A new relationship with the rest of the EU

 

I was pleased to secure a change of Conservative policy during the last Parliament with the help of some others. We persuaded David Cameron that the UK’s current relationship with the EU is not satisfactory, and should be improved. We also persuaded him that UK voters should have their say on the new relationship, as the EU can only work if it enjoys the consent of those in it.

We have no wish to damage or limit trade with the rest of the European Union. Nor, I am pleased to report, does the rest of the EU wish to reduce their trade with us. The UK has for many years run a large  balance of payments deficit with the rest of the EU, so they have more to lose than us. The German Finance Minister has confirmed that whilst he would like the UK to remain within the current EU, he would want a free trade arrangement with the UK if voters decide to leave in the referendum. Whatever happens, Germany will want to sell us her cars and France will want to sell us her wines and luxury goods, on the same terms as today. That means that UK exporters will also be able to enjoy the same terms for their sales.

So why do we need a new relationship with the EU? The UK joined the European Economic Community in 1972, and voted in a referendum to stay in in 1975, to secure better trade with our partners. We did not wish to join a United States of Europe, and did not seek the “ever closer union” of the Treaties. Since our entry the organisation has been transformed, with far more powers being exercised in Brussels, and with a huge law code extending into many areas of life that voters did not expect or want. Today people in the UK want the UK Parliament to be able to decide our borders and migration policy, our welfare policy, our energy policy and our tax policy. Increasingly the EU influences or dictates in these important areas.

I will support a renegotiation which seeks to restore UK democratic control over borders, tax, welfare and energy. The UK accepts that the Euro area members need to complete a political union. They will want a banking union, common taxes, common welfare and the free movement of people throughout the currency zone. As a non Euro member the UK neither wants nor needs these extensive extra powers for the European institutions.

It may be possible to do a deal based on the UK offering consent to political union for Euro members in return for restoring to us the democratic powers we need over important areas of public policy. If it proves impossible, as some think, then  UK voters will have the chance to vote to leave. Exit would trigger the need to secure a trading based relationship, and to sort out the many links and issues between the UK and the rest of the EU.

Only the Conservative party in this election offers a renegotiation of our relationship to one based on trade and co-operation, followed by a referendum. Anyone who cares about UK democracy should want this. Anyone who understands the way the EU is going should see that we do need to sort out a new relationship now, as the EU rushes towards political and monetary union.

Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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8 Comments

  1. Tad Davison
    Posted April 5, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I regularly hear people enthusiastically say what a fantastic thing the EU is. Those good people in Brussels have given us money to do this or that, whilst blindly taking no account of the fact that the EU is merely giving us some of our own money back.

    These same EU enthusiasts also seem oblivious to the fact that the EU now has a say over much of what we do and spend in our own country, rather than it be decided by our own ‘Punch and Judy’ parliament which is now little more than a façade and disguises the true seat of power over there on the continent.

    I also regularly hear these same pro-EU people say the EU has given us some good laws, yet I am still waiting for them to tell me what laws the EU has given us, that our own parliament couldn’t have enacted were it so minded.

    The answer of course, is none! Yet we are chained to an unworkable money pit that we didn’t vote for. And we are obliged to contribute to a whole tranche of unnecessary political bureaucracy, for very little if any gain as long as we remain a part of it.

    With the odd exception, we were never told what the true consequences of voting ‘Yes’ in the 1975 referendum would be, and the people who trusted the judgement of the politicians were sold a pig in a poke. Few ordinary folk took the trouble to read The Treaty of Rome, and were taken in by the assurances of Heath and Co. that membership of a common market would be good for British business, and his arguments seemed plausible.

    I vividly recall ‘No’ campaigners at the time were derided, but they have been proven to be absolutely right.

    Whilst a renegotiation might go some way to address this travesty, it isn’t really the solution. Re-negotiation is petty tinkering. We need complete withdrawal, and I see only one political party is prepared to give us that commitment.

    The whole EU edifice will eventually come crashing down around the member states anyway, so it is best we are well out of it to mitigate its effects and consequences lest we are called upon to pick up the tab.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  2. Gumpy Goat
    Posted April 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Surprising numbers of potential conservative voters I have talked to state that the Tories negative views on Europe puts them off

  3. DaveM
    Posted April 5, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    “restoring to us the democratic powers we need over important areas of public policy.”

    Can I amend that to “restoring to us the democratic powers we need over ALL areas of public policy.”

    Looking at the (Ashcroft and other) polls and talking to people, I would suggest that you are not losing your voters to Ukip – Labour is. However, the Libdems are losing theirs to Labour. I’m sure there are enough SpAds to work that out. So – once again – a dialogue with Ukip and an appeal to the Lab/Ukip voters is crucial before you can even start thinking about doing what you’ve written.

  4. Man in a Shed
    Posted April 5, 2015 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    The Conservative party offered many things in 2010, some came with cast iron guarantees, some with ‘ no its no buts’ reassurances.

    It turns out you don’t deliver.

    Whilst I left the Conservatives over the redefition of marriage, you other betrayals weigh heavy against you also.

    I see no reason to believe the promises this time.

    There is only one way we will leave the EU and that is by having a strong vote for UKIP.

  5. alan jutson
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Has you position changed on the EU John ?

    For years you have argued that all you wanted was Trade and Co-operation with the EU.

    Now you seem to be suggesting in this latest post, that you would be happy with only borders, tax, welfare and energy.

    Rather a lot less than previous comments.

    Reply NO my position has not changed. All I want is trade and political co-operation. I highlighted the major areas where the EU intrudes too much.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 7, 2015 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Reply-reply

      Thank you for clarification.

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I would very much like to eavesdrop on any conversations you are granted with the leadership of your party. They do not seem to have the same ideas as you on much but definitely on Europe. Your terminology Mr Redwood is forthright and definitive, your leadership’s, perhaps necessarily but annoyingly, is open to interpretation.

    What recourse do you and the minority of true eurosceptics in the party have when your leadership claims to have renegotiated a good deal when in fact they have been sent away with a flea in their ear and an instruction to deliver a stay in vote?

    Reply We will be involved in the negotiation process and will vote against any deal which falls short of what we need.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted April 7, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      I believe you Mr Redwood but I fear you will be marginalised by your own party.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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