be a smack of hypocrisy in the parliamentary whip system. It also reaffirms that we do not need so many MPs. If they act like poodles then the number could be easily reduced by two thirds. Most legislation comes from the EU and MPs are told how to vote at Westminster. I will not vote Tory while Cameron and the Tory party behaves like this. I regret voting for Tory at the last election because Cameron makes Gordon Brown look good.

        As for Clegg, you only have to read about his remarks to realise that he does not like British culture and it appears he wants to be part of a pan European state.

      2. APL
        October 25, 2011

        Alan Jutson: “As if control of your party (a one man dictatorship) in this instance, is a good thing.”

        Good point.

        Alan Jutson: “Cameron and the other leaders weakened our bargaining position last night.”

        I don’t wish to be rude Alan, but you need to get it firmly established in your mind that Cameron doesn’t care about ‘our bargaining position’, because he doesn’t intend to bargain!

        It really is as simple as that.

        And yes it is shameful!!

        1. alan jutson
          October 26, 2011


          Not rude at all.

          I agree with you, and certainly Mr Clegg does.

    2. Michael
      October 25, 2011

      Everyone post this link
      it’s a petition for another debate on a referendum. The political elite just hold another vote if they don’t like the answer they get, we can play at the same game.

      1. Gordon
        October 25, 2011

        no you need this one 38,000 already !

      2. forthurst
        October 26, 2011

        Don’t we need an e-petition mandating that all debates on e-petitions are conducted on a free vote?

      3. nicol sinclair
        October 26, 2011

        Thank you Michael. I have also signed this petition.

      4. alan jutson
        October 26, 2011


        Done, and circulated to many friends, many thanks.

        1. alan jutson
          October 26, 2011

          Wife just signed up this evening, its grown by 2,500 since this morning.

      5. maureen
        October 27, 2011

        Thank you signed and circulated.

  2. lifelogic
    October 25, 2011

    If not now, when? Never (unless we can get the right “for Cameron” result) is Camerons answer. This is exactly the right time to renegotiate and to ask the people. Cameron has not one “gram” of credibility left. Nothing he says again will ever be believed.

    Like a talented but dodgy secondhand car dealer – but no one will be daft enough to buy a second car off him. Yet only 81 real Tories in the house.

    1. Disaffected
      October 25, 2011

      Cameron is arrogant and contemptuous of the British public. Only he knows best. Time for a change for me, UKIP deserves a chance, and like the 81 Tory rebels it will send a clear message to the three main party leaders.

    2. Electro-Kevin
      October 25, 2011

      “Yet only 81 real Tories in the house”

      I am both surprised and heartened that it’s that many. We should all be grateful to them.

    3. lifelogic
      October 25, 2011

      Cameron on the news just now in relation to the EU vote yesterday something like – “In government we have to confront the serious issues of the day rather than sweeping them under the carpet as we did yesterday”.

      Perhaps he meant “rather than try to sweep them under the carpet as I did yesterday”.

      He has confronted absolutely nothing and has destroyed the last vestiges of his credibility in the process.

    4. lifelogic
      October 25, 2011

      Listening again to Cameron – taking today after last nights (absurdly 3 line whipped) EU vote:

      He talks of:-

      No bad blood, sorting out the EURO as priority number one (more of our cash down the PIGIS drain I assume), wanting – open markets and free trade, not the interference in the every day lives of people, to get our economy moving, to get regulations off our businesses – we can now do that united (who? not united with the EU or the LibDems for sure).

      Indeed he says he want the opposite of what the EU has consistently worked towards for 30 odd years with CAP, fishing, energy and the rest. Also he says he wants the opposite of what the UK government (even under his direction) is clearly working towards.

      So far on regulation he has saddled business with the costly no retirement rules, paternity rules, agency worker rules, green energy taxes and countless other handicaps and such nonsense.

      On the positive side he has, but in part only, got rid of HIPS on houses and the M4 bus lane (well done for that).

      Cameron PLEASE, PLEASE, LISTEN! You cannot do what you claim you want to without changing the EU relationship and controlling UK government very tightly.

      If you keep saying positive things (as above on free trade, regulations and the like) while doing the complete opposite in reality on the ground you will just look, every day, more and more and more like a (series of unflattering terms-ed).

      Indeed you will soon have fully become one.

      Also your “referendum lock” distraction is no real protection and fools few, as you must well know, it can be bi-passed simply or just changed by parliament.

      1. Bazman
        October 25, 2011

        Open markets free trade. As in a race to the bottom? No family commitment from many companies who are constantly telling their employees that they are part of a family. The right to short change agency workers as at least they have a job that pays a wage useless to them and the state under little health and safety regulations. If they don’t like it then they are not desperate enough. As I have pointed out to you a job at any price is not a job. You are constantly burdening the work force with these and countless other handicaps and such nonsense.

        1. lifelogic
          October 26, 2011

          I do not know what you are on about with you endless “race to the bottom” comment. A business either competes on it goes out of business unless it is a state sector/parasitic/subsidised one.

          If you want to race to the top you have to find firm areas of ground where you can compete on the world stage. What alternative is there?
          This is a lot easier with fewer regulatory and other obstacles created by over large government. The EU, Huhne’s “green exaggeration religion”, cast iron Cameron and the rest of the “create a pointless job for me” sector.

          1. Bazman
            October 26, 2011

            A race to the bottom mean cutting in the extreme cutting wages/conditions, health and safety to the bone and other companies competing on the same basis. Finding someone to work for a bowl of rice a day while at the same time looking for another who would work for half that.
            A race in this country that has no place for the individual or the state. If you think we should compete on this basis. justify it and stop hiding behind world stage competitiveness statements.

          2. lifelogic
            October 27, 2011

            If you have plenty of jobs available then you cannot get people to work for you for “a bowl of rice” as you put it. You have to pay the going rate or they will go to some one who will pay.

            The best protection for employees is alternative jobs freely available – as they would be if the state got out of the way.

          3. Bazman
            October 27, 2011

            You are relying on the fantasy that there can be more cleaning jobs in an area than cleaners. How can this be so?

      2. lifelogic
        October 25, 2011

        Also he said today that he wanted to “Keep Taxes Low”. How on earth can he “keep” taxes low – we have some of the highest, most damaging and counter productively high taxes in the world.

        1. lifelogic
          October 26, 2011

          The UK has one of the highest tax burdens for both low and high earners of any major economy, reveals new research by UHY, the international accounting and consultancy network.

          7th highest taxation in a recent survey (UHY accountant) of major economies the other high ones being France, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Italy. Mainly the countries also being handicapped by the malignant EU system of “big government”.

    5. lifelogic
      October 25, 2011

      I see the BBC coverage on the EU vote is exactly as expected helping Cameron as much as they can.

      Their main concern today seems to be the promotion of some “Shakespeare” film Anonymous which is being marketed on a “did he write it angle”. Are the BBC being paid, if not, they should be with the amount of “free” coverage they are giving it?

      1. lifelogic
        October 25, 2011

        Had Cameron not known that the BBC, the Liberals, Labour most of the state sector and the civil service would all be on his side – on this EU vote – would he I wonder have been so keen to treat 80% of the public and over half of his MPs with such clear contempt?

        The BBC can be very powerful in destroying such UK democracy as remains.

        1. Bazman
          October 25, 2011

          Many private companies are worried about tariffs imposed on them by Europe by Britain being out of Europe.

          1. lifelogic
            October 26, 2011

            The benefits of leaving are having a looser free trade agreement far outweigh the disadvantages for businesses just the restoration of some democracy and control of our own affairs alone is worth it.

  3. norman
    October 25, 2011

    As good a show as could have been hoped for so thanks to yourself and all the other MPs who voted for the motion.

    Thanks are also due to those 150 or so Tories who voted for the status quo.

    Whatever we may think of how they voted at least they voted for what they believe in so we shouldn’t criticise, this is how Parliament is supposed to function, robust debate and afterwards MPs stake their tents, especially in a vote such as this which had no chance of succeeding from the outset. As John Redwood says time after time, if we don’t want a federalist Parliament we shouldn’t vote for federalist candidates.

    I hope associations all across the country are taking note of who they are.

    1. A different Simon
      October 25, 2011

      “Whatever we may think of how they voted at least they voted for what they believe in ”

      I would like to believe that but there was a three line whip and an awful lot of MP’s in Westminster have never defied the party line even once – ie they are an unneccessary expense at best and obstacle to democracy at worst .

    2. Gary
      October 25, 2011

      The 150 voted for what they believed in…….? Or voted out of fear of losing their jobs and were whipped into submission like cowering dogs ? Some democracy !

      1. Graham Cook
        October 25, 2011


    3. Winston Smith
      October 25, 2011

      Sorry, you are very niaive if you believe the 150 Tory MPs who voted against the motion, did so on principle. I know of one London MP who definitely wants to re-negotiate our membership of the EU; he told me this and more over a few drinks. However, he is driven by personal ambition, which he puts before political pinciples and the views of his constituents and Party members.

      1. norman
        October 25, 2011

        I’m talking about backbenchers here but it’s a moot point whether they voted for the status quo because they are at heart federalists or because they blindly follow the leadership line in the hope of one day securing a junior payroll position.

        The vote last night was never going to be won due to the federal Lab / Lib Dem / Conservative elements and the rebellion was so large that not cravenly toeing the party line isn’t really going to harm their future chances, especially if anyone has their eye on the long game. It could be argued that not rebelling has done them more harm.

        There was no reason not to vote with your conscience last night and that the leadership put down a strict ‘you must not rock the EU boat’ three line whip shouldn’t have affected anyone’s thinking.

        Norman Tebbit sums it up better than I can in his recently resurrected site (and it’s well worth a place in any bookmark folder) here

    4. lojolondon
      October 25, 2011

      I agree with most of what you say, but did the MP’s last night vote for what they believed in?? Or as they were instructed to vote?? (3-line whip). Or did they vote as they believed their constituents wanted them to vote. Did some vote AGAINST what they believed their constituents wanted, because they feel they ‘know better’??

      I believe in a democracy an MP should vote AS HIS CONSTITUENTS WANT HIM TO VOTE, EVEN IF THAT MEANS VOTING AGAINST HIS PERSONAL BELIEFS AND FEELINGS, AND EVEN FORSAKING HIS CAREER. Easier said than done, I know, as is borne out by the results.

      Well, this exercise was always going to struggle, after all three leaders took the same hard-line position, but what it has done is exposed parliament for the sham it is. The vast majority of MP’s DO NOT represent their constituents, they follow the party line.

      I think that the trecherous result last night could be great news for all independents, as well as, hopefully, UKIP.

      I do want to give an honourable mention, however, to the brave men and women, John Redwood MP included who have risked their careers by standing against the loaded system for the principle of democracy, representing their voters and fulfilling their promise.

    5. Peter Turner
      October 25, 2011

      How do we know that the 150 MPs voted for the status quo because that was what they believed in? There was a three line whip in operation or did you not realise this? No inference can be drawn concerning the beliefs of these particular members of the legislature.

  4. Ruth
    October 25, 2011

    Thanks for staying true to your beliefs. My MP voted with the government, which now leaves me in a difficult position. I can’t vote for him next time, given that he clearly favours his career over the wishes of the people. And can I even vote Conservative again? We were promised a referendum, we were promised a bonfire of the quangos, the scrapping of regulation, real change away from the old regime. I used to have respect for David Cameron, not any more. I’m in a marginal constituency, think the Conservatives just lost it in the next election.

    1. lojolondon
      October 25, 2011

      Ruth, you are so lucky to be in that position. I would definitely tell him, tell him today why you will never support him again, and tell him who you will vote for next time (may I recommend UKIP?)

