How to get us out of our current relationship with the EU

UKIP and most of the Conservative party are divided by a common aim. We want to re establish self government in the UK. We do not like the current relationship with the EU, which means the EU makes too many decisions, passes too many laws and controls too much of our lives.

UKIP says the only way to deal with the problem is to announce our intention to leave the EU and to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act. Once that had been done presumably we should then sit down and discuss trade, cross border issues and the like with our neighbours and establish a new basis in the minority of cases where we do need agreement. Anything less than this approach is to some UKIP supporters a cop out, a con, or not likely to work. Of course the repeal of the 1972 Act and the relevant declaration to the EU could get us out quite quickly. The issue is how would this come about in UK politics? So far in UK General Elections few people have voted for this approach.

To bring this about UKIP needs to win 326 seats in the Commons. So far after ten years of trying they have won none. Mr Farage, one of their best campaigners, came a poor third at Buckingham in 2010 when the three main parties were not standing. UKIP came much closer to winning the Eastleigh by election, but even there were unable to beat a very unpopular federalist Lib Dem party. When they did get an MP to cross the floor he did not last long as a UKIP MP.They have won some seats in local government,but nothing like as many as the 3 main parties. Last Thursday they achieved a good result in a Council by election in West Suffolk, but it was on a tiny turnover. Even the most optimistic concede that their strategy is taking a long time, and no pollster or independent commentator is forecasting a UKIP win in the 2015 General Election.Sensible UKIP supporters want their party to work with the Conservatives to help supply a majority for an IN/Out referendum in the next Parliament. This then gives us, the British people, the chance to vote for Out and trigger the repeal of the 1972 Act.

Conservative Eurosceptics have adopted a different strategy. We have sought to develop good Eurosceptic policy in the Conservative party. We have built up Eurosceptic support in the Parliamentary party. As this week-end shows, a majority of the backbenchers now back a big change to our relationship. We now have a leader who has withdrawn the Conservative party from the centre right federalist grouping in the European Parliament. We have a leader who has made it official policy to negotiate a new deal and put that to a vote of the British people. He did veto the Fiscal Treaty, both keeping the UK out of it and preventing the others making it an EU Treaty. Conservatives are prepared to negotiate first and then vote for Out if as UKIP fears the other members of the EU offer us nothing worth having by way of a new and different relationship. We are more likely to win an Out vote if the doubters are proved true and our partners are unco-operative when we state our wish to have a new relationship. We are also more likely to get a better new relationship if the other members states see it is likely otherwise we will simply exit. We want trade, not common government.

This week-end 95 Conservative MPs have added their names to a letter to the Prime Minister saying he needs to go further. We are backing the European Scrutiny Committee’s proposal for the UK Parliament to have a veto on future and past measures from the EU. This would immediately restore the supremacy of Parliament, and allow us to opt out of any measure we did not like. Immediately we could have our own immigration policy, for example. This would lead directly to negotiations about that new relationship, and would show that the UK does wish to be self governing again, with sensible arrangements for trade and political co-operation with the EU.

Our approach of working from within has now got us close to delivering the referendum we need, despite the Conservatives not having a majority in the current Commons. . The Conservative party has got a Bill through the Commons, and intends to honour its promise after the 2015 election, with or without that bill becoming an Act of Parliament, assuming it has a majority to do so. All Eurosceptics should welcome that, as a vote of the people is the best way to determine our future after years when people have not been able to trust federalist MPs on this subject.

I am both more optimistic today than for many years, and more worried. I am more optimistic because many more people are now alarmed by the extent and scope of EU power and want something done about it. Public opinion is on the Eurosceptics side. I am optimistic because the Conservative party is offering a referendum which will allow us to exit if the relationship is not changed substantially in our favour, restoring self government. I am more worried because I think UKIP and Eurosceptic Conservatives are tackling the issue in two different ways, which could allow the federalists to win. The federalists are enjoying this, because split we run the danger of damaging each other rather than stopping the federalist juggernaut. We need a Conservative government in 2015 both to deliver the referendum and to avoid another five years of Labour government which would make it much more difficult to exit the current EU, as they would work with Brussels to drag us ever more deeply in at a time of further centralisation.


  1. petermartin2001
    January 13, 2014

    Mr Redwood,

    You’ve not mentioned the anti EU faction in the Labour Party. True, it is not as strong as it once was. In the 70s it was dominant in both the Labour Party and the Trade Union movement, but it is still there.

    There are still many in the Labour Party, and even a few Lib Dems, who would argue against the EU in exactly the same way as their predecessors in the 70s. They have different arguments to those presented by UKIP and the Conservative right and largely stress the importance of Parliamentary democracy and accountability.

    There’s nothing wrong with those arguments either. My concern would be that, while there are many waverers who could be won over by stressing arguments that would appeal to them, there are many who would be lost by a stress on the wrong type of argument.

    If you think they are a spent force, and you can do without them, then the present approach may work. I’d say it would be a mistake to think that though. If you really want the UK out of the EU you’ll need every possible type of ally.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2014

      JR also ignores the fact that UKIP has moved on from its origins and a substantial fraction of its membership and support now comes from people who previously supported the Labour party, in some cases even people who previously supported the Liberal Democrat party. At one time it might have been possible for the UKIP leadership to make an electoral pact with the leaders of the Conservative party without losing too many UKIP members and supporters, but that is no longer true and I believe that Nigel Farage fully realises that. It is Conservatives who keep talking about a pact as if it was something that UKIP wanted, part of their black propaganda aimed at disrupting and destroying UKIP.

      1. Spinflight
        January 15, 2014

        Certainly in my area of Newport where we have recently opened a new UKIP branch almost all of the members are either ex labour or swing voters.

    2. Hope
      January 13, 2014

      Cameron must be the least effective PM in living memory. A person who promises a lot and delivers nothing. You spent a lot of time, once again, trying to rubbish UKIP. One can only imagine it is because of the lack of delivery on the part of your party or yourself relating to the EU. You cannot ask us to give someone credibility or trust, they need to earn it for themselves.

      Cameron made a three line whip to prevent a referendum taking place on the EU against the wishes of the public. He has enacted the EU arrest warrant when he did not have to. He has bailed out EU countries when he claimed he would not. He has stood by when the EU effected regime change in Italy and Greece ands role money from citizens of Cyprus. He has said nothing about the latest claim by the EU that it wants to be the government of all EU nations. He will fight heart and soul to stay into e Eau and cannot envisage a time when he would lead the country out of the EU. The veto that never was, he has not stopped any Eurozone country from using EU institutions, if has name them. He has Major, Heseltine and Clarke offering advice. Despite this you think we should trust him? Good luck. I feel sorry for you.

  2. MickC
    January 13, 2014

    We have a leader who has destroyed the support of many of our core voters and is leading the Party to utter disaster.

    If we are lucky, we can rebuild after he has gone-but it may well be that no-one will care enough to even try.

    1. lifelogic
      January 13, 2014

      It will be too late after Cameron has gone in 2015. Miliband/Labour/a Lab-Libdem Coalition could well be in power for perhaps three terms just like Bliar, This as Cameron will have buried the Tories (through incompetence and lefty pro EU lunacy) just as Major did. Perhaps even more deeply this time.

      1. Spinflight
        January 15, 2014

        If the tories do as badly as I expect at the next GE then I think they are finished as a party.

        Would make Mr Hitchens happy as he predicted it.

  3. lifelogic
    January 13, 2014

    “close to delivering the referendum we need” alas not really you have no chance of a majority, the Libdems with work with Labour almost certainly and Cameron will rat a second time anyway.

  4. Richard1
    January 13, 2014

    If there is a Labour govt or a Labour LibDem coalition we can forget either any serious attempt at renegotiation or a referendum. They will renege on any referendum promise they might make as they did over Lisbon, because they clearly don’t want a referendum (which if it went for Out would bring down federalist govt which had recommended In). It is likely also that a Labour coalition would bring in PR, probably without a referendum. The LibDems if they get another chance will want to move the UK to the European model of perpetual coalition, anchoring a permananet federalist govt.

    UKIP supporters, some of whom post here, should think very hard. The next election is the last chance the British people with have to do anything about the EU relationship. By 2020 a Miliband Cable coalition could have locked us in for ever.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2014

      There will be no “last chance” for the British people for as long as they have their national Parliament and are free to elect parliamentary candidates who are truly committed to its sovereignty and determined to exercise that sovereignty on behalf of the people and in their national interests. The problem now is that the three old parties offer precious few such candidates, but the solution to that is to vote for the candidates of a new party who are all committed to our national sovereignty and democracy, and eventually enough electors will realise this.

      Unless you think that before this happens the eurocrats will be successful in exploiting the defence provisions in Major’s Maastricht Treaty and will provide themselves with sufficient armed forces to conquer us.

    2. Mark B
      January 13, 2014

      You forget, that it was the Conservative Party that brought us into the EU, not Labour and certainly not the Liberals, as they were then. To think that people would trust that party again, especially as there is no chance of a referendum in 2017 is laughable. It matters not who people vote for in 2015, the EU all but runs this country. The Conservatives want us to stay in the EU so they can finish the job they started ie be a Region of a Federal Europe. Any party or politician who cannot stomach being part of a United States of Europe better learn the words of Article 50 because, if they do not, then they just aren’t serious about leaving.

    3. JoeSoap
      January 13, 2014

      “UKIP supporters, some of whom post here, should think very hard. The next election is the last chance the British people with have to do anything about the EU relationship. By 2020 a Miliband Cable coalition could have locked us in for ever.”
      Very naïve statement. If the omens are so bad, and Cameron was determined to do something he would do it now. If he wins a majority (very doubtful) it will be on the back of his being two faced on the EU issue and he will see every reason to continue that way. If he loses, we go into the Euro and it and the EU sink with the next crisis. It might be the best way.

      1. Richard1
        January 14, 2014

        There is no majority in Parliament now for Cameron to do anything material about the EU relationship, except insofar as he can persuade countries such as Germany to make some reforms. For a serious attempt at renegotiation and / or for a referendum there needs to be a Conservative majority in the House of Commons.

