Wokingham Times

I voted for a referendum on the EU when we decided to test Parliamentary opinion on the topic towards the end of 2011. At that juncture none of the three main parties wanted one, and we lost.

However, we lit a flame for freedom that day. We have returned to the issue in meetings with the Prime Minister and other senior members of the government. On 23rd January David Cameron made an important speech. It included the promise of a referendum on the question of whether we should stay in the EU or leave should he win the 2015 General Election. UK politics and our relationship with the EU will not be the same now that offer has been made.

Some of you ask me why we cannot get on with it and have the vote soon. All the time the Labour and Lib Dem parties are against we do not have the votes to get it through the House of Commons. Mr Cameron also thinks the UK should first seek to negotiate a new relationship with our partners that reflects the mood in Britain, and the needs of the countries that are not in the Euro and do not wish to join the much closer union they now are creating. Armed with the results of that negotiation, UK voters can then make a better informed choice about whether to stay or go.

Some say the rest of the EU will refuse to negotiate a new relationship with the UK. I think that misreads the situation. Already several countries are acknowledging that there need to be changes in the EU to deal with the lack of democracy, the excess of interference by the EU in member states, and the lack of economic success. As sensible German commentators and political figures have admitted, were the UK to vote to leave the EU Germany would want to negotiate a free trade agreement with us, as Germany sells us so many goods at the moment.

There are those who want to scare us into believing we cannot change our relationship. They say if we do not put with the current EU we will lose trade access and lose jobs that depend on selling products into the continental market. Some of these people are the very same people who warned us that if we did not join the Euro we would lose the City of London and all the jobs that go with it. Many countries sell successfully into the EU without being members, and the rest of the EU values doing business with us. I cannot see how any of that is at risk, just because we want to change things for the better.

Some also say overseas companies wanting to invest in Europe will not come to the UK if we are unhappy about our membership of the EU. Again we were warned that the Japanese car factories would pull out if we did not join the Euro. They are still here, and have expanded a lot in the last decade.

I am glad Mr Cameron has spoken up. He was right to say we do not wish to join their political and tax union. The UK is an island nation, open to the wider world. We want to be friends with our European neighbours, and trade with them, but we do not wish to be governed by them.

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7 Comments

  1. Bert Young
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Agree with everything you say . Please don’t go along with those who are prepared to wait until after the next election for a final decision to be made .

  2. Chris
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Would you possibly be able to post these highly relevant articles on national/international issues on your main Diary? It would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    Reply I could do, but I try to keep local matters seperate to make it easier for constituents, and sometimes the article span both categories. I will post relevant ones in both places in future.

    • Chris
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. Your Diary comment and obvious expertise/wisdom is much appreciated, as well as your willingness to engage with posters.

  3. Sue
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    If you want to win the election, you will have to have one before, nobody trusts Cameron’s word.

    If re-negotiation were possible (which I seriously doubt), it will take years and Cameron knows it. The only way he can prove it’s possible is to actually get some of those powers back beforehand – I won’t hold my breath.

  4. Peter Davies
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    One of the big issues with all this is the lack of trust politicians. First McRuin stitched us up with the Lisbon Treaty by using the analogy that because it was a treaty and not a constitution there was no need for a referendum then Cameron who was going to tear it up went back on his word before the election as it had been signed.

    If the Tories had gone into the election promising to do this or call a referendum they would have got a working majority and would have been in a position to call a referendum in this parliament.

    I’ve seen a list of (I think 21) knife edge seats which went to labour by a small margin that assuming the UKIP votes were mainly natural Tory voters would have been conservative seats.

  5. Barbara
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Well Mr R, I can understand the difficulties with holding a referendum now, but more should be done to expose the Lib Dems, and Labour’s policy of being against such and idea, it goes against the wishes of the people. Will they dare to go against our will, if so they must be prepared to face the consequences come the next election. Labour are only 7 pts in front, and I remember Mr Kinnock being just that, he was overly confident and lost the election.
    I see from the news today the EU want to hold the rights to the sea bed round our shoreline and other states who have one. This may mean they hold the rights to the mineral content as well. I thought the sea bed for 12 miles, was our own right, and belonged to the Crown. If so the EU is in deep conflict with our head of State. I don’t like this power creep, its another thing that should be hi-lighted which will enhance the referendum camp. It want stopping now. They have today passed this without consultation, this cannot be right. Perhaps you could enlighten us on this subject? As ever, I much appreciate your ever informing blog.

  6. David Langley
    Posted February 7, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    What competencies and powers do you want us to take back then JR?

    Reply I just want all the vetoes back, plus political co-operation where we agree. I want UK sovereign government

  • About John Redwood


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

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