      1. Ruth
        October 25, 2011

        Not sure about “lucky”. I did send my MP a missive about my views last week and told him very clearly that my belief is the EU is a massive drag on us as a country. This morning I sent another email expressing my disappointment, and told him I wouldn’t vote for him again, as did another voter on Twitter last night. This constituency is one of the swing seats and although there are proposals for boundary changes, the makeup of the constituency won’t change much. I expect it will go Labour next time.

        1. lojolondon
          October 25, 2011

          Bad choice of words, I feel particularly disenfranchised because my MP is the speaker, so I do not get represented in parliament!

          You are correct, you took action and I guess every one who takes action helps the result to go the way we want, either swaying your MP, or by supporting his decision.

          If I was blatantly going directly against my boss’s instructions at work I would want all the moral support I could get!

    2. nicol sinclair
      October 26, 2011

      And, so did mine. However, she is a rabid socialist and no amount of correspondence with her will turn her. If I wish to be enfranchised according to my views, I shall have to pack up and move. Is there room in Wokingham for a relocator?
      Thank you Mr Redwood for voting according to your (and I assume your constituents’) view and against the diktat of the PM…

      Although a Scot, I am also much against the possible break up of the UK. That will be our next problem – defending the UK against Wee Eck and his referendum.

  5. Mick Anderson
    October 25, 2011

    It’s a shame that the “Recall” option suggested by Mr Carswell is not in place. Perhaps that would have encouraged the MPs to consider the electorate.

    Mr Miliband looked rather absurd yesterday in the debate – lambasting Mr Cameron, even though we knew he was going to vote in the same way. I’m still not sure what point he was trying to make, and equally sure that I don’t care.

    Mr Sarkozy made it clear that Mr Cameron is not welcome when he tried to “interfere” in matters relating to the single currency. They clearly only want the UKs money, not to give us a voice. I wish he would take the hint, listen to the views of the rebel MPs, and give the UK electorate a say.

    1. A different Simon
      October 25, 2011

      I listened to just over an hour of debate and was heartened by the honesty shown by most back benchers .

      The chamber was hardly full , I have made a mental note of who was there .

      Can anyone work out whether Mr Rifkind is in denial of the true undemocratic nature of the EU and our innability to change it or whether he is a true believer in a United States of Europe ?

      David Crausby , Labour Bolton North East was opposed to the way power has been given away and the electorate had been denied their say .

      He could not support the motion however because (if I remember correctly) he felt it was framed as being a right-wing proposal and did not give assurances on workers rights etc . This wasn’t the sort of person to be intimidated by the whips .

      Parliament is unable to hold the executive to account .

      Time is running out for the U.K. . Not enough of the new intake of M.P.’s considered the debate worthy of attending/assumed they knew their electorates wishes/can envision a UK beyond the EU .

      1. Denis Cooper
        October 25, 2011

        The most staggering thing I heard from Rifkind was:

        “… at present, of the 27 member states, only 17 are members of the eurozone. Ten states are not, some because they do not want to be, and some because they could not join even if they wanted to.”

        That’s “only” 17, well over half already, and I’ve heard that between them they have about three quarters of the combined EU GDP – I haven’t checked that – and as a bloc they’re already close to having an assured qualified majority in Council meetings, and as I understand after the voting weights are changed in 2014 just those 17 will have that assured majority, and he didn’t mention that out of the remaining 10 there are 8 which are under a legal obligation to join the euro at the earliest opportunity under their terms of accession to the EU.

    2. APL
      October 25, 2011

      Mick Anderson: “Mr Sarkozy made it clear that Mr Cameron is not welcome when he tried to “interfere” in matters relating to the single currency.”

      So much for being in the European Union to influence its decisions. Perhaps we missed the train on route to bankruptcy and utter destitution. Perhaps our host would like to ask that cheeky chappie Ken?

      Oh and yes, it’s the Euro Sarkozy is blabbering about, but you know, they’ll take our money and bankrupt us along with the French banks without so much as a ‘by your leave’.

      So perhaps we ought to have a say even if we aren’t in that particularly expensive club!

  6. Peter van Leeuwen
    October 25, 2011

    I managed to watch about 2 hours of your debate, feeling sorry for all these MPs being whipped and British eurosceptics being denied yet another referendum. A looming referendum in say 3 years from now could have strengthened your government’s hand in negotiating any repatriation of powers to Westminster. I must say that I also was disappointed that some MPs only have tabloid-deep knowledge and ideas about EU affairs. I predict an “a la carte” EU relationship for the UK developing over time. The UK won’t leave altogether.

    1. A different Simon
      October 25, 2011

      Peter ,

      Do you really feel sorry for M.P.’s who cave in to the whips and put their careers before the electorate at whose invitation they sit in the house ?

      I don’t see how these people are going to be any use when it comes to tackling the massive problems mankind faces .

      Think you are being way too kind to them .

    2. APL
      October 25, 2011

      Peter van Lueewen: ” .. and British eurosceptics being denied yet another referendum. ”

      We have had one* so yet another is something of an exageration.

      The Irish have had god knows how many, they were so lucky they got to have two on the same question. Perhaps in the interests of referendum harmonization across the EU we ought to have as many as the Irish before popular opinion is abolished once and for all in the European Union.

      What do you say Peter?

      *Or was it two, I never got the option to vote in the first one.

  7. Mike Stallard
    October 25, 2011

    The EU, from the very beginning has been undemocratic. In the late 1940s, a democratic body was set up which is still going. It is called the Council of Europe which is run, with a parliament at Strasbourg. It has a Declaration of Human Rights and a Court.

    Monnet and other politicians deliberately subverted it so that it no longer looked like the useless League of Nations but began to look like the United States. This was done, quite a lot, by subterfuge and trickery. But it succeeded. Today we have the United States of Europe with its own President and its own High (Foreign) Minister, its own currency (almost), its own Constitution/Treaty of Lisbon and its own parliament and Commissioners. Monnet’s legacy of working secretly and behind the scenes has proved really successful – until now.

    This has been going on for years. It is not democratic at all really and still depends on personal meetings and what I am going to call “intrigue”, by people who are not elected over the whole “country” of Europe and who quite often are not in any way checked up on.

    You are not going to change this by negotiation. Honestly, I really don’t think you are going to change it by intrigue either. Do you?

    I am a Catholic. The Vatican is headed up by his Holiness, the Pope. It rests on Cardinals and Bishops. Priests look after and live in their parishes. Everyone believes the same thing more or less. There are no elections. The Cardinals, even the Priests and Bishops, are pretty unaccountable. In no way is it a democracy. I like that very much. But, believe me, it will never magically turn into the CofE!

    1. uanime5
      October 25, 2011

      So you believe that having a Council composed of the leaders of European countries is better than a Parliament of MEPs elected by the people of the EU countries for the express purpose of making EU law? That’s a funny sort of democracy.

  8. Doppelganger
    October 25, 2011

    Well done John Redwood; an excellent speech by you. It was good to see there are some Conservative MPs in Parliament.

  9. Greg
    October 25, 2011

    No doubt now of Dave’s true colours. He’s anti democratic and pro EU. His fellow ministers are the same despite all the protestations over the years. The Lib Dems are liars and Labour is it’s usual statist, socialist self. The party system in this country is clearly not designed for the benefit of the people just of the elites.
    So we are left with 111 MPs that actually represent the people of this country. Well done to them.

    1. lifelogic
      October 25, 2011

      Indeed there is no doubt, at all, where Dave stands. He would not even allow a free vote – he is, metaphorically, now a used nappy as regards to the electorate and his future credibility. He cannot be leader at the next election he will have to go the sooner the better. Labour will offer a referendum, of some sort, at the next election – if they think they need to to win it.

      Cameron with then have no chance whatsoever of winning – particularly as he still does not even have a growth policy or growth in place.

      1. A different Simon
        October 25, 2011

        A disposable one at that .

        The way Sarkozy bent him over , much of the electorate is going to view him as a different item of single-use clothing .

    2. APL
      October 25, 2011

      Greg: “No doubt now of Dave’s true colours.”

      Gentlemen, the surprise is you are all surprised!

  10. Javelin
    October 25, 2011

    I’ve always been scared that the EU will do the opposite if what it is trying to achieve. The Euro is a good example. If you are worried about democracy now just wait until there is fiscal union. The arguments will be horrific, nasty and hatefull. The EU is an undemocratic bastion waiting to be taken over by a new (extreme-ed) party.

    1. Electro-Kevin
      October 25, 2011

      I don’t think you’re being hysterical here, Javelin.

      The aparatus will be in place and the zeitgeist has already shifted so much that everyone thinks we’re battling over the ‘centre’ ground. British politics is already way to the left in fact.

      We’re not allowed to say certain things – of perfect reasonableness – without censure or aspertions about our sanity. One already feels manipulated, restricted and without society (as opposed to within.) As though part of some renegade movement.

      Am I suffering delusions and paranoia ? No. Definitely not. Far from being alone I find myself in a bewildered majority. We are not making this up. The degree of persecution is quite manifest in the deployment of the three-line whip and the fact that some Conservative MPs felt the need to express their views incognito over the weekend.

      This act was offensive.

      Admittedly people dressing as John Bull or singing Rule Britannia do our argument great harm and play up to stereotypes of ‘Europhobe’ nutters. I wish they’d stop. That certainly isn’t the face of what I wish to stand for.

      I won’t be voting UKIP and I would sooner emigrate than ever vote BNP. However, the ruling establishment never credit people of my persuasion as being moderate.

      Truly I believe that we are hated.

      1. Electro-Kevin
        October 25, 2011

        At least the 81 have forced Mr Cameron to show us all where we stand.

    2. lifelogic
      October 25, 2011

      This is certainly a very real risk. There is very little democratic control in the EU to reign power in. In UK and elsewhere it seems power can be bought very cheaply from those that hold it with a few well pensioned jobs and the odd dinner and those who like the BBC who manipulate it can be influenced very cheaply.

  11. A David H
    October 25, 2011

    Thank you Mr redwood, for an excellent speech and several sensible interjections. I listened to nearly all of the debate and one might have imagined that the result of the vote would be a massive victory for the ayes ….. had one not been aware from the begining, that this would not be the case.

    Quite where this leaves Mr Cameron, democrasy, the EU, or the electorate, I’m not sure but some of us now have a better understanding of the people we pay to look after our interests.

  12. James Reade
    October 25, 2011

    Eurosceptics always claim x% public support for this and y% public support for that – based on what exactly? Some “representative sample”, some statistics? It’s funny how people conveniently forget all their qualms about statistics when the numbers support them, isn’t it? It’s also funny that despite supposedly 80% opposing this 3-line whip, I’m yet to speak to any of these 8 in 10 people… representative?

    Reply: This ignorance is typical of your comments. All the week-end independent polls showed overwhelming puboic opposition to the 3 line whips, and around 60-67% support for a referendum. What part of that do you not understand?

    1. lojolondon
      October 25, 2011

      James, not sure where you live and work (maybe in Brussels?). Perhaps you should read the Guardian, where they said 49% of people are against the EU, and only 42% in favour (hahaha).

      If it makes you feel better, I would say my friends and associates, at least 80% are against the EU. And 100% were against the three line whip, because it is demonstrably undemocratic and forced many MP’s to violate promises to their constituents.

      1. James Reade
        October 25, 2011

        lojolondon, I won’t reveal my location since I’m not totally sure I want people on here knowing that kind of information given how readily I’m attacked for simply pointing out some weaknesses in the stuff John posts.

        Suffice to say though, it’s not Brussels. Why is it you just assume I’m fervently pro-EU because I question John’s shoddy use of statistics regularly? I believe there’s a dramatic democratic deficit within the EU, but I don’t believe we do better outside of it, as many assert.

        Given you’re one for polls, how do you respond to the IPSOS-Mori issues index, which has the EU barely registering as an issue?

        1. Steven Whitfield
          October 26, 2011

          Mr Reade as you have been so critical of Mr Redwood’s and others use of ’figures’ lets look at how it would be sensible to estimate the proportion of people, in the Uk who would like a referendum on withdrawal from the EU.