  5. Duyfken
    January 13, 2014

    JR, your plaintiff piece today exhibits by its length and content the near panic which the Conservative Party should properly be experiencing. But what is the Conservative Party? Is it you and your 94 colleagues (bravely signing a piece of paper), or is it the Cameroon brigade which waltzed in 10 years ago and stole the script? The Party has a deep divide and it is difficult to ascertain which side is the schism and which the mainstream.

    You are effectively asking us to opt for the lesser of two evils, this in your view being the only alternative. For me, no, I prefer to stick to principle. When the “magnificent 95” decide to resign the Tory Whip, then perhaps your solicitations may carry more weight.

    1. acorn
      January 13, 2014

      When the Whips crack the whip, it will be like an episode of “One Man and His Dog”. Baa Baa no black sheep here, just fodder for the party lobby.

      1. Spinflight
        January 15, 2014

        Notice that precious few of the 95 are in any position of power.

        What is more likely, that most back-benchers are eurosceptic but not a single one of them has been promoted or that Cameron is trying to fool the electorate into thinking there is a shred of hope that the eurosceptic backbenchers might win the argument?

        Frankly it is the latter, Cameron himself said on Spanish TV that he would not honour an out vote so John’s idea of trying to convince him is garbage.

        Reply There are lots of Eurosceptics who are Ministers or PPSs who were not asked to sign the letter.

  6. arschloch
    January 13, 2014

    You have a “leader” who by his own admission puts voters off in Scotland. I would suggest it stretches further to everywhere else, bar the salons of Notting Hill and Chipping Norton. You cannot trust him on dealing with the EU. If he wants a new deal for the UK, why did he expend so much political capital on the non manifesto item to gay marriage to slavishly fit the demands of the Brussels HR agenda?

  7. Peter Whale
    January 13, 2014

    I really wonder about my sanity when I reply to politicians. Hi John after Dave’s “cast iron promise” and his statement that he would never take us out of the EU. There is no alternative to UKIP it will be the catalyst that will bring about the change in the Liblabcon that is desperately needed.When MPs realise that their position is assailable and their sinecure is vulnerable they might start to think that the voting population cannot be ignored forever.

  8. Tony Leatham
    January 13, 2014

    Mr Redwood

    You know as well as I that no EU official will permit ANY kind of activity that will in effect repatriate powers to the UK. So, there will be no effective renegotiation before 2017, there will never be a veto that we can have. It is abundantly clear that working “from within” has zero chance of success.

    Therefore, we as an electorate must examine the motivations of “informed” commentators such as yourself who pedal such nonsense. Either you are genuinely unaware of the legal framework of the EU or you chose to deliberately mislead.

    If you truly want this country to be rid of the yoke of the EU, then you must change your allegiance to UKIP – you have no choice. Your view of the effectiveness of the Tory party’s attempts to “work from within” are either deluded or disingenuous.

    Sorry to be so blunt but like so many people in this country, I am desperate for the United Kingdom to regain the right to self-determination that your party traitorously gave away through sleight of hand in the seventies and have consistently refused to provide a simple referendum on the subject since.

    Unless you unequivocally support the notion of a fully democratic referendum without so many strings attached, you are part of the problem and contribute to the uphill struggle those of us who are less interested in political wrangling in the eternal search for power than a real desire to put Country first.

    1. Spinflight
      January 15, 2014

      He could join, but personally I’d want to see a good few years of delivering leaflets and attending meetings before he had a sniff at promotion. 🙂

  9. Nick
    January 13, 2014

    The issue is how would this come about in UK politics? So far in UK General Elections few people have voted for this approach.


    Oh dear. A sitting MP who doesn’t understand the constitution.

    A General election is about prospective MPs setting out policies. You then pick a representative. That representative if then elected ignores those promises and does what they heck they want for the next 5 years, whilst living the high life on expenses and accruing a massive pension.

    Why would anyone think a general election has anything to do with issues?

    1. Richard1
      January 13, 2014

      And your constructive idea would be?….

      1. uanime5
        January 13, 2014

        How about the right to recall MPs if they don’t fulfil these promises.

        1. Richard1
          January 14, 2014

          Yes I agree with that, I also think far more laws should be subject to referendum approval. With public access to information being what it now is, we should have far more direct democracy.

        2. Spinflight
          January 15, 2014

          There wouldn’t be any left…..

    2. Lifelogic
      January 14, 2014

      What they actually do once elected is try to stay in with the party whose badge they need at the next election. The voters come rather poor third to party, consultancies etc. until the next election gets close and then a few voter friendly noises are made yet again.

  10. Steve Cox
    January 13, 2014

    There’s a simple answer to your worries mentioned in the last paragraph – Mr. Cameron can stand down as leader of the Conservative party. Mr. Farage has said explicitly that he will not consider a pact with the Tories as long as David Cameron is in charge, and that’s hardly surprising given the very unwise and uncivil things that Mr. Cameron and his close friends have said in the past about Mr. Farage and UKIP supporters. The only way that the Conservatives can win the next election is to join up with UKIP, and thus Mr. Cameron must fall on his sword for the greater good of the party and the country as a whole. Or does Mr. Cameron perhaps consider that saving his own face is more important than saving his party and his country?

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2014

      With or without Cameron most UKIP members would not join up with the Tories, especially those UKIP members who were previously Labour supporters.

  11. Mike Stallard
    January 13, 2014

    The real question is this: who are we dealing with in Europe?
    Nobody seems remotely interested. There are two subjects which are totally banned in our house: Climate Change and the EU. “Banging on…”

    It is so easy to assume that Europe is really just Greater Britain and that the good people in Brussels are really just Brits who speak a different language and wear slightly different clothes.

    Two minutes on the internet proves that the good people of Brussels have totally different ideals, totally different views on “democracy”, “nationalism” and “populism” and referenda and directives and regionalism to our British views. I am not going to trawl through Ms Reding’s recent speech, or M. Barroso’s views on the State of the Union. I am not going to quiet vast chunks of M. Delors’ thoughts or reach for Christopher Booker. You, Mr Redwood, were there. You know.

    Mr Chamberlain was wrong too. He thought that when Europe went Fascist (yes – almost every state, even Hungary) they were all going to be decent Mancunians like himself. We must not make the same mistake. And we are.

  12. Nick
    January 13, 2014

    I am optimistic because the Conservative party is offering a referendum which will allow us to exit if the relationship is not changed substantially in our favour, restoring self government.


    Like your offer at the last election to publish in full the pensions debts that the state has accrued?

    Why should anyone believe you on a referenda when you can’t do a small thing like that?

    What about prior promises of referenda? This time is different? Pull the other leg.

    As for the promise of self government, again you’re having a laugh.

    It’s all about you dictating to us, instead of the EU dictating to us.

    For the electorate, there’s no difference. Just a different person dictating. Oh, but were elected say the MPs. The EU isn’t. Yep, just like the Lords. The house of criminals. Why for example would the lords use state secrecy to cover up their financial expenses. And before you ask, I’ve the certificates to prove it.

  13. Roy Grainger
    January 13, 2014

    It seems to me another good strategy for Eurosceptic voters would be to vote UKIP at the EU elections next year to make a clear statement to the Eurocrats about how serious UK voters are about wanting change. This might encourage them to negotiate seriously about a new relationship. Euro MPs have no worthwhile power at all so there is no particular downside in this strategy for voters who would normally vote Con or Lab in UK elections. Allied to a strong Eurosceptic vote in France and (maybe) Italy this would be a powerful and risk-free statement.

  14. margaret brandreth-j
    January 13, 2014

    Perhaps many feel that it is a little late in this term for the coalition. UKIP can obviously see the urgency for if Labour gain control then there is no chance of remodeling our relationship with the EU.

  15. Old Albion
    January 13, 2014

    The truth is the Conservative party have always (since Thatcher) been Europhile party. Those of you drifting towards Eurosceptisism have only done so because of the threat of UKIP taking votes from you.
    Persistently telling us, the Conservatives will give us an in/out referendum is an empty promise, because a) you won’t win in 2015 and you cannot bind your succesors. b) The Lords will probably stop the bills progress.
    Let’s wait and see how Cameron reacts when UKIP clean up at the Euro elections, it should be interesting.

  16. mick
    January 13, 2014

    morning john, you keep on spouting along with the rest of lib/lab/con that UKIP have never won a seat in parliament, and why is this it`s because the likes of yourself and your commons buddy’s have always maintain there is no problem with the EU or immigration and that UKIP are scaremongering, well now through the power of the web and some media not the BBC people are now more informed with the facts and that is what is scaring lib/lab/con, you cannot turn the clock back now so you are all jumping on the bandwagon of UKIP hoping that the general public can be con again by lib/lab/con, i`ve got news for you john we wont

    1. Bob
      January 13, 2014

      some media not the BBC

      See Lord Tebbit’s blog:   The BBC: still as pro-EU as ever after all these years
      “… a most pathetically obsequious interview with Lord Mandelson who it seems was not willing to be interviewed together with Lord Dobbs and spoke from a radio car. Lord Mandelson was not interrupted, but just allowed to say whatever he wished, without any critical questioning.

      I would like to think that was because the interviewer knew that as a former commissioner Lord Mandelson is still bound by his oath and the security of his pension never to act against the interests of the Commission and the EU, but I rather doubt it.”

  17. Leslie Singleton
    January 13, 2014

    Good article, Sir–I commend emphasis on wanting self-government rather than just talking in terms of Exit, which latter admittedly does somehow sound a bit negative and even a leap in the dark even though it is very much not because all we want is ditto every other country’s relationship with the EU, no more no less. The problem you personally always ignore is the leadership of the Conservatives. Talk of most of the Conservative Party and the like even if true (debateable) is a waste of breath till the present leaders are kicked out and as ignominiously as possible. However, for some amazing reason we seem to be going backwards on that. Many of us simply detest Cameron as you know and do not trust him a millimetre. Nothing new in that, but now we have Osborne and Hague lining up with him. Hague’s recent manifestation of subservience to and, as he sees it, dependence on the much-over-hyped Single Market was especially unwelcome. All other countries around the world trade happily with the EU and one would have thought (as with Canada and the USA) that being next door would make the UK better not worse placed to do that. What are you going to do, what can you do (nothing unfortunately I suspect, even assuming you want to) to hasten the ridding of your Party of its current leaders? I’m sorry, but UKIP are going to keep on coming, make no mistake. And still no mention, even, of Country Before Party, perhaps just to knock it down if you think that way, which does puzzle me because it seems so sensible–if only as a way of breaking out of the present logjam. 2017 is devoid of meaning absent indication of the degree of proposed re-negotiation. Why Cameron is not saying much is a mystery in itself if only because he has already sold the pass on any re-negotiation. And after what Hague has just said, it is obvious that his heart will not be in any substantive re-negotiation. The whole situation is absurd.

