Conservative party to be neutral on EU referendum

I welcome today’s announcement that the Conservative party will not seek to use party funds or party personnel and facilities  to campaign in the referendum. The party accepts there will be people on either side of the vote. It is best if the Stay in and Leave campaigns raise their own money and use their own facilities for a fair contest.


Let us hope the Labour party comes to a similarly wise view. They too will have many on both sides of this argument.


  1. Richard1
    September 21, 2015

    Mr Farage has pointed out that Mr Corbyns plan to renationalise the railways would be illegal under EU law. This of course is an argument for EU membership. I wonder what other ridiculous plans of Mr Corbyns would be prevented? If it looks likely Corbyn could get in it might be better to put up with the EU rather than have the UK turned into Venezuala by the sea. This was why many Conservatives, including Margaret Thatcher, favoured EC membership in the 70s & 80s.

    1. Richard1
      September 21, 2015

      Syriza, although more or less a Marxist party, in practice can do very little in Greece. It’s an interesting dynamic. The EU infantilises electorates leading to protest parties such as far left Syriza getting in (Corbyn would be a UK equivalent). But the EU more or less prevents them from doing very much once they have.

  2. Lifelogic
    September 21, 2015

    Good, but what about the absurdly bias of the EUphile BBC? What about Cameron control of the timing of any referendum and the presentation of the result of the (claimed) renegotiation?

    September 21, 2015

    The less money used the better.

    If recent developments within the EU across the board carry on in their natural course then the EU will break up without the UK sticking out and having to pay exit penalties and vengeful future import and export tariffs.

    The lynch pin of the EU arguably always has been Germany. Socially it is it meltdown quite incapable realistically of balancing the diverse and expensive expectations of a ultra-growing population; yet, with a Chancellor who surprisingly years ago declared unequivocally in October 2010 that multiculturalism has “utterly failed”. Now its flagship company VW admits to a deliberate engineering deceit.

    Battleship Merkel is now scuttling in a Scapa Flow of its self-designed self-inflicted exquisite and meticulously engineered political and industrial arrogance.

  4. zorro
    September 21, 2015

    That is good news, as long as the word is kept and Cameron isn’t telling porkies….


  5. Old Albion
    September 21, 2015

    There will never be an in/out referendum.

    Reply I will frame that one! The Bill for one is through the Commons.

    1. Old Albion
      September 22, 2015

      You are suggesting that such a bill could nevr be changed, ditched, forgotten or fiddled.
      I say, remember the “cast iron promise” of a vote on the Lisbon treaty.

      Reply I do remember it, because Mr Cameron and I and other Conservative MPs voted for a referendum on that as promised. We did not renew the promise for the 2010 election as by then Lisbon was incorporated into our law and the combined treaties.

  6. APL
    September 21, 2015

    It’s more like self preservation than wisdom. Cameron has made so many Eurosceptic sounding promises, just imagine the ructions if he tried to take the party along to Euromania, then on the other hand can you imagine the fireworks in the Tory party ignited of course by that old traitor Ken Clarke. if Cameron advocated out?

    The tottering edifice would come tumbling down. As it is, it’ll stand a year or two longer.

    Reply You could welcome an important milestone in the run up to the referendum. You could also see it acknowledges that many Conservatives do simply want out.

  7. agricola
    September 22, 2015

    Very sensible because political life must continue after the referendum. Within the party the opening debate should be at your October Conference from the platform and floor of the house, fully televised. Might put a bit of life into what is normally a self congratulatory inward looking event. I look forward to you and Daniel Hannan putting the case for departure.

    Now we need to ensure that both the BBC adopt a totally neutral stance and ask pertinent searching questions of both sides. The large corporate argument for staying in need to be subjected to surgical scrutiny.

    Even more important, the EU with all it’s propaganda machine must be told to shut up and keep out of it. It could be a lesson for them in how democracy works.

    Reply There will be no such official debate at the Conference, for the very good reason that the negotiation will be nowhere near complete so we will not know what we are arguing about in terms of the deal.

    1. agricola
      September 22, 2015

      Reply to Reply

      It matters little what CMD is negotiating, because it is not designed to return our sovereignty. The UK public will be lied to just as they were with Wilson, Heath, Blair and Brown. What we need to know is where the conservative party in the country stand , not what their Europhile leader thinks, on the question of sovereignty. Personally I think the organisers of your conference are running scared of debate, and what they might discover. Who runs the party, CMD and his cabal or the party members as a whole. Enjoy the charade of re-negotiation.

  8. David Wariing
    September 22, 2015

    We must at all costs deny the public hard facts on the EU.
    for the real picture…

  9. Douglas Carter
    September 22, 2015

    I’d have to say with equal approval that the LibDems seem to have not learned a single lesson from the election and not only will be headlong supporters of EU membership at the referendum (albeit, an EU they will be entirely dispossessed of the membership details of…) but also that Mr. Clegg will intend to play a leading role in the ‘Remain’ camp.

    I hope his unique brand of electoral success will transplant itself to that side of the Campaign with some alacrity?

  10. DaveM
    September 22, 2015

    Good news.

    I shouldn’t worry about the Labour Party, though. They’re pretty much an irrelevance at the minute.

    The only organisation that doesn’t think Corbyn is the most dangerous person in Europe (apart from Merkel) is the BBC. And even my kids (who barely know the difference between a socialist and a capitalist) think the BBC just seems to spend its whole time trying to (quote) “make us want to keep immigrants in our garden shed”!!

  11. petermartin2001
    September 22, 2015

    Mr Redwood,

    I’m seeing reports in the press that Britain has paid, in full, a £1.7 billion EU surcharge that David Cameron described as ‘appalling’ last October and vowed to halve – if I remember rightly.

    Is there any truth in this?

    Reply I think the argument is over the rebate, with the government claiming credit for the rebate on the payment which they said they had to negotiate or remind the EU about.

  12. The Active Citizen
    September 22, 2015

    Splendid news, JR.

    Out of interest, have there been any polls of the Conservative Party’s membership recently, in terms of Remain/Leave? And any polls of Labour’s membership, do you know?

    That would give us all an idea of the number of potential activists who might be called upon to support the Leave campaign by direct campaigning.

  13. margaret
    September 22, 2015

    When the comments come to your side to moderate ,what format do they take? We have a sequential formation of articles and the subsequent comments, however you have comments arising out of many articles: do you also have to back track or are you alerted of new comments in past articles?

  14. Anonymous
    September 22, 2015

    Thank you.

    Will the BBC be neutral ?

    I notice that there is no mention from them of the explosive Ashton revelations. If it had been Farage exposed we wouldn’t have heard the last of it. UKIP would be finished.

    The BBC clearly favours Mr Cameron and will pick up with EU bias where his Tory machine can no longer continue.

    Reply The BBC referred to them but clearly thinks the most newsworthy are false.

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