          The argument that 1% – 4% of public opinion is concerned about the EU is so shot through with holes I can hardly be bothered to pass comment. . But since it is a mainstream argument that is often used by the Liberal elite I think I should.

          So what kind of research should we do ?
          Perhaps asking a random sample of say 1000 uk residents if they would like a referendum would be a good idea ?.
          Erm well no, not according to Mr Reade, this would be ‘fast and loose use of data’. So lets look at an alternative method of gauging opinion that he coverts as obviously I have missed something.

          What we should do instead is simply ask a sample of 1000 people the question ‘what they see as the most important issues? – and see if the EU pops up.
          The people would of course mention the issues that have an immediate impact on their day to day lives – next doors dog, the supermarket closing down, immigration, the state of the economy, high taxes, crime, unemployment, Aunt Aida’s dodgy leg etc.
          It’s not a little surprising that the faceless and remote EU hardly get a mention in this popularity competition.

          However, according to the doctrine of Mr Reade we could conclude that:-

          “When placed alongside issues like the economy, immigration, crime, health and unemployment people simply do not care about Europe.“

          This ludicrous biased argument ignores the fact that many of these issues all have the thread of our EU membership running through them. Immigration/high taxes/the EU are two sides of the same coin.

          So as an example of this twisted logic… if we wished to gauge the strength of opposition in a town to a new housing development ,I should simply ask a selection of random stranger what his/her main concerns… and note whether the housing development was mentioned ? . No of course not.

          This argument based on the Mori poll is akin to asking a seriously ill patient what his main concerns are. He may list , pain, not being around to be with loved ones etc.. But if the patient did not mention the word ‘cancer’, we could assume he wasn’t concerned about this condition. This is what this ridiculous argument amounts to if we follow the logic. Get a grip.

          Just over 70 years ago, men and women died to preserve what is at stake – our ability to control our own affairs. I find it amazing that you seem to make no distinction between this issue and any other.

          1. James Reade
            October 27, 2011

            Hi Steven,

            Appreciate the attempt to engage with what I’ve written. Appreciate less the tone and the quite obvious misuse of what I’ve written, but there are worse offenders on here!

            On the WWII sop, save it. I think those that fought in WWII would like to have thought that the resulting situation was one of peace between nations, where there were no barriers put up between nations, no fear and animosity between them. It’s optimistic, but one thing’s for sure: Stamping our feet and wanting out isn’t going to solve the problems the EU creates – it’ll still be there as a problematic political institution after we (hypothetically) leave. I am also a patriotic Brit, but I also think we should engage in Europe – stop making really lame accusations that I’m somehow less British because of that.

            Then on the whole polling thing: The point you’ve missed is this: Your polls that you describe would not be representative – interviewing strangers on the street, since we don’t all roam the streets in working days. It’s simple statistical theory like this, on the concept of a representative sample, that most folk who appeal to polls all the time (those on the extremes of the political spectrum like yourselves more than others) ignore.

            The simple point I’ll reiterate is that the polls are meaningless and you use them to cover up for weaknesses in your arguments. Save trying to convince someone about why the EU is a bad thing (other than your scare stories which are simply Daily Mail shoddy journalism on the whole – I’m yet to find a persuasive argument that we should be on the outside).

            The big problem with what you write about how 4% becomes 70% is this: If people did agree with you that the EU was the driving force behind all those other problems and more pressing issues, they aren’t think you know. They’d list it. The fact is you guys haven’t made strong enough arguments to convince them. The fact is Westminster does a perfectly good job of buggering about with domestic affairs without the EU coming along to help out.

            To repeat your suggestion to me: Get a grip. Rely on strong arguments not polls and you may start making progress.

          2. Steven Whitfield
            October 28, 2011

            For someone who is so high minded over the alleged ’misuse’ of what he has written, Mr Reade’s posting’s never cease to amaze me. I think he has managed to exceed his own usually low standards of fairness this time.

            I wonder why didn’t the brave men and women that fought in WWII roll over meekly and support the policy of appeasement if peace and ’barriers’ were the only issues at stake. Thank god they didn’t and fought for freedom ,independence and ultimately peace.

            My position (that you refuse to acknowledge) was that if you want to know the answer to a question – you ask that question!…. and yes you must be careful to make sure the sample is representative.

            ICM came to the same conclusion and their latest poll showed that 70% of the country care enough to want a referendum on membership, published on October 25th.
            Why would anyone volunteer to spend an hour or two walking to some dingy polling station if they didn’t care ?

            Where is the evidence of ‘scare stories’ that are simply Daily Mail ‘shoddy journalism’. Can you give examples ?.

            I think the truth is any poll that doesn’t fit in with Mr Reade’s prejudices is by default meaningless.

            Who is ’on the extremes of the political spectrum here’ – Mr Reade has seemingly so closed his mind that he believes ‘ I’m yet to find a persuasive argument that we should be on the outside’ .(of the EU)
            Really you cannot think of a single argument – isn’t that a bit ‘extreme’ to suggest EU membership is such a great deal there are no drawbacks. ?

          3. James Reade
            October 28, 2011

            No Steven. I believe ANY poll to be meaningless because of the likelihood of it actually being representative. Sure, for exit polls you have something to measure it against – the actual outturn – but here, what? You can’t ever know if it was accurate, and certainly having a referendum won’t answer it.

            I’m happy to acknowledge your point about asking questions via referenda, but then please in return answer me this: If you believe things that only 4% of people even bother to list as important (ok, it may be higher, but it’s somewhere between 4% and 70% and who actually knows what it is?!) should be put to a referendum, that’s a recipe for a lot of referenda.

            And that’s hardly a fiscally conservative strategy now, is it?

            And to answer your final question, again you misrepresent me (so much for how “fair” you supposedly are, and “unfair” I supposedly am). I didn’t say outside the EU in its current form, I mean outside the EU in the form it ought to be – promoting a common market for trade and hopefully breaking down barriers to that (e.g. immigration – bet you’re against that and want a few barriers there eh?). Isolating ourselves is never a good strategy.

            But the point is that polls are meaningless, everything else is distraction.

    2. Electro-Kevin
      October 25, 2011

      James – Why don’t we have a referendum to find out ?

      1. James Reade
        October 25, 2011

        Why waste so much money on something 1% of the electorate cares about?

        By your logic we should have referenda on every particular issue.

        We elect governments to make decisions on our behalf over periods of time, we don’t vote on every little thing every subset of the population may think or want at some point in time.

        1. Steven Whitfield
          October 25, 2011

          This is no ordinary issue as the referendum deniers like to claim. I can only assume that James Reade despises his own country so much he wishes to see it controlled by remote unelected officials.

          Mr Cameron and his concrete headed friends in the Liberal party think they own the system but they do not .
          Our democratic traditions and freedoms are not some plaything or bargaining chip for them to use as they see fit. The system belongs to the people – not the ruling elite.

          Correcting this is what the referendum is all about in my view.

          1. Electro-Kevin
            October 25, 2011

            Further to this response by Stephen (and in response to James)

            The progress of the EU constitutes such a dramatic transfer of power and sovereignty that we should not have to petition our representatives for a say. It should not matter what level of interest of the votership has.

            This issue needs to be discussed and we certainly shouldn’t have a Prime Minister closing down the debate.

            ‘By your logic we should have referenda on every particular issue.’

            And by your logic we should ignore all minority issues.

          2. James Reade
            October 26, 2011

            Interesting that debates cannot be had here without me having to deal with various slanderous accusations. I didn’t mind having my location questioned, but being accused of hating my country because I question the fast and loose use of data by those blinded by ideology? No thank you. Get a grip people.

            As I say, if the issue is so important, why haven’t elections been fought on it? Why are only 4% of the population even listing it as an issue? And again the question – if you don’t like that poll, why is it different to the rest?

            I know it’s really hard for you guys to grasp, but I’m not some euro-zealot. There’s plenty wrong with the EU, substantial democractic deficit (but, Steven, how do you feel about the Bank of England conducting monetary policy? They are unelected), but an in-out referendum is not the answer just as we don’t have a referendum on everything else higher on the list of things voters list as major issues.

            And just because I point out John’s judicious use of polls, doesn’t mean I’ve revealed all my own opinions on Europe and everything to do with it.

        2. APL
          October 26, 2011

          James Reade: “By your logic we should have referenda on every particular issue.”

          James, what an excellent idea. Lets follow the Swiss example.

          James Reade: “We elect governments to make decisions on our behalf over periods of time”

          Yea but when the politicians form a class of their own and start following their own agenda then we are no longer living in a democracy.

          1. James Reade
            October 27, 2011

            APL – true about politicians forming their own class, but the bottom line is that the system we have allows for others to enter the system and present an alternative. Everyone has their criticisms with the democracy we have (and even democracy per se), but the fact is governments aren’t single issue governments nor should they be. Some parties (I’m thinking UKIP in particular) did set themselves up in 2010 on a fairly narrow basis – getting out of the EU, yet they bombed – why is that?

            The solution may be to have more frequent polls, but then the Americans vote on almost everything and I don’t think they feel particularly more enamoured towards their electoral system, right?

    3. norman
      October 25, 2011

      You should probably get out more if you never meet anyone who thinks that MPs should be little more than cannon fodder for the whips.

      1. James Reade
        October 25, 2011

        Thanks Norman. I just question the accuracy of the polls people use, and also their judicious selection of the polls they want to use (i.e. the ones that tell them what they want to hear).

    4. James Reade
      October 25, 2011

      My ignorance eh John? I’m sorry, I’m just a sceptic with regard polls, and nothing you can say will alter that.

      Test case for you: How you you react to the Ipsos-MORI issues index poll? 1% of voters believe it’s the most important issue, 4% list it as an issue. We had a debate yesterday because 100,000 people signed a petition (that’s <1% of population). Come on John, what's wrong with these polls? What makes these unrepresentative and yours so representative?

      In the meantime, stop calling me ignorant John – I'd expect better from an elected politician. I understand about statistics, but I'm concerned you don't.

      Reply: Issue polls record faithfully people’s answers to those questions. The EU encomapsses issues like jobs and inflation which are b ig issues.

      1. James Reade
        October 25, 2011

        To carry on, have you looked into how accurate these polls are, and in particular the weekend polls you mention? Who has looked into this? I’m genuinely intrigued and would be delighted to get links from you on this. I’m hugely sceptical that such polls, particularly over such a short period of time can be even close to accurate – especially since we can never actually measure the true amount of people bothered about these issues.

        I do just find it intriguing though how people on either side of the political spectrum latch onto any evidence that supports their prior prejudice, and try to argue everything else away.

        You’ve shown impressive wriggle-ability in the past John, I would be very interested to see how you square this glaring contradiction.

        Because if 1% of people care enough to list the EU as the main issue, and only 4% as an issue per se, then it takes something incredible to then believe 70% want a referendum on something they don’t actually care about.

        Reply: You normally revere established professionals. These polls are representative samples that are usually reliable at forecasting voting intentions and viewpoints.

        1. Electro-Kevin
          October 25, 2011

          James – The debate was triggered by petition under a system set up by our PM. A sizeable amount of elected representatives in our Parliament have shown themselves to be Eurosceptic and despite attempts to intimidate them – others have, understandably, succumbed to that intimidation.

          I don’t really see what the issue with polls has to do with this debate.

          It would seem to me that you don’t favour this issue being discussed at all which is why you might seek to debunk any polls which may show a majority at odds with your own beliefs.

          1. James Reade
            October 26, 2011

            Electro-Kevin, far from it. Please go back and read what I wrote. I question other people and their judicious use of polls, and wonder why they choose particular ones that suit their own opinions.