    Reply Where is the text of this country before party idea?

      1. Leslie Singleton
        January 14, 2014

        Well, maybe I am not quite alone

    1. Leslie Singleton
      January 14, 2014

      I’ve sent a link but still awaiting moderation–I shall remain hopeful that you are studying it before replying and that you like it.

  18. Anonymous
    January 13, 2014

    “So far in UK General Elections few people have voted for this approach.” (Repeal of the 1972 Act)

    Are you counting the people that abstained like me ?

    You couldn’t win a majority against Brown and this is why. Had your party have put up an Eurosceptic manifesto it would have won by a landslide.

  19. Man of Kent
    January 13, 2014

    We , as a country , appear to have forgotten/not realised what a strong negotiating hand we have in any dealings with the EU.
    We are one of the main contributors to their budget.
    We import £40 bn more than we export to the EU.
    For us to leave would be a blow to the USE dream .

    The problem is that none of the mainstream parties seems to want to get involved in
    anything remotely forthright and confrontational.

    Oh dear ,do I have to touch it ? Just about sums it up.

    1. uanime5
      January 13, 2014

      We are one of the main contributors to their budget.

      After the UK’s rebates the amount of money the EU would lose if the UK left is minor compared to the remaining budget.

      We import £40 bn more than we export to the EU.

      So if we stopped trading UK shops would be empty and if tariffs were introduced prices would rise dramatically.

      1. Edward2
        January 14, 2014

        Are the shops in Canada or Australia empty or their prices dramatically higher than in Euroland?
        Perhaps your most nonsensical statement ever.

      2. Hope
        January 14, 2014

        Uni, grow up and get some facts right. A load of and tosh. The EU would be scared if the UK stopped contributing to build the failed former states of the USSR to become the failed states of the EUSSR.

      3. Spinflight
        January 15, 2014

        It isn’t the size of the budget, it is the amount given by the donor nations. Brexit would cripple them.

        There would be no loss in trade, yes prices would increase for euro goods but so prices would decrease for world goods. As for the tarifs sounds like £3 billion a year in taxes to me, paid for by Europe. 🙂

        Some poor tories would have to pay more for their BMWs and some commonwealth farmers would be able to sell us their produce.

        Add in the fishing industry too. Would be interesting to see how the Spanish took to being excluded from our waters.

  20. Alan Wheatley
    January 13, 2014

    Boring … until the last sentence.

    95 is a bit less than a third of the Conservative MPs in the Commons. What the so-call Eurosceptic MPs need is a majority in their own party. The Conservatives remain divided on the EU, and the Europhiles are still winning. UKIP bashing is not going to change that.

    Reply: We did not ask Ministers and PPSs to sign – I think we do have a majority of the party

    1. Alan Wheatley
      January 13, 2014

      Re reply: in that case when are we going to see that reflected in Conservative Party policy?

      Of course, one problem we all now have is that the word “eurosceptic” has become so abused that it has lost any coherence of meaning. So, it is the published policy that will count, and lets hope the 95+ can achieve something worthwhile.

    2. Alan Wheatley
      January 13, 2014

      I guess there is a significant number who will never sign such a letter, being europhiles. So are the Conservatives to be forever split on the EU?

    3. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2014

      It’s calculated there are 178 Tory MPs who are not ministers or PPS’s, so you’ve got signatures from just over half of those you approached.

  21. Anthem
    January 13, 2014

    It seems to me that the problem lies in something constitutionally wrong with the UK.

    No government should have the power to sign any of these treaties without the clear and explicit permission of the people.

    It feels like “we” (I use the word advisedly – it was so long ago that most of the “we” weren’t even old enough to vote) were sold something way back in the 70s and have seen treaty after treaty signed on the back of that as though that original referendum still held some kind of validity.

    As I’m sure you’re well aware by now Mr Redwood, the problems for the two main parties are those of credibility and trust.

    The EU hasn’t just appeared. What we have today has been decades in the making and at no point have the Conservatives stood up and said, “NO” to any of it (the last time one of your leaders did, she was promptly removed) and it now all feels like too little, too late.

    Whilst that diabolical duo Blair and Brown may be the guiltiest of all, the Tory’s lack of opposition on the matter has not gone unnoticed and there’s a significant portion of the electorate who will remind you of this come the General Election. We’ll accept the risk of a Labour victory because, quite frankly, actions speak louder than words and your actions (or lack of) for decades have suggested that there’s little difference.

  22. Robert K
    January 13, 2014

    I fully appreciate your arguments and would vote for you at the next election if I lived in your constituency. However, in conscience how can I do that when my Conservative MP is an EU enthusiast?

  23. Timaction
    January 13, 2014

    Your recent articles would suggest that the Conservative party is waking up to the idea that the British public have had enough of the LibLabCon legacy Parties and their anti indigenous British stance on the EU, energy policy, foreign aid, immigration, HS2, free health, education, housing, building on the greenbelt and benefits for foreign people.
    After 3 and a half years of spin and waffle what has brought about this sudden and urgent need for change? With elections looming it can only be…………….UKIP. After the lethargy of office you seem to have found a mechanism not previously available to remove our Country from the previous burdens of the EU at a stroke by the enactment of simple legislation. However, you are in a Coalition with rabid Liberal and Conservative Party Europhiles at its head and therefore this prospect is totally unachievable. This has also been dismissed out of hand by your Europhile Foreign Secretary and Minister without portfolio, Clarke.
    I and several others have already highlighted the requisite mechanism to remove our Country from the jackboot of the EU (Article 50 is the simplest). This under current Treaty and procedural requirements will take several years and require substantial agreement with many other Countries. Many of which benefit from the huge contributions from the UIK taxpayer that grows by the year to run a trade deficit with them.

    The EU is and always has been a political construct. You cannot claim this to be a recent discovery by the Conservative Party who have whole heartedly supported this “ever closer union” and have been signatories’ at the outset and since (Maastricht). They have also colluded with the other legacy parties to hide the truth from the “sheeple” whilst introducing stealthy Treaty (Tidying up exercises) and directives to bring about our current position.
    The so called renegotiation is a non starter from a leader who has lost all credibility. Current events have already moved ahead of this position and a paper prepared for the creation of the United States of Europe. If needs must the UK will be hopefully side lined as an associate member. I just hope that the current EU Rep is removed to ensure this does not as always place us at a disadvantage where we are expected to pay for the EU follies.

    Reply The MPs who have worked on and promoted the idea of how to reassert Parliamentary sovereignty have been doing so for a long time – it is no knee jerk response to UKIP. What has changed is many more MPs now support it.

  24. Atlas
    January 13, 2014

    It all boils down to trust in Cameron. At present he is clearly wanting to stay in the EU, and the parallels with Wilson in 1975 are strong to those of us who can remember them.

    I recognise well what you, John, are saying. The problem is that it is not you who is in charge of these matters.

  25. Brian Tomkinson
    January 13, 2014

    What do you mean when you say Eurosceptic Conservatives? Do you mean a person who is opposed to increasing the powers of the European Union? Or a person who wants self-governance for the UK? On these pages you have told us that Cameron and Hague can be so described. Presumably, if you really believe that, then you take a generous view that they are in the former definition, as it is clear as day that both these men are fully signed up to keeping the UK in the EU, as is a majority of your parliamentary party. Are you in the former category too?
    This brings me to my second question of definition – what do you mean by “How to get us out of our current relationship with the EU”? Do you mean, how can the UK leave the EU? Or, how can we alter some aspect of the UK’s relationship with the EU and stay members of it? If you are in the latter category then you are not truly interested in self-governance for the UK. My own position is unambiguous I want the UK to be an independent self-governing country trading with the whole world. That is why all this smoke and mirrors by your party on this issue, immigration and much else cuts no ice with me.

    Reply I voted for Out in 1975. I have dedicated much of my Parliamentary activity to stopping increases in EU power and trying to find a way to restore self government! Why do you doubt it?

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      January 13, 2014

      Reply to reply,
      Why do I doubt it? Perhaps because you are a professional politician and I am not and you never give a clear statement but qualify it to mean all things to all readers.Two simple examples to illustrate my point: 1. You wrote today “How to get us out of our current relationship with the EU” – why didn’t you write ‘How to get us out of the EU’? Your statement is open to many interpretations my version isn’t. 2. As I pointed out earlier, you regularly say that Cameron is Eurosceptic which most on here would dispute. Unless you define what Eurosceptic means in that context your assertion is totally incredible.

      Reply I am very clear that I want out of our current relationship and want a new relationship based on trade and political co-operation, outside the current treaties.

      1. Spinflight
        January 15, 2014

        So you are not eurosceptic then.

    2. ian wragg
      January 13, 2014

      You haven’t been very successful then John. Maybe your in the wrong job.

      1. Spinflight
        January 15, 2014

        Old goats, even tethered ones have their uses you know.

  26. Gina Dean
    January 13, 2014

    Negotiations with the EU will not work as it needs to be agreed by all 27 nations. This they will not do, as they will see it as punishment to us for wanting to leave their club. Also the loss of our money will mean less for those nations that have recently come to the table to feed.
    It would be a good idea if only that the referendum could be run at the same time as the general election. This would speed up the removal time and we could be finished with them by 2017. If only.

