On Saturday I spoke to Berkshire Conservatives at Englefield.
The mood of the meeting welcomed Mr Cameron’s policy of negotiate and decide through a referendum, but many wanted him to go further. I suggested the Mandate referendum soon. It would ask voters “Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on free trade and political co-operation?”.
I said I thought Conservative MPs could get it through the Commons if Conservative Ministers would join us. I doubt Labour would dare seek to vote it down, as iI suspect it would be very popular. The point of it would be to demonstrate to the rest of the EU that they were dealing with the demands of the British people by substantial majority, not just the demands of the largest minority party in the Commons. It would be effectively binding on the next government, if negotiations had not been finished by 2015. It would make it difficult for Lib Dem Ministers in the Coalition to go on blocking renegotiation betwen now and 2015.
I also explained that a group of Conservative MPs are seeking to pre legislate the referendum on whether we stay in or out. I would also support that should it come to a vote.