            I haven’t got an issue with things being debated, what I have a BIG issue with is the judicious (misleading) use of supposed facts to support an argument. I keep pointing it out here on John’s blog because he is a serial offender. He is yet to defend the use of one poll over the other, or explain how 4% becomes 70% – although I’m yet to get as far down as his response to my comments yesterday so I am yet hoping he will.

            To reiterate, I’m not the one dismissing polls that don’t support my beliefs. John is doing that, and so are you I suspect. I’m pointing out the existence of those ones you guys all dismiss without any reasonable basis.

        2. James Reade
          October 25, 2011

          How can you possibly know they are accurate at reflecting viewpoints?

          And if so, then why aren’t you trumpeting the poll that says only 1% of the population are bothered enough to list the EU as their main concern?

          How on earth can 1% of the population list that as their main concern, 4% list it at all, yet 70% want a referendum on something they don’t care about?

          Seriously, how?

          1. Electro-Kevin
            October 25, 2011

            James – What is your position ? Do you think a referendum should be discussed or not ?

            As a highly qualified economist do you not think the issue important enough ?

            Put aside the issue of populism for one moment.

            (It would seem that most polls reflecting populist feeling are ignored anyway – immigration, hanging, bankers …)

          2. James Reade
            October 26, 2011

            In reply to Electro-Kevin (always seem to get to the limits of the “reply” button on here it seems):

            My position is as I listed above – there is a democratic deficit, there are issues with Europe – there are no perfect institutions, within the UK, Europe or anywhere, and we should always seek to as best possible remedy them. Having a in/out referendum, us stamping our feet here won’t help in making progress on these issues. Get at the table where decisions are made, don’t just stand outside waving your placards. That’s my take.

            But my take isn’t the point here: My take is the judicious use of polls, as I’ve written plenty of times, yet nobody is ever justifying their use of the polls that suit their own prejudices around here (or on the left too for that matter).

        3. James Reade
          October 25, 2011

          Almost missed the bit about revering established professionals – nice try. Economists study the economy, pollsters ask questions – but are the questions relevant? I don’t doubt the polling companies do a good job at recording what people say to them. But how are these people chosen? At random? How can what they say be representative?

          But the bottom line is this: IPSOS Mori says 4% care about the EU, so 70% cannot want a referendum. This just shows how wildly differing different poll outcomes can be – what can we really trust here, exactly?

          I question all judicious uses of data to make obviously weak arguments.

          Something you seem really rather adept at John.

        4. forthurst
          October 25, 2011

          “Because if 1% of people care enough to list the EU as the main issue, and only 4% as an issue per se, then it takes something incredible to then believe 70% want a referendum on something they don’t actually care about.”

          What is disingenuous is to suggest that the higher prority issues of the British people are unrelated to the EUSSR: joblessness, crime and punishment, the economy, energy prices etc. What is deceitful are polling questions that fail to establish that clear link that manifestly exists before asking the question.

          1. James Reade
            October 26, 2011

            Good – an attempt to seriously engage the question!

            But all based on pure speculation – that the EU is somehow causing these issues. Revealing your prejudice and why we won’t make any progress debating here.

            Hate to say it but it entirely confirms my suspicion. You use the data to support what you thought in the first place. You’re not prepared to learn from it, to understand it. And that’s where we differ.

            Reply: Your constant carping tone and lack of positive alternatives means I am not normally going to reply, as people get the drift of your intent.

          2. James Reade
            October 27, 2011

            John, that’s really appalling. All I’m doing is questioning your judicious use of data, and poor use of economics. Can you not handle that?

            I really expected more of a politician, someone who I saw at a debate years ago while I was an Undergraduate at Durham who appeared to be someone keen on having debates.

            I never expected behaviour like this. I’ve never used bad language, all I’ve done is carry on making the points you don’t address.

        5. alan jutson
          October 25, 2011


          I have just counted up our list of friends, who we see on a regular basis, I am also a member of a large charitable voluntary organisation where we meet on a monthly basis.

          Out of the 54 people I meet regularly, not a single person wants to be part of the EU as it stands at the moment, not a single person has ever taken part in a mori poll or something similar, and it appears I was the only one to sign the pledge.

          Statistics can be manipulated in many ways, the only true answer is when you give a very large sample the opportunity to answer a question in writing.

          The largest sample to test is the popuilatuion, in a referendum.

          Providing of course equal air time is given to both sides of the argument, and the question asked is a fair one.

          We had a referendum on a stupid voting system, we could just as easily had at the same time, a referendum question on the EU at little additional cost.

          The truth is power corrupts, and we do not have a true democracy operating when three line whips and threats are used, to pressure Mp’s to vote in a particular way.
          Sure as eggs are eggs if I was threatened by the whips I would tell them their fortune, I guarantee they would not bother me again.

          1. James Reade
            October 26, 2011

            Hi Alan, it’s nice to get a message from someone that doesn’t include some assumption about me and addresses the points I’ve made – thanks!

            Impressive job totalling up the ppl you meet regularly and their opinions – of course, and this isn’t meant to belittle you at all, but it’s not a representative sample, important as those individual views are.

            You also make an interesting point about the referendum being the only real way to get a good feel for what people think. However, that fails too because not everyone votes, hence the people in the sample are those motivated to turn out. Compulsory voting, combining with other votes, etc., are all ideas about trying to improve on the situation, but the bottom line is even if everyone is forced to vote, you won’t necessarily get their opinion.

            What am I driving at? I’m driving at the complete and utter vacuousness of this “public opinion” line trotted out by politicians ALL the time, without fail. Polls say x, polls say y, z% support my belief, etc. All totally bogus. Probably partly a product of the 24 hour news culture this, since the reality is if an MP isn’t upholding the will of his or her constituents they will be voted out.

            I’m just tired of politicians on both sides (I don’t like it when any politician not just a right-wing one does it) playing this game to somehow give weight to their arguments.

            There are issues with the EU, and I think I’d be with your friends to be honest Alan – the EU as it stands is very flawed and needs reforming. But it’s there, and by departing from it we won’t somehow become independent and insulated from it – we’ll still be subject to all its rules and regulations if we want to trade with anyone within it. So why not instead engage with the beast instead of shaking our fists on the outside?

      2. James Reade
        October 25, 2011

        If they are big issues, why aren’t people reporting that they are big issues then?

        Glaring contradiction. You seem to be struggling to get around it.

        1. alan jutson
          October 25, 2011


          Because its so bloody obvious.

          Do you really think that the EU does not have any effect on the economy, jobs, regulation, and our financial budgets in the UK.

          The whole point of the EU is to have its influence over such matters and many others, in all Country’s who are members.
          If you do not recognise that, then quite simply there is no point in further discussion.

          1. A different Simon
            October 26, 2011

            James is clearly on a wind up .

            I’m surprised he got as many replies as he did .

          2. James Reade
            October 26, 2011

            Hi again Alan, and “A different Simon”.

            I’m not on a wind up, I’m asking a serious question, and Alan makes an attempt to get beneath it, as does one person above.

            Alan, I definitely see your point, but the problem is going from one to the other – the link isn’t obvious. Politicians in Westminster do just as bad a job at creating regulations that get in the way of businesses doing what they’d like to do – selling products to willing buyers.

            If it was clearly the EU causing all these other things, then I think people would actually list the EU above them as they would see the problem as the EU and not the individual (supposed) symptoms.

            So I think my point holds, which is that people see other economy-wide issues at more important.

            But I would like to set out what my vision of Europe is just to avoid future slanders of my name. The benefit of Europe that I think actually John would go along with is the creating of a single market. Clearly, ideally, this would be even larger than just Europe. But if we could trade with folk all over the place without any barriers to trade (subsidies, tariffs whatever they are), that’s an unmitigated good thing and would go along way to solving our export growth issues.

            Now the EU in current form sets out to do that, but lays on other things that are less beneficial – the CAP being one glaring, perennial example. But sticking up our fingers and having a vote to say how much we don’t like it won’t change that – the entity called the EU will still exist if and when we exit it.

            The point though is this: I’m not making appeals to polls to make my arguments. It’s lazy on top of being misleading. Let’s get to debating the actual issues beneath, without appealing to this mythical “public opinion”.

          3. alan jutson
            October 26, 2011


            The vote requested on the referendum had the option that you request, to negotiate new terms.

            The thing that got under my skin, was the three line whip of all of the Party’s deliberately applied, to kill the request dead, and exclude any debate at all, where had it gone through they woul have had to make an argument for their case.

            All that happened was democracy through the petition system which they (the government) set up for the purpose, was killed off.
            So I have just signed another, if the EU can ask again, then so can we.
            If it wastes government time, all the better, perhaps it will teach them a lesson.

            Reply: The Backbench Business Committee will not re-run the debate and vote as soon as you get to another 100,000 names. There is no reason to think Labour and Liberal MPs and Conservative Coalition Ministers would suddenly change their minds.

  13. Roger
    October 25, 2011

    Well done John and the other brave patriots who were prepared to put the country before themselves and defy the whips.
    It was the best debate I have watched in years with the argument being well won, but unfortunatley the vote lost.
    The people deserve a vote on this issue and will not be denied.
    Keep up the good work.

  14. Gary
    October 25, 2011

    Well done to the MPs who voted “yes”. Most of the rest are cowards.

    What the cowards do not realise is that their job they are trying to protect will be gone once the voters get at them in an election. Those MPs don’t trust the people, they don’t care about the people’s voice. If they don’t believe in democracy, they may yet get a timely prod. Problem is in, this so-called democracy, we only have a real say every 5 years, and even then it is a choice between 3 pro-EU sock puppets installed by the establishment.

  15. Bryan
    October 25, 2011

    My local MP is Charlie Elphicke.

    On his website re the Europe he has a detailed statement which could have been written by you Mr Redwood.

    He voted against his beliefs and the motion.

    Treating the voters with contempt is too mild an expression!

    I hope he enjoys the patronage.

    Bye Charlie

  16. A.Sedgwick
    October 25, 2011

    Well done to your goodself and fellow supporters of the motion, for as said numerous times that was all it was and made the 3 line whips even more Stalinist.

    Just to emphasise a point I made a few weeks ago and countering what the Member for North Dorset said, who I think refused your interruption – there is no way the EU has stopped another European war. Without the nuclear deterrent the Soviet Union would have attempted to overrun the continent well before 1957 when the Treaty of Rome was signed. This was another example of mis-information, which you countered on several occasions.

  17. Caterpillar
    October 25, 2011

    From the outside it seems that the Govt and Opposition have made a stupendous error. As the BoE/MPC have put all the recovery eggs in the export basket, so this Govt and Opposition have put all the renegotiation eggs into the basket of the EZ becoming closer and the opportunity arising. I remain surprised at the inability of our economic and political leaders to understand either diversification or flexibility. The Govt&Opposition had the chance to leave a free vote, perhaps even quietly support it, achieve a ‘yes’ and it would have been sitting in the background ready to be used if needed.

    I assume the PM will indicate the detail of a future UK-EU renegotiation at the end of this week – he should not be allowed to talk the sceptic talk, but not walk the walk.

    (Good speech JR, well done to Iain Dale on LBC at dipping in at just the right moment to broadcast it, and well done to DAB radio allowing London centricity to be heard elsewhere in the UK)

    Reply: Thanks

  18. ms m davies
    October 25, 2011

    Thank you Mr Redwood!

  19. scottspeig
    October 25, 2011


    Thank you for standing your ground.

    I have just informed my MP that he will never get my vote. Nor will the Conservative party until you have an honourable man at the helm. (To me, honourable men do not bully nor intimidate others unlike your so called leader)

  20. Andy
    October 25, 2011

    Glad to have you as my MP, disgusted by this result and the three-line whip.

  21. Sue
    October 25, 2011

    I’m disappointed, but can’t say that I’m really surprised. (Increasingly the party colours are merging into one murky mess! There is not much discernable difference anymore, 81 Conservatives the exception.)