  27. David
    January 13, 2014

    @”I think UKIP and Eurosceptic Conservatives are tackling the issue in two different ways, which could allow the federalists to win. The federalists are enjoying this, because split we run the danger of damaging each other rather than stopping the federalist juggernaut. ”
    This is why we need PR. Under PR splitting the vote will not matter and will enable a free choice in politics (why free market politicians don’t want a free market in political parties should be obvious).

    @”We need a Conservative government in 2015 both to deliver the referendum and to avoid another five years of Labour government”
    The other advantage of PR is that the Tories would have to produce popular policies not just vote for us or get Labour – which I have to admit is a horrid threat.

  28. alan jutson
    January 13, 2014


    Understand your arguments perfectly.

    The problem I have, and its a big one.
    Do I trust Mr Cameron and many other Ministers who’s voting record does not match some of their talk, when even some of the talk is with spiked tongue.

    Many of your commentators here, either run or have run their own businesses, been self employed or worked in responsible positions, they are used to making decisions, negotiating with customers, suppliers, subcontractors and the like.
    They are familiar with the give and take of negotiations and recognise that to get a deal for the long term, all sides have to agree, otherwise you walk away and move on.

    Many of us on the past I am sure have walked away, moved on, only to find that after time we are approached again by the very same poeple with whom we could not agree in the past, and surprisingly often a new agreement is reached.
    It happens all the time with suppliers and customers.

    Thus many of us out here get frustrated when we are told that we are going to negotiate something better (a politicians better) with our supplier, but there appears to be no movement, no demands, no timescale, no structure and no preparation for such negotiations, and yet we still pay more and more each day with the same supplier, providing ever more rubbish goods and services, and are expected to believe it.

    John, aware that you and a number of others are trying very, very hard to move things along the right track, and believe me I thank you and them for that, but at the current rate of progress time will run out (general election next year) before any sensible movement can be seen on behalf of the government.

    Clegg is never going to change his mind, he has been far too involved in the EU in the past and remember his gold plated pension lurks in the background.

    Miliband is just an opportunist who will blow in the wind, as will many politicians just to gain power, and could not negotiate himself out of a paper bag..

    That leaves us with Cameron !

    Clearly you know this man better than any of us, but do you really expect us to follow him over the cliff on his past record, do you really think he has proved to us that he is a tough negotiator, a real passionate leader who would always put Country before himself and politics ?

    So if we are unhappy with Cameron, what do we do, still trust him and give him one last chance, or give him a bloody nose in the EU elections to make sure he understands exactly how we feel, and what is at risk in the general election if he fails to move forward.

    Yes we may be cutting off our noses to spite our faces, but somtimes you have to be true to your thoughts with actions, something Cameron has not shown yet.

    And No I have never before voted UKIP, but I intend to in May this year, because Cameron has treated Conservative party supporters with contempt.

    For the General election I will vote Conservative but only for one reason, you are my MP and you are a member of that Party.

  29. william
    January 13, 2014

    You should expect a large number of voters to vote UKIP in May, to show Cameron they are unconvinced by him, but to probably revert to the party in a GE.

    1. Spinflight
      January 15, 2014

      UKIP are only 5 points or so off the tories in prompted polls. Once that tipping point comes all of their verbiage about wasting your vote on UKIP backfires on them.

      Before you know it they’ll be campaigning for PR so that they can hold their one constituency of Eton West. 🙂

  30. Mike Wilson
    January 13, 2014

    So far in UK General Elections few people have voted for this approach.

    Surely that is a somewhat irrelevant observation. In a first past the post system – where people are voting on a variety of issues (but mainly, of course, the economy and which party they believe will be ‘best for them’) – to draw the conclusion that ‘few people have voted for this approach’ is … well, (let’s be polite), not accurate or factual.

    If you had a referendum on that one issue – and not many people voted for it – then it would be an accurate observation. As it is, it has not been tested since 1974. Then 67% voted to stay in. Now the EU is completely different.

    Even the most optimistic concede that their strategy is taking a long time … I don’t. The Labour party did not replace the Whigs as the ‘second’ big party overnight. It took years of struggle. UKIP have made big strides. Polling between 20% and 30% in elections NOW shows that the tide is turning in their favour. If a vote for UKIP means another 5 years of Labour, so be it. Getting past caring. I find it difficult to see the difference between Tory, Labour and Liberal.

    1. Spinflight
      January 15, 2014

      It took labour 25 years to form a very weak government. Tide is turning and we’re only 20 years old.

  31. Steve in Somerset
    January 13, 2014

    Whilst I enjoy your daily input, it frustrates me that you keep ignoring

    a. The impossibility of a 2017 timetable for treaty change if discussions only start post the 2015 election


    2. A Lisbon Clause 50 notification, which puts an obligation and timescale of 2 years on the EU to agree a deal before automatic exit.

  32. yulwaymartyn
    January 13, 2014

    JR – forget UKIP. A nasty party if ever there was. See the Daily Mail this weekend. The Conservative party should be able to stand up for its own beliefs and you, as a serious and dignified politician, should be in the vanguard of opposing them.

    1. Mark B
      January 13, 2014

      When it comes to identifying a ‘nasty party’, I think the Home Secretary, Teresa May MP got it right first time.

    2. Hope
      January 13, 2014

      Major’s sleazy government was thrown out because of personal failings as much as anything else. Cameron has not learnt from this. After promising early legislation for right to recall he abstained from voting just before Christmas. Now he has Major and chums as his advisers, you could not make it up. Why does he think the Tories were in opposition for so long because people liked Major!! Once more, no need to worry about other parties.

  33. Stewart Knight
    January 13, 2014

    We had vetoes. we had rebates, we had red lines, we had safety nets….Blair and Brown gave them away piece meal for their own ends, Blair in the hope of the EU presidency, Brown for his own federalist ends, even signing away £1billion rebate on 9th May 2009 when he knew he was about to be kicked out…all without reference to the people.

    What’s to stop them doing it again after the treaties have been renegotiated?

  34. Iain Moore
    January 13, 2014

    After Gordon Brown snuck off to sign Lisbon , Cameron said he wouldn’t let matters rest there, but then did just that. It is only now, after his strategy to aggravate the political right in the erroneous belief they had nowhere to go, but found they did in UKIP, that Cameron now seeks to half heartedly cobble together a renegotiating position to claw back some minor powers from the EU, all under the negotiating stance that he could never conceive of a situation where would ever leave the EU.

    And you want us to trust Cameron’s Conservatives? I believe his renegotiating team is stuffed with EU fanatics!

    Just listen to Hague’s mealy mouthed interview on the Today program this morning. He couldn’t even bring himself to slap down Clarke, who has come out with the most outrageous lie over East European (large scale ed) immigration, a case of what immigration, when there are (many ed) of them here, and Hague is supposed to be the token EUsceptic in the cabinet.

    Cone on John, get real, you expect us to trust that lot!

    Reply Mr Hague is not the “token Eurosceptic” in the Cabinet. He is the Foreign Secretary. The most Eurosceptic Cabinet members are Grayling, Paterson, Duncan Smith etc and the most federalist are the Lib Dems.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      January 13, 2014

      John–I hope that “moist” was not a Freudian slip indicating that they are at least partly wet and while we are it one reads in the Torygraph that Osborne is about to argue that a Liberal Europe is within reach. Does this bear any resemblance to the “subsidiarity” (daft word–I for one do not want to be a subsidiary of Brussels) that the Tories you used to tell us they were winning the argument on?

    2. Hope
      January 13, 2014

      No, not true. Clarke is up there, if not in front. He is the Eau watch dog. He always contradicts Cameron or puts him right. Anyone else would be sacked. Look at the company Cameron keeps.

    3. margaret brandreth-j
      January 13, 2014

      Reply to JR’s reply…and it is significant that Duncan Smith is perhaps the real military tactician who understands wars ,whether posed as cooperation , integration or otherwise.

    4. Robert K
      January 14, 2014

      Moist as in slightly wet? Shurely shome mishtake… 🙂

    5. zorro
      January 14, 2014

      Is that wet Eurosceptics? Sorry only joking…..


    6. Deborah
      January 14, 2014

      “moist Eurosceptic Cabinet members ”
      Was that a Freudian slip or just serendipity.
      Oh for some real, solid leadership instead of the wets we are stuck with.

  35. Ken Adams
    January 13, 2014

    Unfortunately you do not seem to be listening, it is impossible to renegotiate for a looser arrangement, what you are asking for is against the very foundation principles of the EU and will not be tolerated. Just the fact that Cameron is suggesting the impossible means he intends to keep us in the EU and will use any method he can to accomplish that outcome. This whole business of renegotiation is nothing more that an attempt to split the anti EU vote and keep this country in the EU.

    Reply On the contrary. If there is no sensible deal on offer – and there may not be – we will vote to leave.

    1. Ken Adams
      January 14, 2014

      I do not think this will be the case, your leader has already stated we would be stupid to leave the EU, he will therefore come back from negotiations claiming he has achieved a settlement, he will then use all the powers of the state to push for a yes on his negotiations.

      It will not be in or out it will be do you want to stay under these new rules, we simply do not trust the new rules would amount to anything and do not trust Cameron to break the fundamental rules of the EU, especially at a time when there is talk of a new treaty tightening the rules and giving the EU even more powers.

  36. Mark B
    January 13, 2014

    John Redwood MP said;

    “. . . the EU makes too many decisions, passes too many laws and controls too much of our lives.”

    Because that is what it is design to do right from the very beginning.

    “UKIP says the only way to deal with the problem is to announce our intention to leave the EU and to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act.”

    Yes, they did start out by saying that but, they have now, grudgingly, admitted that Article 50 is the only legal route by which the UK can now leave. Something that you Part steadfastly refuse to acknowledge, let a lone discuss.

    As for the rest of this piece, which got worse and worse the more I read it I’ll just itemize the points for brevity:

    1. You do not need UKIP or any political majority to leave the EU. You invoke Article 50. This the PM can do without consent either from Parliament or the people.

    2. As you have clearly stated, UKIP have no MP’s, so why do you bang on about them, its as if you are a little scared of what they might do to you and your party.

    3. If I was a member of UKIP, I would not go anywhere near the Conservative Party, you’re politically toxic.

    4. The Conservative Party is in no way a Eurosceptic Party. Europlastic, but not sceptic. Too many fine words, but no deeds tells me this is so.

    5. Cameron has been a disaster for the UK. Insulted and derided even by our own friends, in Europe, Commonwealth and elsewhere (eg: Russia and China).

    6. He did NOT veto The Fiscal Treaty, because their never was a Treaty. It was a Pact, and that was done outside the EU against the rules of the EU so that they could get something going. All Cameron did, was not sign us up to it, well, officially anyway.

    7. Later this year, the next tranche (if that is the right word) of the Lisbon Treaty kicks in, namely Qualified Majority Voting QMV. So, when the other Member States vote on something the UK does not like, what is the UK Government going to do ? Answer: Nothing ! Because it cannot. This is where your ‘veto’ comes up crashing against some hard rocks of ‘reality’. Parliament cannot do these things because you have given to power away to make these decisions. And you cannot unpick past agreements.

    8. “Immediately we could have our own immigration policy, for example.” Err, no you cannot. you have been told often enough that you cannot stop other EU Citizen’s from coming here – PERIOD !!! Why do keep pretending otherwise ?

    9. “This would lead directly to negotiations about that new relationship . . . ” The Commission, Te President of the European Council of Ministers’, other Member States Head of Government, The President of the European Parliament, The European Parliament, me, and just about anyone who has a smattering of how all this works have, and are, and always will, keep telling you this will NEVER happen. Of course, we all could be wrong, but I doubt it. Do you ?

    10. There will be no referendum in 2017.

    11. I am neither surprised or alarmed. The public neither understand or care about this issue because they have been deliberately kept tin the dark. But now EU policies are impacting on their lives business’s etc. it has become an issue, but sadly lacks focus. Too many people blaming immigrants rather than blaming those that are responsible.

    12. Actually I think the Conservative Party have played their best hand and have come up short. The renegotiation meme has been pretty much debunked. They now are trying to seduce UKIP in just the same way they have the Liberals, with possibly the same result at the ballot box. What is is that is said; “Keep you friends close, but your enemies closer.” You’ve been rumbled. If I was running UKIP, I wouldn’t go anywhere near you.

    13. The Federalists/Europhiles pretty much have what they want. The rest will come later. They have waited a long, long time, and are getting ever closer to their ultimate goal. You will never stop them. The only chance you have is to propose alternative solutions outside the EU. eg EFTA/EEA membership.

    I said BREVITY in the beginning of my reply. I really did try to keep it short, but like the piece itself, it was more in hope than reality.

    Reply Of course we could invoke Article 50- we would then need to repeal the 1972 Act – so this can only take place when we have a PM with a majority to do so. Mr Cameron did veto the Fiscal Treaty and prevent it being an EU Treaty.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2014

      Article 50 TEU is NOT “the only legal route by which the UK can now leave”.

      To say that is in effect to deny the enduring sovereignty of our national Parliament.

      (Which under my proposed new treason law could lead to a stiff prison sentence!)

      Before they were amended by the Lisbon Treaty the EEC/EC/EU treaties had no provisions on the voluntary withdrawal of a member state, but we could still have left at any time that Parliament decided that we should leave, as indeed was stated in the government’s pamphlet for the 1975 retrospective referendum:

      “Fact No. 3. The British Parliament in Westminster retains the final right to repeal the Act which took us into the Market on January 1, 1973. Thus our continued membership will depend on the continuing assent of Parliament.”

      Now that the EU treaties do have a procedure for a member state to make an orderly withdrawal it would make sense to use that in the first place, but as Nigel Farage is quoted as saying in the blog article linked below by Tim:

      “But if we find during the course of that time, that frankly we are being had over a barrel, and having the Mickey taken out of us and not being treated fairly then at that point we would have to declare UDI and say to hell with Article 50.”

      And if our Parliament were to do that then it would be perfectly legal under the law that matters, our national law.

    2. Mark B
      January 13, 2014

      Reply to reply

      No ! For it to be a Treaty, there first needs to be a convention. There was no such convention, so no Treaty.

      They asked him to sign a piece of paper, which he sensibly refused. They then went and created their Fiscal Pact. They called it a Pact because they could not call it a Treaty because only the Commission and the EU Parliament can deal with this.

    3. Hope
      January 14, 2014

      No, there were two parts to the alleged veto. Name the EU institutions he stopped Eurzone countries from using. Do not make claims that clearly do not stand up. He created an awful president to act outside EU treaties and never got anything in return not even the transaction tax protected. Your hope is he will negotiate a better deal- do not be ridiculous. Facts on his actions to date and his character show you that your hope has the slimmest chance of success.

  37. Sean O'Hare
    January 13, 2014

    “UKIP says the only way to deal with the problem is to announce our intention to leave the EU and to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act”

    Nigel Farage and the leadership have now accepted that we must first invoke Article 50 of the TEU/Lisbon Treaty. Can you tell us why no member of the Tory Party, even the supposed Eurosceptics such as yourself and Douglas Carswell, never ever mention Article 50, not even in passing. The absence is so glaringly obvious that it leads to severe doubts about your sincerity.

    Reply Yes, I agree we would invoke that first on this approach.

    1. Sean O'Hare
      January 13, 2014

      Reply to JR.

      Thank you!

    2. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2014

      There is no “must” about invoking Article 50, but it would be sensible to do so rather than create chaos for everyone by just suddenly up and leaving.

  38. Kenneth
    January 13, 2014

    Mr Redwood, by my reckoning this post is the closest you have come to calling for an arrangement between UKIP and the Conservatives.

    IMHO, if a pact is left too late any arrangement may look opportunistic and panicky.

    Also, UKIP (and many commentators on this web site) need to get real about refusing to deal with Mr Cameron.

    The PM is very good on tv and in the Commons and would be an asset to the pro-referendum movement. I believe the PM is a very good communicator – one of the best I have seen – and does not appear to be bogged down with political convictions.

    Crucially the BBC seems to accept Mr Cameron and does actually give him a hearing.

    The eu-sceptics in the Conservative Party must recognise that they will be painted as mavericks by the BBC (as happened in the past) unless they maintain a leader who has a broader appeal and will be given time on the BBC.

    1. Alan Wheatley
      January 13, 2014

      Kenneth, why would those who support UKIP because that party’s primary policy is that the UK SHALL leave the EU think it makes sense to have a political pact with a party whose policy is to remain in the EU?

      Also, you can be sure that any electoral pact that gives the Conservatives a working majority at the next general election, thereafter will not be worth not a fig.

      1. Kenneth
        January 13, 2014

        We must be realistic. UKIP is not going to do this on its own, nor are a rump of Conservative MPs (even a large rump).

        The only way this is going to work in my humble opinion is for the two groups to join together under leadership that has broad based support.

        As unpalatable as it may seem, David Cameron is the probably the best person to lead such a movement in my view.

        As far as handing a working majority to the Conservatives, please be realistic. What other party will deliver? Isn’t a mix of Conservative, UKIP and Unionist MPs better than a Lib-Lab government run from Brussels?

        The only other hope we have is for Scotland to leave the Union and that does not seem likely

        1. peter davies
          January 15, 2014

          People need to realize this. Splitting the anti federalist vote down the middle is a classic “divide and rule” tactic which is what Labour are clinging to.

          It was one of the factors in 97 that led to Teflon walking into No10 with a huge majority giving them the easy task of inflicting huge social and economic damage on the UK with ease.

          People need to wake up to that. Milliband may not be of the same calibre as Blair, but his party combined with the Lib Dems is the last thing we need in the UK right now.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      January 14, 2014

      You are talking rubbish, Kenneth. Cameron is admittedly a good salesman but he is lacking in the judgement and commitment departments. Like it or lump it but too many people detest and mistrust him.

  39. Leslie Singleton
    January 13, 2014

    Why cannot we have Patrick Jenkin as PM–I thought he did very well yesterday on the News against that loud-mouthed Liberals I think woman who kept interrupting him all the time?

  40. Sue Doughty
    January 13, 2014

    It is easy to forget, or just to disbelieve, that UKIP was set up to prevent people not wholly in favour of deeper European integration being elected to positions of influence. Were this not true they would not stand a candidate against you, Mr Redwood, and they always do. (In the Wokingham seat they take votes from the Monster Raving Loonie Party and are regarded as another bunch of idiots.)

    What we need to have them answer is – if they get one or more parliamentary seats and a general election and there is a hung parliament would they side with having Mr Cameron as PM or Mr Miliband?

    1. Alan Wheatley
      January 13, 2014

      Sue, they do not have to side with either, and can stay true to their own beliefs. They can chose to support, or not, which ever party has managed to form a government on the merits of each issue as it comes before parliament.

    2. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2014

      Complete rubbish, typical of Tory pseudosceptic black propaganda. Next you’ll be saying “I want to leave the EU just as much as the next man, but …”. Do you really think that these cheap tricks work any more?

      UKIP’s primary objective, laid down in its party constitution, is to get us out for the EU; the Tory party objective is to keep us in the EU at all costs.

      A handful of Tory MPs have openly rejected that, said that we have no alternative other than to leave the EU, and signed up to Better Off Out.

      JR is one of the nearly 300 Tory MPs who has not said that, and not signed up to Better Off Out; for myself I would nonetheless very much like to see him remain in the Commons, and if he had a small majority I would strongly urge UKIP to stay its hand and not risk putting up a candidate against him in case it ended up with him being replaced by some eurofanatic Liberal Democrat; but in fact he has a large and solid majority and there is no risk of that happening, so in his case I have no objection to UKIP contesting the elections to advance its cause.

      Reply I have made very clear I do not support our current membership.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        January 14, 2014

        John, All your reply means is that if +10 means you want IN and -10 means OUT, you are at zero. We want more at -10.

        Reply No, that is not what my reply means at all. In any referendum on staying in on current terms I will vote for Out.

    3. Spinflight
      January 15, 2014

      “What we need to have them answer is – if they get one or more parliamentary seats and a general election and there is a hung parliament would they side with having Mr Cameron as PM or Mr Miliband?”