    What I would like to know is when are these truly independent Conservatives going to take the bold step out to form a party that I can support in the next elections? Clearly I can no longer trust or vote for my local conservative MP who has just very nicely demonstrated that his career comes first before concerns of his constituents! I had such hopes last elections.. My first ever Conservative vote it was too! But unless much changes, it’ll be my last.

  22. David Cooper
    October 25, 2011

    I have just submitted the following to ConHome and it is IMHO a worthy tribute here too: –

    Simon Heffer’s biography of Enoch Powell “Like The Roman” includes the text of a letter that Powell sent to John Redwood after his challenge to John Major’s leadership: –

    “You will never regret the events of the last week or two. Patience will evidently have to be exercised – and patience is the greatest of the political virtues – by those of us who want to keep Britain independent and self governed.”

    In looking for a tribute to pay to The 81, it will be difficult to improve upon these words as they stand.

  23. oldtimer
    October 25, 2011

    I was out and about most of yesterday so unable to follow the debate and just heard the result of the vote. Can you provide further analysis of the Conservative vote, in particular the way the payroll vote split versus the backbencher vote?

    As an outsider looking in, the imposition of three line whips on this motion bodes ill for the future of motions inspired by e-petitions. Much more of this and they will be discredited before they get off the ground. Presumably that is the intent of the three party leaders. They can`t have the pesky electorate having a say in the affairs of state; they know best what is good for the rest of us.

    My message to them is this. Think again. Unless they do, it is but a matter of time before we witness some defenestrations from the ivory tower that is our Parliament..

    Reply: Allthe payroll vote voted against the motion, save the 2 PPSs who resigned to vote for. Just under half the backbench party voted for the motion or abstained.

    1. APL
      October 25, 2011

      JR: “All the payroll vote voted against the motion, save the 2 PPSs who resigned to vote for. Just under half the backbench party voted for the motion or abstained.”

      There you have in a nutshell the corruption and degradation of modern British democracy.

      Half of the MPs elected to parliament to represent their constituents actually represent the Party, their income is in the gift of the Party.

  24. Steve Cox
    October 25, 2011

    Personally, I think the important point here is how the whole affair was (mis- or over-) managed. The result, we all knew, was not binding on the government, so why not just treat is as a jolly good chance for MP’s to blow off some steam, and let everyone have their honest say in a fair and free vote at the end? Instead, Cameron, Clegg and Miliband had to impose a 3 line whip which was totally unnecessary. This was an episode that would have been better suited to the Great Hall Of The People in Beijing rather than Westminster. It was a shameful day for British democracy, and if Cameron does not realise the damage that this has done both to himself and our Parliamentary system in the eyes of many ordinary people, then he is comatose.

    I can comprehend his logic, but I cannot sympathise with it. Clearly, it was a stitch-up between the 3 main parties so that there will be none of the old ‘clear blue water’ between them, on Europe at least, come the next election. People will have to make up their minds who to vote for based on other issues, not on fundamental differences about the EU. However, this morning I have received 3 e-mails from friends who have all written to their MP’s to express their disgust, and to promise that at the next election they will not be voting for any of the main parties. I fully understand their sentiments, and feel much the same way. A shame on all three party leaders, but a double shame on David Cameron for his prevarication, duplicity and downright foolishness on this issue.

  25. David Eyles
    October 25, 2011

    I watched the debate last night for a couple of hours and two things struck me. The first is that the standard of debate was exceptionally high for many speakers. The second thing is that Cameron has made an apalling mistake in taking on his own backbenchers, his own party and, possibly, a majority of the country at large.

    The Conservative party is unique in the UK Parliament in its ability, courage and willingness to replace its leader if that leader loses the support of both the Party and the Country. That is pretty well what happened to Margaret Thatcher whilst still at the height of her governmental powers; and she was a far better Prime Minister and Parliamentarian than Cameron will ever be. As Europe descends into further economic and administrative chaos, the demands for a referendum will grow louder, regardless of any putative treaty change triggering this or that option. It is time for Cameron to step down from his pedestal and find out what democracy is really about.

    Out of the speeches I listened to, the one that caused me most surprise was yours John. When the Deputy Speaker called your name, I was expecting your usual measured, calm rationality. I did not expect the fluent passion tinged (I felt) with anger. You spoke on behalf of many of us. Congratulations.

    Reply Thank you. I have always felt passionately about my country and its democracy.

    1. Steven Whitfield
      October 25, 2011

      Agreed, last night’s speech was John Redwood at his best – expressing the rage of the British people who feel they have been denied a voice.

  26. Publius
    October 25, 2011

    Bravo, John.

    1. Richard
      October 25, 2011

      Thank you Mr Redwood for your excellent contribution to the debate and for your consistent efforts to enable us to have a referendum on this issue.

      What amazed me was the poor political judgement of Mr Cameron, because if he had simply allowed a free vote he would probably still have won the debate, but he would have showed up the two opposition parties as being undemocratic whilst increasing his party’s popularity and improving his chances of success when negotiating in the EU.
      He is plainly very badly advised by his staff in Number 10.

    2. sm
      October 25, 2011

      Well spoken to JR and others.

      I watched for 2 hours and was struck by the very weak arguments against the referendum motion? Also the noise of those coming late to the debate was not a good image. (Should alcohol be prohibited at parliament or MP’s be randomly screened or similar for a Drug & Alcohol test before voting?)
      I note even the Speaker joined at around 9pm not attending the full debate. Cameo performances for most MP’s.

      What happens when another e-petition thumps on the virtual desk? They will keep coming- what will be the response sorry this is a EU competence?

      Only 19 Labour MP’s rebelled! against Ed Milliband.That is truly scary stuff for a supposed democracy.

      The Libdems and Cameron are just unspeakable? Talk about electoral suicide pacts.What is Cameron’s game plan? What is he waiting for? Financial Armageddon?

      One MP spoke about just overuling bits we did not like and letting the EU lump it? Very pragmatic but not with a Federalist parliament effective 2 party system.

      So tell me who will trust any of the current party structures? Anomie is here.

      Perhaps we have to wait for the EU to implode taking Cameron et al – along with our unimportant views and wishes.

      How can any of the 3 main parties recover from this?

  27. Brian Tomkinson
    October 25, 2011

    There are some impressive MPs but none of them occupies either front bench. I listened to Gove waffling desperately in answer to questions from John Humphrys on repatriation of powers from the EU on ‘Today’ this morning. Clearly nothing is going to be done about this during the life of this government. We also know quite unequivocally that Cameron and Hague are content with the EU as it is and the talk of repatriation of powers is totally disingenuous. Pretending to be eurosceptic as so many do is just another affront to our intelligence.

  28. Peter Lavington
    October 25, 2011

    John – I think that at long last there are definite signs of change afoot regarding UK v EU. Last night showed that there are a considerable number of Con MP’s who understand the situation. However, with Cameron and Clegg in place we all no nothing will happen. I always voted for you when I lived in Wokingham and you and your fellow like minded MP’s keep increasing majorities. My current MP is pro EU so I always vote UKIP now. I and I would expect the vast majority of ex Conservative voters would love to see you defect to UKIP. You know that your MP career will go nowhere with Cameron in charge. Could you ever consider resigning your seat and stand again in Wokingham for UKIP? I’m certain you would win easily. This would give a chance for your fellow MP’s to join you and form a block of 100? UKIP MP’s. Yes, it will destroy the Conservative party but they have brought it all on themselves. I realise you cannot give an answer here but I await developments with interest…..

    Reply I have no intention of doing that. I had to defeat a UKIP candidate at the Election, so why would I want now to join them?

  29. roger
    October 25, 2011

    Excellent speech. Thank you John.

  30. william
    October 25, 2011

    Since 2005,I,like a large number of my rural neighbours,have paid a hefty annual sub to the party.It is plain bad manners for the leadership to refuse any sort of democratic consultation on this issue,which would have produced a 70/30 In vote and a like score for renegotiation(however difficult).The status quo is not acceptable.A political leader and party that does not listen to its hardcore supporters is creating problems for itself.

  31. Electro-Kevin
    October 25, 2011

    Thank you, John. Please extend our thanks to the other MPs too. You’ve done us a great service.

    I am struck that the Federalists don’t proffer the argument that they already have their mandate through the election by the public of Europhile MPs.

    Either they haven’t thought about it or they know that it isn’t a real mandate at all. I feel that the former is probably the case as they’re known for using every trick in the book.

  32. Simon 123
    October 25, 2011

    Thank you John for the action you have taken. My own Conservative MP voted against the referendum.

    The EU panjandrums cannot screw up the Euro in the way they have done and expect ‘business as usual’ or the right to assume even greater powers. It is patently obvious with every day that goes by that they do not know how to solve the problem.

    Mr. Cameron needs (if the Liberal Democrats will allow it) to show leadership amongst the EU’s non-Euro members and protect British interests as the disaster unfolds. There is a huge gap between the views of the British political elite and the electorate on this issue.

    We also need a more responsible media – it is not good enough to depict the public’s desperation with the EU and the lack of a referendum simply as a ‘split in the Conservative Party’. It might suit the Left-liberal majority in the BBC high command to do this but it is flawed journalism and in breach of the charter.

    1. A different Simon
      October 25, 2011

      Yep , the media reporting was a disgrace .

      Media have abdicated the vital role they are supposed to play in a democracy .

  33. Bryan
    October 25, 2011

    Am I correct in thinking the Mr Eustace did not vote for the motion?

    Supports the PM inspired conspiracy theory if he didn’t!

    Reply I believe he abstained. I will get the division lists posetd, as this was a defining vote.

    1. Bryan
      October 25, 2011

      You are correct – he did

      Still a cop-out!

    2. martin sewell
      October 25, 2011

      Aechbishop Cranmer has posted the list .

    3. Steven Whitfield
      October 25, 2011

      Mr Eustace talked a good game ,but in the end he put a government Daimler before his country.

      Shame on him.

  34. A different Simon
    October 25, 2011

    What are peoples opinions of the media reporting of this ?

    – 5 live had a phone in yesterday asking how people would vote if they had a referendum .
    -a deliberate attempt to obscure the real issue which was whether parliament had a right to deny the electorate a say in constitutional issues ?

    – BBC news at 10 (which I avoid) did their usual job of reporting the news item with a BBC slant .
    – nothing at all about the people having their say , everything about the difficulties “rebels” cause Cameron .
    – in conclusion the BBC are not fulfilling the role media are required to play in a democracy of warning us of threats to democracy .

    Radio 3 , BBC4 and Sports Report are probably worth the license fee alone but I wish the rest of it would be floated off , especially the excuse for news . For years we were lead to believe the BBC stood for quality journalism now it seems you have to tune to Al Jazeera to find it .

    The Times in their editorial before the last election recommended the Conservatives and Cameron partly because they would repatriate powers . Yesterday they said the motion should be voted down and the answer was political negotiation .
    – another organisation to add to the growing list of phoney euro sceptics

    1. uanime5
      October 25, 2011

      Due to the Supremacy of Parliament Parliament has every right to do whatever it wants.

      The role of the media is to report the news, not make it. Given how few people vote at least 50% of the population wouldn’t have cared about the referendum even if it was allowed.

      1. APL
        October 25, 2011

        uanime5: “Due to the Supremacy of Parliament Parliament has every right to do whatever it wants.”

        Supremacy of Parliament? Use it or lose it!!

      2. A different Simon
        October 26, 2011

        If I understand correctly you are stating that the media may not have considered the vote in parliament as being newsworthy .

        Since they did choose to report it , d0n’t you think they should have reported it factually rather than with a bias towards the status quo ?

  35. Cliff. Wokingham.
    October 25, 2011

    As my MP, may I thank you for your perfomance and principled stand in the house yesterday; the day democracy died in this country.

    I hope this sorry farce in the HoC demonstarted, to those not interested in politics, how our political system has gone down hill over the last couple of decades or so.
    I watched a couple of hours of the debate and was impressed with many of the views expressed by members on both sides of the house but sadly, far too many people chose to put the will of their party leader ahead of the will of those that sent them to the house.