  41. Tim
    January 13, 2014

    That’s just not true about UKIP. As Farage said in September this year ” the only mechanism by which we can withdraw is Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty”.

  42. Bert Young
    January 13, 2014

    Two things in responding to you today – firstly , it is undeniable that UKIP has not yet made it to Westminster , so , its past campaigning did not produce a successful result ; secondly, I fully agree that the situation has changed and UKIP should now align itself with the Conservatives to bring about an entirely different relationship or , exit from the EU . Attitudes and the opposition to the EU have changed significantly in the past four years and the popularity of UKIP has grown substantially; it now has much more of a chance of getting into Westminster . Farage seems to have watered down his views on David Cameron and he probably could be persuaded to come to some amicable relationship with him ; the question is – would David Cameron be capable of climbing down from his previous criticisms of UKIP and be trusted enough to cement such a deal ? . Any positioning that would result in a Federalist majority at Westminster ought to be avoided at all costs and the present back bench action to curtail the EU and re-create our independence , is a dramatic change in affairs and heralds the opening of a relationship with UKIP . I sincerely hope that things will continue to improve and a successful outcome will emerge . Keep it going !! .

    1. Alan Wheatley
      January 13, 2014

      Bert, one thing you must bear in mind is that if UKIP and the Conservatives did do a deal it could mean far fewer votes for UKIP because: (1) ex-Conservatives voters who switch to UKIP because they no longer wished to support the Conservatives, even at one step removed; (2) ex Labour voters who have switched to UKIP are hardly likely to help the Conservatives; (3) those who have not voted because they have not liked the choice available and now see voting UKIP as worthwhile may have a change of heart.

      I think you are looking at your hoped-for relationship from one side only!

      1. Spinflight
        January 15, 2014

        You have to pity the poor wretches still clinging to the hope of a pact.

      2. peter davies
        January 15, 2014

        It doesn’t matter how many votes UKIP get overall if they are spread out across the country and they come 2nd or 3rd in each seat – total wasted effort.

        UKIP should only be targeting federalist seats where they have a realistic chance of winning, its no good a Tory Euro-sceptic going head to head with a UKIP candidate – otherwise you end up with an Eastleigh scenario multiple times over.

        If UKIP and the Tories are sincere about the greater good of country before party, this has to be the approach

  43. lojolondon
    January 13, 2014

    John, there is no doubt that you and Peter Bone, people like that have more sway now than UKIP do. But UKIP fills an important function – they set the standard, and they are pushing hard for what we want – harder than Tory MP’s appear able to do. For years UKIP and any other Eurosceptic party has been starved of publicity by the BBC and MSM, but now the BBC senses that Labour could benefit from Tories moving to UKIP and they have raised their profile accordingly. The point that the BBC has missed is that Labour is the party for the unemployed, UKIP are the party that directly addresses the concerns of British blue- and white-collared workers.

    Farage says quite correctly that he will work with any Eurosceptic party including the Conservatives but never with Cameron and I think he is quite right so to do.

    UKIP can win seats in Labour areas that will never vote for the Conservatives, and my hope is that in 18 months time we will have a government that will give the British people a route out of the EU.

  44. Peter Cooper
    January 13, 2014

    That’s all very well but the Conservatives have had 30 years or so to sort this out. How much more time does the Parliamentary party need to get its act together? This time might be different, but some of us have run out of trust and are looking elsewhere. UKIP frankly deserve a chance and after a successful result in the Euro elections, who knows where the bandwagon might go?

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2014

      More like 53 years than 30, since 1960 when Macmillan first sent Heath to try to negotiate terms for our absorption into the emerging European federation, then known as the European Economic Community, the “Common Market”, “the Six”, which early attempt at surrender was vetoed by de Gaulle.

  45. ian wragg
    January 13, 2014

    John, the Tory party is overwhelmingly europhile so UKIP’s stance is the only realistic one.
    Unless and until Cameron is replaced with someone who has the nations interest at heart, we are all doomed.
    No one believes a word he says and we know from comments by Murcky etc that renegotiation is not on the cards. As I said yesterday, Cameron will opt for associate membership which will be a worse deal than now and campaign for a yes vote to secure his future within the EU establishment.
    The mans a chancer and has no intention of any meaningful negotiations.

  46. John Wrake
    January 13, 2014

    Mr, Redwood,

    According to your post “UKIP and most of the Conservative party are divided by a common aim.”. Since when has 95 comprised a majority in a body numbering 303?

    According to your post “Of course the repeal of the 1972 Act and the relevant declaration to the EU could get us out quite quickly. The issue is how would this come about in UK politics? So far in UK General Elections few people have voted for this approach.” Hardly surprising, since none of the Parties with traditional support have advocated it. You and I know that our current voting system heavily favours established Parties, who are all federalist in policy.

    According to your post “To bring this about UKIP needs to win 326 seats in the Commons. So far after ten years of trying they have won none.” UKIP have only been in existence for ten years. How long did it take Labour to get representation in the Commons? Seats in local elections mirror the same problems for new Parties as in national elections.

    According to your post “.Sensible UKIP supporters want their party to work with the Conservatives to help supply a majority for an IN/Out referendum in the next Parliament. This then gives us, the British people, the chance to vote for Out and trigger the repeal of the 1972 Act.” Is this a fact? I have not understood that sensible UKIP supporters want a Referendum in the next Parliament, but rather have been calling for one now. The impression I get is that that they want nothing to do with the present federalist Conservative Party.

    According to your post “We have a leader who has made it official policy to negotiate a new deal and put that to a vote of the British people.” It is a policy already roundly rejected within the E.U. His negotiating position makes no demands, comes from a man who has stated his intention to vote against withdrawal and is wholly without credibility.

    According to your post “…. This would lead directly to negotiations about that new relationship, and would show that the UK does wish to be self governing again.”

    We do not WISH to be self governing AGAIN. We DEMAND that our government return to the rule of law and our Constitution which states that we are a Constitutional Monarchy ruled by our Queen in Parliament and She is not subject to any foreign domination. We are not governed by Treaty, still less by treasonous agreements against the peoples’ interests.

    John Wrake.

  47. Chris
    January 13, 2014

    The hope of a referendum in 2017 has been derailed by the already advanced plans by the EU for a new treaty, with proposals for a draft already available, courtesy of the Spinelli group of MEPs’ proposals
    This already has Barroso’s backing apparently and is likely to form the basis of a future Convention, subsequent Intergovernmental conference etc. The timing of the negotiations of a new treaty will completely upset any proposals Cameron may have for 2017 – the EU will instead be in the middle of discussing drafts for the new treaty for ever closer integration (the proposals for this in the Spinelli document are frightening, to non federalists) and will not countenance any sideline attempts by Cameron to cherry pick and opt out. What will be on offer from the EU will be Associate membership, with terms drawn up by the EU, and apparently less favourable than we have already (see Spinelli document). It is this that we will be offered a choice on by the EU: Associate membership, or Out, and this cannot possibly be in 2017, but more likely 2018, or later. So, the focus of the campaign by Eurosceptic Conservative MPs seems to be wide of the mark – there will be no possibilities for renegotiation and cherry picking. Either we are part of the core, having surrendered all our sovereignty, or an Associate Member, having to abide by the rules, but with no power. Handing over sovereignty is the membership fee for joining the Club.
    It is interesting to see the proposals for power being concentrated in the core, with the executive of the United States of Europe being the European Commission, and the legislature being made up of the Council and the European Parliament.

    The great potential problem is that, unless the electorate is well informed, the Associate membership could be spun to be something far better than it is. Make no mistake, we would have gained nothing, and likely be in a worse position than we are now. (C’tinued)

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2014

      To repeat my comment on that on the last thread, which I hope JR will permit:


      I haven’t had a chance to read through that yet, but I note for starters that another word for “Fundamental Law” is “Constitution” – for example the German constitution is the Grundgesetz, which is usually translated as “Basic Law” but can equally well be translated as “Fundamental Law”:

      – and that its proposed Article 4.2 reads:

      “The Fundamental Law and the law adopted by the Union on the basis of the Fundamental Law have primacy over the law of its States.”

      which parallels Article I-6 in the EU Constitution that was rejected in the French and Dutch referendums in 2005:

      “The Constitution and law adopted by the institutions of the Union in exercising competences conferred on it shall have primacy over the law of the Member States.”

      In other words, the eurofederalist dogs are once again returning to their vomit.

  48. Chris
    January 13, 2014

    Continued from post above: excerpt from Spinelli MEP group proposals for a new EU treaty, called “A Fundamental Law of the European Union”. Page 20 (See para 3 in particular about cherry picking etc and “recalcitrant states”)
    “Radical constitutional changes
    The Fundamental Law brings back the symbols of the Union (the flag and the
    anthem) which were jettisoned from the Treaty of Lisbon. It also elevates into the provisions on enlargement the critical Copenhagen criteria on good governance
    which must apply to candidate states.

    There are two further reforms of major constitutional importance which make
    the Fundamental Law stand out from previous efforts at treaty revision. The first
    concerns the method of future treaty change. Here, we keep the method of the
    Convention, in which decisions are reached by consensus. But we modify the
    procedure for the Intergovernmental Conference to allow amendments to be agreed
    by three quarters of the states. The European Parliament gains the right of assent to
    treaty changes. Any future new treaty will enter into force either once ratified by four
    fifths of the states representing a majority of the EU population or, if carried in a
    pan-EU referendum, by a simple majority. This less rigid approach to constitutional
    amendment will bring the EU into line with all other international organisations
    and federal states, and help to avoid situations in which one recalcitrant state can
    take the rest hostage.

    The second important constitutional change flows directly from the first. EU
    states cannot be forced against their will to take the federal step. At the same time,
    such states cannot be allowed an open-ended possibility to pick and choose what
    they want from the EU and discard the rest. The point has been reached when yet
    more à la carte opt-outs and derogations risk fracturing the cohesion of the acquis
    communautaire. Free-riding means disintegration.