    Again, well done John and thanks.

    Reply: Thanks for your kind words. It is my duty and my pleasure, to put the case for UK democracy. I think we did light a flame yesterday. The government has changed its words and tone today – we now need to get them to take some aciton.

  36. Michael Read
    October 25, 2011

    To split, or not to split.

    Newspapers full of the stuff this morning reporting that the vote has separated Cameron from his party.

    As a tactical agnostic, suspicious of your euroscepticism because of your previous stances on the nation’s trees and £10k a year tuition fees, I was wondering the following: What was the calculation being made to support a rebellion that could lead to your own destruction?

    Leave all principles aside. Everyone loves ’em. My reading is that Cameron gambled that the principled ones would blink or suffer a bout of amnesia when faced with the alternative of weakening their party. You didn’t … but at a terrible cost.

    God help us. The comrades could get back in the reckoning.

    Reply: This debate was not about the Conservative party, which overwhelmingly supports the position I share, but about the national interest and the public will.

    1. A different Simon
      October 26, 2011

      Sorry , what terrible cost ?

      Terrible cost for the Conservative party , individual MP’s ?

      Try telling our soldiers out in Afganisatan that there has been a terrible cost associated with defying a 3 line whip .

  37. niconoclast
    October 25, 2011

    Could not believe Mr Redwood urging closer federalist fiscal monetary union re the EU on radio 4 this morning. If this man is a Eu skeptic what do EU philes look like? Or was he just being all nuancey and too clever by three quarters? He was talking about redistribution of wealth from rich to poor countries for Chrissakes..Mr Red.Explain yourself!

    Reply: I said there are 2 options from here – Gearmany exits and creates DM, my preferred solution, or Germany and others integrate more and Germany pays more of the bills – EU’s preferred solution. Either way I want a a new relationship for the UK.

  38. Alan Wheatley
    October 25, 2011

    Some who spoke in opposition to the motion argued that it should not be supported because it was not in their party’s manifesto at the last election. Of course it wasn’t: there is not going to be a petition asking for government to do what they said they were going to do. The whole point of a petition is to promote a change of policy, not to endorse current policy.

    It would, of course, be entirely reasonable to argue against such a change on its merits, but to argue against on the basis that the motion is change is to fail to see the point. Or perhaps it was a failure of thought; in which case dutifully trooping through the No lobby would be sufficient. There would then have been more opportunity on the floor of the House for those who had a more worthwhile contribution to make.

  39. pete
    October 25, 2011

    I just hope this sorry episode doesn’t lead to labour coming back in. I can see one argument that perhaps this isn’t the best time to have a debate, but then again if it wasn’t a binding vote, why go the need to down the 3 line whip dictat route by the 3 main parties?

    Given the importance of this issue what is the harm of letting parliament speak freely to get a true feel of what MPs and their constituents are saying? I thought that was the idea of a parliamentary democracy.

  40. Neil Craig
    October 25, 2011

    By my count 56 MPs didn’t vote at all – on 3 line whips all round. A handful may have been ill and another handful flying to the Commonwealth conference or otherwise busy. Including them we get to 110-120. With 307 Conservative MPs and up to 100 assorted ministers PPS’s etc that looks like a majority of Conservative backbenchers defying a 3 line whip to a greater or lesser extent.

    Perhaps we will see the issue debated at the party conference, after all conferences are supposed to exist to confer. We certainly would if the party were a living political orgnisation rather than a media prop.

    1. APL
      October 26, 2011

      Neil Craig: ” By my count 56 MPs didn’t vote at all .. ”

      Gordon Brown perhaps? He is hardly in Westminster at all these days.

  41. Lindsay McDougall
    October 25, 2011

    It is now clear, if we ever doubted it, that the 2013 budget will be the last occasion that the Con – LibDem coalition is of the slightest value. Do let the Prime minister know this. If he ignores the message, then the electorate will send him another one in 2014 by making UKIP the largest UK party in the European parliament. The mood is hardening – no more water, the fire next time.

  42. Rob
    October 25, 2011

    A huge fan of John, and the bits I heard were heartwarming. If I lived in Wokingham he would assuredly have my vote, as I know he will not be bullied into giving up his beliefs by the whips.

    But unfortunately I don’t, and what choices do I really have at the ballot box?

    a) no referendum, blue rosette
    b) no referendum, red rosette
    c) no referendum, yellow rosette

    It’s no choice at all. Which is why last time I voted UKIP and this next time I’ll also be voting UKIP. I appreciate it’s likely a wasted vote but it’s a wasted vote no matter which rosette I put my tick against. This representative democracy we have doesn’t seem either representative or democratic to me. I despair.

    1. Bob
      October 25, 2011

      Voting for an MP who ignores his constituents and just follows orders is a wasted vote.

      If you vote for someone other that the main parties (aka the three card trick), your vote may make the difference between someone keeping or losing their £500 deposit, and for the smaller parties and independents without huge financial backers it could make the difference between them persevering or quitting. So if you want to have the choice of someone other than the establishment parties then it would be wise to encourage them with your vote.

      A few more unwhipped MPs would be no bad thing IMO.

  43. Graham Hamblin
    October 25, 2011

    John I watched the debate and your speech and contributions were spot on, thank you.


  44. John from Suffolk
    October 25, 2011

    Thank you John for once again taking a stance and speaking out for the voter, whom many MP’s court during an Election and then forget once they are ensconced in the House. I have never before taken the time to watch a debate, but stayed for almost 4 hours yesterday, to see some true parliamentarians speaking out, despite the imposition of a 3 line whip, used by party leaders to try and stifle peoples views.

    I am afraid that I do not believe anything that David Cameron says about wishing to engage the ordinary voter into taking more interest in politics, when it seems that only when it is something that he wants from us, is it convenient to listen.

    I am glad that you are still am MP, who along with other honourable MP’s is prepared to stand up for what you believe and speak on behalf of the electorate, who after all put you all there.

    Again thank you John and all of your collegues, from all parties who stood and demonstrated their belief in what democracy is.

    John M

  45. Amanda
    October 25, 2011

    Well done John, and thank you.

  46. Steve S
    October 25, 2011

    This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning. The time when a significant number of MPs stood up to be counted on the issue of sovereign democracy. This number of MPs cannot be dismissed as a rump of trouble makers. The MPs have the public on their side.

    It is not ever easy to vote against under three line whip circumstances, and I am sure all of those that did, did so with a heavy heart. Even the labour types that defied their whip stood up were counted (I particularly liked the “I’ll vote however I bloody well like” Birmingham MP for labour).

    The Conservative Party is changing in the direction of its membership on this issue. I expect to see further progress from here, as we move from the end of the beginning into the real battle. Once again, John, we know we can count on you to lead from the front.

  47. Iain Gill
    October 25, 2011

    thanks for your efforts last night john, much appreciated

  48. Dr Bernard Juby
    October 25, 2011

    All of those MPs who voted no shoumld be ashamed of themselves for not allowing the democratic will of the people -whatever that turned out to be – from being expressed. Special approbrium is reserved for the Lib-Dems. who insisted on their own farcical electoral referendum but denied nothers to vote on another subject.
    The Cabinet simply cannot be trusted and Cameron will go down as another PM who breaks his word. It’s time he went!

  49. Dr Bernard Juby
    October 25, 2011

    An Open Letter to Chris White, MP (Warwick nand Leamington)

    Sorry but you have now lost my vote!

    The Lib-Dems should be even more ashamed of themselves for disallowing the democratic views of the public when they insisted on having their own disastrous Referendum on elections.

    To deny a democratic process is unforgivable – you could have campaigned against it if you had to but then would have had to answer to your electorate, as you now must – but I will NOT vote for a party hack and YES-man.


  50. pedroelingles
    October 25, 2011

    Cameron’s name is on my List as much as Pike’s was on that of the U-Boat Commander. Thank you for your great efforts John and also to Bill Cash and many others. It was a marathon debate and I viewed the entire 7 hours. I pray that this matter will not stop now the ball is rolling. There can be little doubt that there are very many more than 100,000 out there now after this snub to democracy.

  51. forthurst
    October 25, 2011

    I was struck by the sincerity of the Labour speakers for the motion and the slimey, self-satisfied triumphalism, without even opening their mouths, emanating from the Liberal and Conservative proponents of the EUSSR. THe HoC must be a painful place to be these days surrounded by traitors and mediocrities, having to listen to and look at the (unflattering comments about prominent MPs)

  52. Mike Chaffin
    October 25, 2011

    Congratulations on an excellent speech, it certainly cheered me up watching the debate.

    Do you have an opinion on the health of the European Central bank? I note that it’s gearing ratio is up to 28.4x which is almost the same as Lehman brothers when it collapsed.

    This does not however appear to make any allowances for the Greek debt it holds, I note that in the media the references are to private investors having to take a haircut.

    Given a notional 60% jolly trip to the barbers for our continental cousins would this not make the gearing over 100x and , therefore, insolvent?

    I also note the figures relating to French private sector banks, their tier one ratios and assets. Should even a 50% trim be applied to their debt would this not also make them technically bankrupt, with the possibility of no lender of last resort bar the IMF?


    Reply Central banks do gear much more than ordinary banks in troubled times. All is well as long as they have the power to print as much as they need to pay the bills – at least in nominal currency. An over geared Central Bank usually means more inflation rather than bankruptcy.

    All the main banks have been passed by the European regulators, but we have seen past cases where approved banks have nonetheless collapsed. The EU is on the case and is said to be about to demand more capital for the weak ones.

    1. Chris
      October 25, 2011

      I was dismayed to hear a high ranking individual (who was formerly responsible for conducting the stress tests on banks) state that although they had rated the banks as “at risk” i.e. they failed the stress tests, pressure from above altered the assessment. So, an open admission on the airwaves that the wrong assessment was given out to the public and the markets, and the true state of the banks’ finances hidden.

    2. Mike Chaffin
      October 25, 2011


      Printing money, or tapping Rumplestiltskin as I like to think of it, is one option.

      Surely with the fundamental weakness in the Southern eurozone however this is starting to look like a positive feedback loop.

      Can anyone really rule out the possibility of hyper-inflation in the eurozone?


  53. Shaft120
    October 25, 2011

    I must say it was a good opportunity for me to learn a little about many MP’s I hadn’t heard of before.

    Richard Shepherds speech was absolutely excellent. For the Tories, Adam Holloway, Stewart Jackson, Douglas Carswell, Bill Cash & Jacob Rees-Mogg were among the pick of the bunch. Your own John, was also passionate and inspiring. I also smiled greatly at your interjection about Chinese jobs, which pulled the rug out from under a poor argument.

    Credit where it is due, there were also several Labour MP’s who gave good speeches as well. Kate Hoey, Gisela Stuart, Ian Davidson and Frank Field all spoke with conviction and honesty, ignoring party points scoring.Unsurprisingly, not a single Lib Dem MP came out with any integrity.

    What I really can’t understand is Cameron enforcing the 3 line whip. Surely he may need to use that in the future when he really needs it; indeed when his premiership may depend upon it. Yet, having effectively told 81 of his MPs now that they have no career prospects in any Cameron government, any future similar threat will hold no water.

    1. Bryan
      October 25, 2011

      Strategically naive, operationally inept.

  54. Denis Cooper
    October 25, 2011

    Fantastic speech, JR, and that was what my wife also said as she happened to be passing through the room at the time.

  55. Tom
    October 25, 2011

    I saw you speech last night on BBC parliament and I would like to say thank you for standing up for what the British people demand most. I do however think that yesterday will lead to a loss of votes for the Conservative Party and an increase in support for UKIP. But once again I would like to thank you and the other 110 voters who voted to get us the voters, a referendum on Europe.