    The Fundamental Law creates a new category of associate membership for any
    member state which chooses not to join the more federal union. Each associate state
    would negotiate its own arrangement with the core states. Rights and duties would
    have to be clear. Institutional participation would necessarily be limited. Continued
    allegiance to the Union’s values would be required, but political engagement in the
    Union’s objectives would be reduced.
    Associate membership could cater for the needs of Norway, Iceland and Switzerland,
    seeking to improve on their present unsatisfactory arrangements. Other
    countries, notably Turkey, choosing not to join the EU but desiring and deserving a
    permanent, structured relationship with it, might find associate membership to be
    a credible lasting settlement.
    Such are the main features of the Fundamental Law, a new constitutional treaty
    which will strengthen the governance and cohesion of the Union and bolster democratic
    confidence in our common endeavour to build a better Europe.

  49. JoolsB
    January 13, 2014

    With respect John, politicians are deluding themselves if they think UKIP’s chances of winning seats in the 2015 election are no different to their chances in 2010. I was a lifelong Tory voter/activist of forty years and in 2010 spent months knocking on doors to help get a Conservative Government elected to get rid of an anti-English, pro Europe, pro (deliberate) mass immigration, incompetent and rotten Labour Government and like so many ex-Tories am bitterly disappointed to discover that Cameron’s Conservative party are not Conservative at all and just as anti-English and pro Europe as the rotten Government they replaced.

    Since the last election, it has become apparent that the real Conservatives are now UKIP which is why we ex-Tories are turning to them in our droves and why they will do so well in 2015. UKIP are no longer a protest vote because they alone propose policies which appeal to real Conservatives unlike the policies of the party calling themselves Conservative. The list of Conservative policies which UKIP propose and the Cameroons do not is endless but the reason UKIP will get my vote in 2015 is because they are the only party willing to address the rotten deal England is getting post devolution both politically and financially, something that Cameron and the Tories who only exist thanks to England shamefully refuse to do. This is the first time the Conservatives have been in power since Labour’s dog’s dinner of a devolution act which deliberately left England out in order for them to carry on using their Celtic votes and Celtic MPs to govern England and the Tories have made a huge mistake by doing absolutely nothing about this gross affront to democracy. They make a huge mistake in thinking England hasn’t noticed how they are treating it with the same contempt as Labour and for the sake of our kids and grand kids who alone face crippling £9,000 tuition fees and for the sake of our sick who alone have to pay prescription charges and exorbitant hospital parking charges and for the sake of our elderly who alone are still being stripped of every asset they have ever worked for should they need care, UKIP is England’s only hope. The party calling themselves Conservative obviously see nothing wrong with the status quo and this blatant discrimination against the bulk of their constituents and stupidly believe if they never say the word England, then England will not notice that we are not all in this together after all. Cameron’s Conservatives have let England down badly so what is the point of voting for them?

  50. Chris S
    January 13, 2014

    Need I remind you that more than 50% of those voting in Eastleigh voted for pro-Brixit candidates yet they ended up with another Federalist LibDem MP ?

    The only way we are going to get the referendum we all want is to work together.
    Nigel Farage seems to be softening his line to create the conditions for a deal while Conservatives continue to hang on to the faint hope of achieving a majority in 2015.

    Yesterday’s letter to the PM was a hopeless distraction demanding we break treaties legally entered into. No responsible government can deliver this.

    You would all have a chance of achieving something if the time was spent pressing behind the scenes for a deal with UKIP for 2015.

    1. Spinflight
      January 15, 2014

      Nigel put any deals in the hands of the branches.

      One such approach from the tories in Somerset received two votes in support and about 150 against.

  51. matthu
    January 13, 2014

    “There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified.” Ted Heath

    “What you can’t have in any system that relies on some common rules – even in a free trade area that relies on common rules – is each of the parliaments being able regularly and unilaterally to say we are not applying this or that just by our own decision … I’ve never changed my view, which I characterise as in Europe but not run by Europe.” ” William Hague

    These two statements are both deceitful for different reasons: Ted Heath’s because it was always on the table (although concealed from the electorate) that the UK would lose sovereignty, William Hague’s because if the UK parliament is no longer capable of disassociating itself from EU regulation then it is being run by the EU.

    (Notice how Hague substitutes ‘not run by Europe’ for ‘not run by the EU’ – another deliberate deceit.)

  52. JoeSoap
    January 13, 2014

    No, the federalists are enjoying the Tories being split on the issue, not the differences between Tory Eurosceptics and UKIP! Listen to Nick Clegg’s interview yesterday! The Tory party needs to decide where it is going on this, not UKIP, not Labour and certainly not the LibDems.

  53. JoeSoap
    January 13, 2014

    All the time we vote for Conservatives where a majority of MPs did not sign your letter, and do not agree with it, we are voting for a Federalist Conservative Party, by majority of MPs. Please live with this, leave the Party, or try to change it, but don’t deny it!

    Reply A majority of backbench Conservatives did sign it.

  54. JoeSoap
    January 13, 2014

    The logical extension of this, if you have the courage of your convictions, so to speak, is to put a deadline on the changes requested in the letter, and if they’re not met, leave the Party, en masse. Clearly your “way” will then have been proven not to work, just as 99% of your correspondents on here have suggested for some years now!

    1. Alan Wheatley
      January 13, 2014

      I suggest a practical deadline would be the 2015 general election. That way everyone will know who is still an MP, and so who’s leaving will be significant, and also what’s available as an option to leave to.

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 13, 2014

        Well, the Spinelli Group seems confident that there will be a Convention to draft a new treaty and that it will probably start in the spring of 2015. If so then that could be a live issue in the general election, insofar as the main parties ever allow anything to do with the EEC/EC/EU project to become a live issue at a general election. But I would have thought some might deem it wiser to get our general election out the way before they started on the process of stitching us up again, with the co-operation of whichever new government had been formed, or whichever parties. Then with luck it could all be not only agreed but ratified – no referendums anywhere, preferably – and in force, another fait accompli, before the following general election.

  55. Max dunbar
    January 13, 2014

    If you had a leader who acted like a conservative you would not be having to write letters like this. It sounds like desperation. You would also not have UKIP snapping at your heels. They would surely still be at the fringes of right-wing politics. The fact is that however much you try to dismiss UKIP by quoting ancient history of election failure, what matters is their success or otherwise now and in the near future.
    We know that their election fighting machine runs in first gear only but even this seems to gain them some moderate success. However, their operation in Scotland shows how far they have to go. It’s a shambles up here but at least it looks as if they may have managed to ditch a few flabby bottomed fossilised ex-Tories. Perhaps the clean-out will do some good and they will start keeping proper minutes of meetings, adhering to agendas, discuss tactical campaigning and refrain from drinking beer and navel gazing until their meetings are concluded.

  56. Roy Grainger
    January 13, 2014

    I think UKIP represent the only hope for an eventual Eurosceptic victory but in one very specific way – they have some chance of winning some Northern seats from Labour in constituencies where the Conservatives have no chance at all of winning. As such they could tap into the large Eurosceptic minority on the left. Farage is right to highlight this opportunity, a less Europhile Conservative leader might assist him – in general their other policies are aligned with the Conservatives.

    1. Chris S
      January 13, 2014

      Well Said Roy.

      This is exactly why a Conservative/UKIP deal is so necessary if we are going to get the referendum.

      Give UKIP a clear run in” a couple of dozen” Northern seats as Farage is suggesting plus run joint candidates in a few Southern seats like Eastleigh where more than 50% voted for candidates supporting a Brixit but they ended up with another Federalist LibDem !

      It’s so obviously the Right way forward !

  57. Paul Gilroy
    January 13, 2014

    John, would you and David Davies combine forces and lead the charge – get rid of Cameron and betwixt the pair of you exhibit some leadership! I like a lot of what you have written but I think it naive to think that the separate constituents of the EU are remotely influenced by the greater good. Cats in a sack would be an appropriate analogy. That said, I’ll live with this failing rather than have Miliband and the 2 C’s walk into government in 2015. With Cameron as Party leader that is exactly what is going to happen.

  58. forthurst
    January 13, 2014

    “I am more worried because I think UKIP and Eurosceptic Conservatives are tackling the issue in two different ways, which could allow the federalists to win.”

    The conservative party should have thought of that before they refused to offer the public a proper system of PR in the referendum. It serves them right if a lot of them lose their seats in the GE.

    1. Sidney Falco
      January 13, 2014

      I will have great pleasure watching the meltdown and panic in the Tory party after the EU elections this year. (I will be astounded if UKIP do not win the most votes of all parties standing.)

      At the same time I feel sorry for people like John Redwood (our host) who are on the right side of the argument.

  59. Antisthenes
    January 13, 2014

    Euro-sceptics have nothing to be optimistic about as there is so many obstacles to them ever seeing a genuine renegotiation of the UK’s membership, reform of the EU and least of all an exit. You have highlighted one of the most important in that there is not a common front exacerbated by UKIP splitting the right wing vote and thereby almost ensuring RedEd enters no 10 in 2015. This is only one obstacle of many. Also there are many more pro EU MPs and Lords than anti at Westminster and the bureaucrats who will do the renegotiation are to my mind too biased towards the EU to do a decent job of it. The time scale for the referendum is unrealistic for a number of reasons but perhaps most importantly because the EU will long before present a new treaty that will be to ensure more political and economic integration not less as purportedly David Cameron wants but I have a suspicion that he really does not. Of course this new treaty may have the effect of triggering a referendum but knowing the commissars they will either present it in such away that it will not or if it does and the UK voters reject it they will keep having referendums until they accept it. I believe article 50 is the means all euro-sceptics can be united because although it is the mechanism for leaving the EU it is also a tool that can be used to renegotiate as if after provoking it it is possible that the EU will make sufficient concessions during the two year negotiation period to satisfy the majority of euro-sceptics so as to allow the UK to remain a member although for me I cannot see them conceding enough.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 14, 2014

      Well, Article 50 TEU makes no provision for a country to revoke its notice that it intends to leave the EU.

  60. peter davies
    January 13, 2014

    It amazes me how relatively easy it has been to sign treaties and almost impossible so far to amend or repeal any of them. There is the issue of trust with the Tory high command but at the end of the day we wont get anything done without the right support in the commons.

    There has to be a lot of give and take here, the 2015 GE will need to be fought on a seat by seat targetted basis, though given the way Labour operate it would not surprise me in the least if they changed their stance on a referendum to win votes before finding a way to wriggle out of it after 2015.

    Tricky times indeed

  61. Chris
    January 13, 2014

    Essential to balance what the Eurosceptic MPs are claiming they can do with the views of an ardent Eurosceptic who, through his forensic knowledge of the workings of the EU, can offer authoritative and rigorous criticism of these claims. See the 3 articles today on the eureferendum blog by R North : EU politics: a proxy for getting out? EU politics: a complete misrepresentation (comment on Boris J). EU politics: a dead end street.
    If the debate is to really move forward I do feel that the Cons eurosceptic MPs have to be aware of what he says, even though they may find it unpalatable. We are all supposed to be in it together, so the more the right pulls together, the better. However, there needs to be some expert “inside” knowledge added to the campaign, and I believe that RN provides this.

  62. Remington Norman
    January 13, 2014

    You say:

    1.’ So far in UK General Elections few people have voted for this approach.’ – i.e repealing the 1972 act. General elections are not a single issue forum, so public opinion has yet to speak on this matter. That is one reason why a referendum is necessary.

    2. ‘We are backing the European Scrutiny Committee’s proposal for the UK Parliament to have a veto on future and past measures from the EU. This would immediately restore the supremacy of Parliament, and allow us to opt out of any measure we did not like. ‘ It is beyond credibility that you and your co-signatories genuinely believe that the EU hierarchy would agree to any such proposal; it is to put it plainly, a non-starter.

    The psychological problem the Tory party in general, and David Cameron in particular, has is that they fear the unknown (but not unpredictable) consequences of Brexit. As you have repeatedly pointed out that eventuality would not cease trade with the EU and would likely give the UK a strong hand at the negotiating table. Mr Cameron unfortunately does not have the guts to take a firm line on this and has shown himself indecisive. As with much else, he will only act when events force his hand. Meanwhile, confidence and the country continues to suffer.

  63. Freeborn John
    January 13, 2014

    The Conservatives need to lose very, very badly in 2015. So badly, which such a shift to Ukip, that you will never ever again elect as leader a man who wants to lead the Yes campaign in an EU referendum.

  64. uanime5
    January 13, 2014

    We are also more likely to get a better new relationship if the other members states see it is likely otherwise we will simply exit. We want trade, not common government.

    Given that the EU wants common government and trade it’s likely that they won’t stop the UK exiting and will trade with use the same way they trade with the USA and China.

    In other news since the coalition was elected in 2010 the number of unemployed 18-24 year olds has dramatically increased. So it looks like another lost generation has been created.–and-this-government-seems-to-have-no-answers-9054334.html

    1. Edward2
      January 14, 2014

      Youth unemployment in Europe is considerably higher in your beloved Euroland or have you forgotten Uni?

    2. peter davies
      January 15, 2014


      If I were you uni before spouting your usual drivel I would check out how the EEA works. The proposal is to pull out of the EU political structure NOT the EEA though some want that as well.

      Even Switzerland (outside the EEA) seem to trade easily with the EU without too many barriers or tariffs – explain how that works.

      “Plight of Youth Unemployment” Nothing to do with higher qualified people coming from Ex USSR countries wrecked by socialism and taking their jobs then?

  65. Sidney Falco
    January 13, 2014

    What undermines your whole post is that your leader and most of the Tory party high command want to stay in Europe.

    I honestly believe that, if there was a vote on current terms, Cameron, Osborn and Hague would vote to stay in.

    I think I’ve seen you say that, if there was a vote on current terms, you would vote to leave. (Daily Politics?)

    To get terms that I would be prepared to sign up to would require the bureaucrats in the UK to be prepared to leave – and – for the EU bureaucrats to believe it.

    They don’t and the political will to do so is not there to guide (or force) the faceless bureaucrats negotiating on our behalf.

  66. Kenneth
    January 13, 2014

    The BBC has waded into this issue with its own political slant.

    I can’t believe the childishness of this, but this is what the BBC has written, but sadly some people will believe it as there are many who still trust the BBC.

    Considering many people elected these politicians I think the BBC has gone too far in its rudeness to voters and outright political interference in a democracy.

    Political Statement from the BBC, 13th January 2014

    Why are 95 Conservative MPs backing calls for EU veto?

    1. The malicious – those Conservative MPs who are just bent on giving David Cameron grief, come what may.

    2. The withdrawalists – those MPs who privately want to take Britain out of the EU and are adopting a position like this because they know it is ultimately incompatible with EU membership.

    3. The worriers – those Tory MPs who know this policy is unworkable but feel they have to sign letters like this to try to keep UKIP at bay in their constituencies ahead of the European elections in May.

    4. The pushers – those Tory MPs who know that when pushed, Mr Cameron changes his mind on Europe and want to push him again. They accept they won’t get a national parliamentary veto but they might pressurise No 10 into doing more, say, on benefit curbs for immigrants.

    5. The thick – those Tory MPs too stupid to understand the implications of a unilateral parliamentary veto, thinking it might be just a tougher version of the “red card” system being considered by the government whereby a group of national parliaments could block European commission proposals.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 14, 2014

      “it is ultimately incompatible with EU membership”

      Curiously each member state being able to exercise a national veto on new laws wasn’t deemed at all incompatible with EEC membership at the time of the 1975 referendum, indeed our right to veto any new law was one of the reassuring things specifically mentioned by the government in its official pamphlet.

  67. Lindsay McDougall
    January 14, 2014

    Nigel Farage made a mistake by standing against the (theoretically) neutral Speaker. At the next election, UKIP should concentrate on bringing down pro-European MPs. This would include some Conservative MPs.

    The Conservative Party’s biggest problem is that Mr Cameron has not specified any red lines in his negotiating stance. Lord Kalms, ex-CEO of Dixons, has written that specifying red lines is good tactics in any major renegotiation. I am glad that Tory back benchers are now putting forward specific ideas in this area.

    Unfortunately, Mr Cameron’s Bloomberg speech did not contain any criticism of the Single Market. This is odd because the Single Market is not something static. It has been changing for the worse ever since our Act of Accession to the Maastricht Treaty reached the Statue book. Each of the federalist treaties – Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon – has been a new milestone on the road to serfdom, authorising more areas of EU competence and moving us further away from genuine free trade towards a continental version of socialism. I don’t vote for a capitalist party in order to see it overruled from abroad.

    I don’t think that you are going to win more of the popular vote back from UKIP until the Conservative Party starts to lay down red lines in its negotiating stance. And they have to come from the mouth of the Prime Minister in unambiguous language.

  68. lojolondon
    January 14, 2014

    John, I thought you should see this poisonous article on the subject :

    Pro-Europe, anti-Conservative and so insulting as to be almost libellous – a great example of the propaganda that is present in every programme and webpage on the Biased BBC.

  69. Terry
    January 14, 2014

    When are we going to hear from the Europhiles, their main reasons why Britain should stay with the politicised EU? To put a blunt point on it, why did so many millions have to die in two World Wars so that Britain could remain free from tyranny, when the EU is now ruling us as a dictator who arrived by duplicitous stealth? We, the electorate were deliberately mislead over the EEC and unelected rulers are not conducive to fine and fair democracy.

    Now, regarding your comments about the present state of UKIP within the Commons; the same could have been said of the SNP years ago. Now look how they have grown and from the disenchantment of the Scottish electorate. The key is in the perceptions of the electorate but UKIP have an uphill struggle because of the most unfair boundaries and constituency formations. They are biased in favour first of Labour and then then Conservative.
    I am sure Nigel Farage, with the assistance of his two wise and wealthy benefactors will have a plan to deal with that handicap and I am sure he knows this will be his best chance but last shot at gaining some Commons seats for UKIP. Like it or not, John, the electorate are more in line with Mr Farage than they are with the current PM.

  70. Neil Craig
    January 14, 2014

    There are a number of other issues on which UKIP differ sharply with the Tories – eg immigration, alleged catastrophic global warming, windmills, economic growth, PR elections, foreign “aid”, commercial space development (& perhaps more importantly the Tories are not trusted to mean what they promise while even opponents recognise UKIP mean it).

    Of course if the Tories want a deal they are at liberty to offer one (as UKIP did beforev the last election n& were refused). It might be better for them to do so now than wait till the have come 3rd in the EU elections and are more vulnerable to the charge of deliberately splitting the vote to put Miliband in.

  71. John Wrexham
    January 14, 2014

    You don’t have to be a Eurosceptic to see that UKIP’s current plans to have candidates standing against Eurosceptic Conservative MPs in the 2015 General Election is proof that they have no real strategy. Surely they can see the bigger picture?? Standing in May 2014 is fine, but don’t do an SDP on the Conservatives if what you want is a Eurosceptic government rather than a Labour one. More importantly, these fringe parties continually fall apart or fail to deliver once they have any kind of success at the ballot box. UKIP’s successful candidates at the last Euro elections have gone in many different ways since and how many will actually be standing in May as UKIP candidates?

    1. Leslie Singleton
      January 15, 2014

      John–So, according to you, we are stuck with the present two and a quarter main Parties forever? No thanks. History demonstrates that change in the structure of Parties is very possible, simply because it has happened so often. Nobody said it would be easy. The problem with the idea of UKIP’s not standing against EUsceptics is that their consequent lower overall share of the vote would be harped on about.

      Reply: I just report the facts of what has happened in elections so far with UKIP around, and polls of what might happen in 2015. I am not making my own forecast in this piece.

      1. mike
        January 15, 2014

        IF it was all about europe and IF the vast majority of our members were sympathetic to the tories and IF our strategy were merely to force a referendum, accept the result and drift away to the shires content then you might have a valid point.

        Need I tell you that none of the above conditions are met, are ever likely to be met or would be desirable even if met?

        There appears to be a great deal of misunderstanding within the tory party. I can understand a wishful dreamlike projection of what you would like UKIP to be, however transposing that into reality and stating it as fact is absurb, if amusing. 🙂

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