  56. Eddyh
    October 25, 2011

    I am seriously thinking of moving from Henley to Wokingham, so that I can vote for a proper Tory, instead of against the useless timeserver who is my MP

  57. zorro
    October 25, 2011

    Without doubt, a touchstone vote…..Things in the long run will change. Cameron’s bluff has been called. Talk without action will no longer do…..The gallic little corporal wannabe has shown his hand. Cameron should let them solve their own problems. If they get some respite over the next few months and the markets turn on us, they would laugh and let us burn. If only someone could step up and stand up for Britain as one of the world’s largest economies and our ability to rule ourselves and shape our own destiny. All we see are scared pessimists saying that we will live in caves and eat twigs if we are not tied to the EU…….they are no more than slaves in reality.
    I was away the last few days but well done to those who put the interests of freedom and democracy before craven obedience to externally inspired diktats!!


  58. Tom
    October 25, 2011

    A belated thank you (because I always get your posts hours late) for your speech and excellent interruptions. I listened to the whole debate. As usual it is clear that “some MPs only have tabloid-deep knowledge and ideas about EU affairs” (good comment Peter van Leeurwen) but appalling that front bench spokesmen also trot out silly arguments which they must know are wrong. And Robert Walter just talks rubbish.

    Some good speeches from the labour side and I liked Ian Davidson’s scornful reference to “the cosy club” that scorns backbenchers. Well done the “81 club”

    1. Tom
      October 26, 2011

      Not the other Tom. I will have to change my name!

  59. Wokingham Mum's
    October 25, 2011

    Well done, we’re glad you voted for democracy.
    We want to be listened to and want a debate on the EU. As more of the decisions that affect our lives are taken by Europe it is only appropriate to get a mandate from the majority of the people in this country as to how we proceed. So much is changing in Europe, with the Euro in crisis and the Euro Zone readjusting and re-calculating the time seems right, now, for UK re-negotiations of terms and our position in the EU to be re-evaluated. The referendum hasn’t got to be this year or even next but the debate has to start now so that at the next election the politicians have a peoples mandate on Europe.
    The lib’s election promise was a referendum on Europe and free University fee so can’t understand what they are playing at, they will never experience government again because of their betrayal however the Conservatives need to start listening. What was promised by the PM’s petition system was made irrelevant and another false promise to be overruled by the PM and his instruction by threats to deny his MP’s the right to represent their constituents, Hardly democracy. Politicians of all parties are losing the trust of their constituents, if this continues there will be anarchy as we lose patience. As the issue of how/what is felt about Europe doesn’t seem to depend upon which political party is supported a free cross party debate and vote would have done much to re-store some faith. It also begs the question what are they afraid of.

  60. Derek Emery
    October 25, 2011

    The EU is a low growth area and has kept its living standard by borrowing rather than competing in world markets. France has lived beyond its means for 37 years. The last balanced budget was in 1974,1518,793645,00.html. The UK has had a deficit since 1998.
    Now EU sovereign debts are huge so further borrowing to sustain lifestyles is not an option. Does anybody seriously believe that the EU is capable of changing itself into becoming a world competitor for products and so drive down debt. Which elite politicians do you think have the skills to do this because I suspect the EU has exactly none? They have no skills in economics (proof creation of the eurozone) and zero understanding of markets. It would require a degree of entrepreneurial effort way beyond anything the EU could ever produce. The EU doesn’t do entrepreneurship. Its raison d’etre is central control and imposing anti-business EU wide rules and regulations. Add to this heady mix the aging demographics of the EU. The worst for aging demographics is Germany which just happens to be the country the rest of the pack are relying on to pay their way.

  61. roselady64
    October 25, 2011

    Thank you so much Mr Redwood for your efforts, not only yesterday, but in the days leading up to yesterdays debate in the media. Thank you too, to all of those brave, honourable members who kept to their beliefs and did not buckle under the bullying of their party leaders.

    For those who voted no, resign. You are not fit to be called honourable. For so long as you draw a salary to represent your constituents, you are duty bound to do just that. That is democracy. That is why you were elected. Yesterday, you failed in this most basic duty. You did not do your job. Instead you colluded in silencing the citizens of the UK, in turning democracy into dictatorship. You should all, to a man (or woman) be ashamed of yourselves.

    Perhaps some kind foreign power will some day help us, the citizens of the UK, by helping us achieve democracy, because we surely have none right now.

  62. Paul
    October 25, 2011

    As many others have commented, it was an excellent speech John, very similar in style to Mr Farage! I have been particularly critical of the Tory party, but having listened to many of the speeches last night I recognise that there are more genuine eurosceptic Tory MPs than I thought. However, what last night confirmed is that there is no prospect of a referendum at all from any of the major parties unless there is a mass defection which is not going to happen. The only party that will benefit from last night is UKIP. It is now time for the British people to understand once and for all – if you want a referendum you need to keep putting pressure on the creature that is David Cameron and the only way to do that is to vote UKIP.

    Reply: As we have seen voting UKIP in recent elections has not put any pressure on mr Cameron at all. 3% in a General Election is not pressure.

  63. BobE
    October 25, 2011

    Thank you John.
    But I am still voting UKIP next time, I have to put my vote in the best direction of an in/out referendum.

  64. uanime5
    October 25, 2011

    How exactly does the EU Government lack democracy when the MEP are elected by PR, the Council is made up of politicians from each member state, and the each member state nominates 1 members of the Commission?

    Reply: Because electors in the UK cannot sack the government of Europe

    1. rose
      October 26, 2011

      Just think of how Scotland felt underepresented in the governernment of the UK, and it alienated her. Well, how much worse off are we – not the smaller of just two nations plus a principality and a province, but one in a union of well over two dozen other nations. And Scotland was over-represented at the UK parliament as far as seats and numbers of constituents were concerned, which we most certainly are not in the European parliament.

  65. Cliff. Wokingham
    October 25, 2011

    Mr Clegg stated this morning that taking power back from Europe was NOT going to happen.
    I thought the government, of which sadly Mr Clegg is part, are supposed to be united on policy. If two senior ministers are giving two different policies to the media, should they call an election? If they did, could we win a working majority in your opinion?

    It was interesting this morning hearing the editor of Conservative Home say that, over sixty percent of Conservative members don’t trust Mr Cameron to take back powers from the EUSSR; I wonder what the percentage would be amongst the population in general and I wonder if Mr Cameron has done himself harm and indeed the party harm, by acting as he did over the referendum call and the three line whip?

    Btw; I wondered if Mr Cameron thought that, Tin Tin was a popular film at the moment and decided to adopt Tin Tin’s hairstyle yesterday, in an attempt to boost his own popularity;-)

    1. alan jutson
      October 25, 2011


      Clegg has his own agenda, that is why he is hiring more help (advisors and the like) to keep him informed, and to push his thinking into every single aspect of government that he can.

      He will probably be off to Europe after the next election, as it has been reprted that his wife is keen to get involved in politics abroad.
      Never know he may then even have the opportunity to top up his existing European pension.

      Nests and feathers spring to mind.

      1. A different Simon
        October 26, 2011

        I don’t think Nick Clegg has any convictions .

        He could stand for Conservative , Labour or Lib Dem , it makes no difference to him .

        He is just a salesman and what he is selling that week is unimportant .

        (removed 2 personal allegations that did not offer proof-ed)

  66. NickW
    October 25, 2011

    What I am reading is that Clegg will completely block any attempt at any renegotiation.

    A close scrutiny of Clegg’s Democratic mandate to block any reform reveals that he is stark staring naked.

    Clegg’s election promise was for a referendum on the EU, and on top of that he only has a tiny fraction of the vote.

    If Cameron gives in to Clegg’s blackmail the Conservative MPs who have the courage to put the Country first will have to declare all out war on Clegg, even to the point of precipitating an election and wiping Clegg and his fellow traitors out completely.

    Clegg simply cannot be allowed to have such a huge veto on our Foreign policy from such a miniscule electoral base; it would be a gross affront to democracy.

    Well done all those who voted for the motion; the Country is proud of you.

    1. Gordon
      October 25, 2011

      Clegg is in receipt of an ‘EU pension which, once awarded can be revoked if he is caught critising the “EU Project” maybe that clarifies things?

      (Same with Mandelson, Patten et al)

  67. Bob
    October 25, 2011

    Our parliamentary system is becoming more like the Eurovision song contest.
    I wonder what motivated Cameron to use the three line whip in this instance?
    Could our exposure to the euro zone black hole be more serious than they are letting on? or has he been promised a lucrative job with the Commission if he toes the line
    (I understand that this is the way they do business)?

    Thank you Mr.Redwood and the other MPs who refused to be cowed by the inappropriate use of the Whips. At least you won the debate.

    1. A different Simon
      October 26, 2011

      Just like the Eurovision .

      And the result from the U.K. jury will be Nil point all round .

  68. Bernard Otway
    October 25, 2011

    John I already congratulated you in the previous piece to this,however would you please answer Javelin’s really scary comments from that same piece,I am sure ALL on here would like to know what YOU think.He is obviously from reading him for 6 months at least very well
    informed ,in fact were he living under some other previous really totalitarian regimes I would be very concerned for his safety,the kind of things he says actually come about.I mean a difference as he pointed out of exposure from £2 trillion to £9 trillion is just mindboggling
    it could really trigger ARMAGEDDON ,not even China’s reserves could save us all.

    Reply: Answering carefully and accurately would take a lot of research. I will try to give you my view on risks as we go along and tackle individual financial topics like banking security and derivatives.

    1. zorro
      October 25, 2011

      Off the top of my head, the size of the world economy is around US$60 trillion GDP and the derivatives market is about 20 times that sum at US$1.2 quadrillion….

      I think Javelin is referring to the EU’s supposed potential ‘force de frappe’ of (they claim) 2-3 trillion Euros which they think will convince the markets of their determination to fight them off if needs be. The exposure figure of 9 trillion is probably not far off the reality, though I have seen figures of up to 10 trillion potential bandied around (compare it to size of global GDP).

      Reply I thought the derivatives market came in at a modest little $600 trillion or 9 times world GDP


      1. zorro
        October 26, 2011

        I think it was US$600T in 2007? As you know, it’s difficult to be sure of the actual size by dint of the complex, unregulated nature of these potential doomsday instruments and how they might unwind….Suffice it to say the estimate I quoted should be regarded as a notional value, in my opinion, for 2010/11. Intelligence suggests that this might be nearer the mark.
        Either figure is worrying, but as an interested reader and contributor, when time permits, I would happily share the difference with you between the two estimates quoted!!
        Obviously, the last twelve or more years in the banking world has seen the notional value of derivatives go up many times (factor of 6 I seem to recall?). Potentially, it’s an issue now and beyond an almost uncontrollable risk ….Anyway, don’t want to worry anyone unnecessarily.


      2. A different Simon
        October 26, 2011

        Whatever the size of the derivatives market it nets out to zero doesn’t it ?

        Any company buying derivatives is taking counter-party risk .

        There can surely be no justification for using public money to shore up losses on derivatives .

        1. zorro
          October 26, 2011

          What matters is when the piper calls and who can pay for his tune. These are complex instruments and it is difficult to see how they might unravel and where responsibility for payment ultimately lies. Can we be sure, bearing in mind what has happened in banking and the world economy, that they have been properly set up and managed? Has risk been properly assessed?


  69. James Matthews
    October 25, 2011

    If the English people (and I do mean English – Scots, Welsh and most Northern Irish voters have different interests) fall for the “renegotiation” ploy again they have more faith than sense. It is pretty clear that the rest of the EU will tell us that if we want to be in the club we will have to accept the same rules as everyone else and even as a eurorealist I have a great deal of sympathy for that view. I have no time for the apparent belief of the Scots that they can stay in the United Kingdom while picking the bits of it they like and rejecting the rest and there seems no valid case for expecting the EU to accept the same pick and mix approach from the UK.

    We need to get out first and then negotiate the specifics of our relationship with the EU in the same way as we would with any other country or international political entity.

    Worst of all would be to attempt renegotiation while ruling out the option of leaving, which seems to be the Conservative position. A bit like trying to play poker with you cards, all of them of demonstrably low value, face upwards on the table.

    1. Pauline Jorgensen
      October 25, 2011

      Just to point out that as far as N Ireland is comcerned you should note the Democratic Unionist MPs voted in favour of a referendum.

  70. Robin
    October 25, 2011

    Thank you John.

    I could not believe my eyes when I watched cameron stand up to applaud Bliar following his final speech in the Commons. My fears have been vindicated. Cameron is far, far, worse than Blair and clearly views the British people with contempt. This spiv with his three line whip must go.

  71. NickW
    October 25, 2011

    John and readers;

    Here is a link to an English Language version of “Der Speigel”.,1518,793645,00.html

    The Article is about the French Economy.

    Der Speigel; online in English, is a new and highly interesting source of information for me, which others might appreciate.

    1. Johnnydub
      October 26, 2011

      Very interesting article. However it highlights the area where the European model wont work in the UK; employees working in partnership with the employers. Look at the RMT, BA for obvious examples…

  72. Vince Robinson
    October 25, 2011

    Sometimes I really despair……

    Given that there was never any possibility of the referendum vote being carried
    What exactly has this achieved apart from weaking the Prime Minister and re-exposing Tory splits over Europe?

    Europe is one of those issues over which a minority get very passionate but
    with most average voters worrying about paying the bills and hanging onto their jobs arguing about Europe simply makes the party look utterly out of touch.

    Has nobody learnt anything from the 1990’s?
    I hope you enjoyed 13 years on the opposition benches because that’s exactly
    where you will be returning if this nonsense carries on.

    1. Gordon
      October 25, 2011

      The referendum question was raised under a “Cameron initiative’ allegedly to involve the punters in the decision making process.
      “If the “e_petition” gets 100,000 signatures from voters and we will debate the issue.” he said!

      (Have noticed before that politicians have a ‘blind spot’ regarding unintended cosequences of their actions!)

      So, the situation that Mr. Cameron finds himself in is entirely of his own making!
      As a matter of interest, for example, did you ever think that Mr Redwoodwood and Mr Skinner would ever find themselves supporting the same issue?

      Vince, now is now and then is then.

      The torch has been lit, let’s see what happens!

    2. Tom
      October 26, 2011

      I am sure they said this in the 1930s as well – and indeed in any era.

  73. andrew fairfoull
    October 25, 2011

    Deeply impressed by your speech, John, you were clapped in our household. I would like to leave the EU yesterday!!
    The EU is a complete deception, I am happy to trade with most sovereign nations, and trade feely with them in an open and honest manner, hopefully in a diplomatic fashion without political consequences.
    The above( withdrawal) is my sincerest wish, but, and I hate saying this, it will be extremley difficult to change the present treaties, which Cameron says he can, so in truth the only possibility is complete withdrawal hopefully-the sooner the better-bring it on-the champagne is on ice.

  74. Boudicca
    October 25, 2011

    So we have 111 truly Honourable Members and the rest are automatons who do as they are instructed by their Party Whips, rather than represent their Constituents.

    Clegg is a traitorous stooge of the EU, who has infiltrated our Parliament. (Miliband-ed)….. also serves the Socialist EU.

    Cameron could have been a patriotic Conservative. But he too would rather bend the knee to Brussels than actually govern the UK. I have nothing but contempt for him. He won’t get my vote back. I will reserve that for the patriots in UKIP until such time as the British PEOPLE get an IN/OUT Referendum on the EU.

  75. Bernard Otway
    October 25, 2011

    Mr Robinson YOU make me despair,the fact that you say only a minority are against what the EU means for us ALL,all the things you say concern the majority ARE very much badly ADVERSLY affected by the Malign EU,leaving it would make everyone better off,regulations
    that hurt business could go and we would not have to pay any subscriptions,we could make our own decisions about our own prosperity.And as for this figure of half our trade is with the
    EU,that deconstructed is nonsense as we run a huge DEFICIT with them.As has been stated
    they need us more than we need them,John’s comments re Chinese jobs in the debate SLEW that argument about our jobs,we can trade with our previous colonies in the Commnwealth plus everywhere else,look at what we SHOULD sell to AUS/CAN/NZ
    alone, and in ENGLISH. Really people with your thinking make me despair,and look for
    a different democracy.

    1. zorro
      October 25, 2011

      Think of our former Commonwealth and West Africa and untapped mineral resources there needing extraction and….yes…..


    2. Vince Robinson
      October 26, 2011

      Mr Otway,
      A couple of points by way of reply…

      I actually offered no opinion about the popularity or otherwise of Britain’s E.U membership I simply stated that the whole issue was low down the list of priorities/concerns for the typical voter. Surveys show this to be correct a view further supported by the failure of UKIP to make any significant impact in domestic elections and the abysmal turnout for euro-elections.
      If the Conservative party wishes to obtain a majority then it needs to show some discipline and focus on issues like jobs,tax,education,health,transport and not get sidetracked by the kind of in-fighting over Europe that wrecked John Major’s administration.

      In any sort of “new democracy” the bread and butter concerns are always going to be the key areas.

      Unfortunately we run a trade defecit with just about everybody and I fail to see how this will be solved by withdrawing from the E.U unless you are proposing import controls and a fortress ecconomy.
      Being in the E.U never stopped Germany from selling elsewhere in the world . U.K government officials frequently travel abroad attempting to boost exports but the hard truth is that we don’t have much to sell that can’t be bought better or cheaper from somebody else.
      What’s Canada going to buy from us that it can’t get from equally well
      from the it’s NAFTA partners USA and Mexico
      It’s our OWN fault that the ecconomy is un-balanced and over-reliant on financial services – leaving the E.U will not magically solve this

  76. Bazman
    October 25, 2011

    Many people wishing for a referendum to leave Europe might be disappointed by the result. Many working people believe that Europe is a good thing and prevents a race to the bottom by right wing nutcases whose ideology will never be felt by themselves including many businessmen. Europe acting as some sort of level playing field preventing Britain sinking further into a country of pockets of wealth surrounded by poverty.
    The agency workers directive being an example as there are so many agency and part time workers in this country now many woman supporting families on part time work. How many of them support this legislation and how many of the people against it can put up a credible argument other than than the job would not exist with this legislation. Not true and even if it is means the job is not viable anyway.

    1. rose
      October 26, 2011

      You don’t mention that the EU has made us lose our borders and take in unlimited cheap labour. The only race to the bottom I have seen in the whole of my life, took place in the last ten years or so.

      1. A different Simon
        October 26, 2011

        Yes , it is interesting that more immigrants choose the U.K. over Germany .

        We are clearly doing something wrong .

      2. Bazman
        October 26, 2011

        Cheap labour for business. How do the right wingers square that one off?

  77. alex laidlaw
    October 25, 2011

    Firstly, let me also thank John Redwood for his excellent contribution to the referendum debate, he is an honourable man who clearly understands the depth of feeling among the electorate who desperately want our once great country to be governed by and for the British people again. Cameron, by his actions, has lost any credibility he had with the eurosceptic majority in the country. Had he allowed a free vote he would have radically altered the power balance within the coalition and put himself head and shoulders above the europhiles Clegg and Milliband. Instead, he is now confirmed as just one more gutless career politician who cannot be trusted. God help us is all I can say.

  78. Pauline Jorgensen
    October 25, 2011

    Well done John, one day we will get the referendum the majority of British voters want.

  79. Steven Whitfield
    October 25, 2011

    The referendum debate highlighted the weakness of the federalist position. The vote was won but the argument was lost.
    In my view, the arguments in favour of staying in the EU or not re-negotiating, are extremely weak. But they tell us little or nothing about the real motives for they are just a front. A story to divert attention from the real agenda.

    In my view, to defeat the federalist position, we need to understand what motivates the federalist by seeing beyond the rhetoric. Occasionally the mask slips and we see what is underneath.

    Could EU Federalism be based not on rational argument or logic , but on a desire to change the nature and character of Britain forever?. This would offer an explanation of why attempts to change the defaut federalist position have proved so unsuccessful .How can you attack an opponent who’s ‘argument; isn’t backed up by figures, reason or logic ? Perhaps David Cameron seeks to stifle debate as he knows his debating position is so weak ?

    Consider Mr Nicholas Clegg . These comments were made by him in an article written for the Guardian newspaper in 2002.

    Watching Germany rise from its knees after the war and become a vastly more prosperous nation has not been easy on the febrile British psyche,’ Mr Clegg wrote, before attacking Britain’s approach to the war.

    ‘All nations have a cross to bear, and none more so than Germany with its memories of Nazism. But the British cross is more insidious still.
    ‘A misplaced sense of superiority, sustained by delusions of grandeur and a tenacious obsession with the last war, is much harder to shake off. We need to be put back in our place.’

    Perhaps denying the British People a vote is part of a crusade aimed at ‘putting us back in our place’.

    I hope the British people prove that our love of freedom and democracy is stronger than his will to deny us a say in how our country is run.

    1. A different Simon
      October 26, 2011

      It’s like Cameron and Clegg are in a competition to see who can be the most like Blair .

  80. JimF
    October 25, 2011

    Good speech. You are ahead of the curve.

  81. rose
    October 25, 2011

    I missed the debate. I notice it isn’t being played again and again by the Parliament programme as the Hackgate one and its committees were. Why do you think this is?

    1. David Price
      October 26, 2011

      It is still available via Democracy Live, I am watching it now. It is in two parts with our hosts empassioned speech in the second half at around 1:21:00.

  82. Peter HUlme Cross
    October 26, 2011

    ” The drum beat of the Conservative party is to renegotiate. It is to get a new relationship with Euroland. The party is united in this. It speaks for the overhwelming majority of the UK electorate.”

    Yes, it seems so reasonable and it appeals to our rational Anglo Saxon minds.

    Unfortunately any attempt at renegotiation will achieve nothing and I am sure you to know this. The reason is simple. The Treaties do not allow for renegotiation. If you don’t believe this, then READ THE TREATIES.

    You must surely have heard of the Acquis Communitaire. Any Competences (Powers) taken over by the EU in any area of Government are surrendered in perpetuity and cannot be given back to Member States. This is expressed in the Maastricht Treaty. To repatriate Powers would mean getting representatives of all 27 Member States around a table and unpicking the Treaties right back to the Treaty of Rome. If you think that is going to happen, then Dream On.

    The surrender of Powers is a one way ratchet. The EU has no reverse gear. To talk about renegotiation and repatriating powers is a classic tactic designed to kick it in to the long grass and then people will think something is being done and forget about it.

    Duplicitous Tories as usual.

    Reply: Renegotiation is desgined to change the treaties! I will continue to work for this, and for a vote for the UK people so we can all decide on the future relationship with the EU

  83. Adrian Peirson
    October 26, 2011

    Great Passionate speech Mr Redwood, Couldn’t find it on Youtube though.

  84. David Price
    October 27, 2011

    A belated thanks for your stirring speech which addressed the key issue in the debate.

    I have just finished watching the recording of the full session. What struck me was the contrast between contributions. Those against basically said it was not the right time or coming out of Europe would damage our economy while those for were fervent, some to the point of resignation, in demanding that our democracy had to be reinforced and the people be consulted.

    We need a proper relationship with the EU and we need a referendum to give everyone the opportunity to have a say in the direction of our democracy. Are the powers that be in all parties and the civil service so fearful of an unknown outcome? Or, is it that they are convinced that the voting public are not at all happy with such a bad relationship we have been dragged into and want them to do a proper job and change it

    I was distinctly impressed by the majority of contributions on both sides and general humour of the house, the recording should be required viewing for schools and people seeking citizenship.

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