The EU referendum is a defining moment for Conservative MPs- we will be judged on this for Parliaments to come

I am sending this open message to fellow Conservative MPs today:

Be true to your electors! If you told them you were Eurosceptic, then vote to leave the EU in the referendum. Your supporters backed you because they want our democracy restored, with powers of self government returned. They will feel very let down if you do not help them get the UK out of the EU at the referendum.

This referendum will be a defining moment for MPs. We will be judged for several Parliaments to come by what we do and how we vote. Some colleagues have implied that as it is the people’s choice their vote can be a private matter. This is unrealistic. If you claimed to be a Eurosceptic to get selected and elected you now have to vote to leave. It is important to listen to the members of our party who turned out to help you win your seat.
We live in an age when traditional political parties are mistrusted by many electors. One of the main reasons is their fear – or in the case of some parties their experience – that promises are not kept or important views are overturned once in office. It is crucial that we do the right thing by our voters on this most important of matters. This is a time to put country before party, and the public interest before any personal interests. Brussels is a bureaucracy run by bureacrats for bureaucrats. Many of those who voted for free trade with the EEC dislike the excessive regulatory interventions of the single market, and never imagined they were voting for a government of the EU with its own currency, anthem, President, borders, foreign policy and soon to have its own Treasury.

We know more than enough about the prospective deal to know that it falls far short of the words of the Prime Minister’s Bloomberg speech, where he rightly talked about restoring Parliamentary control over the things that matter to our voters. His well meaning efforts to negotiate a compromise that the UK can live with has simply illustrated the sad truth that the UK can no longer decide for herself the most basic things like how much we pay in benefits, who we invite into our country or what taxes we levy.
We Conservative Eurosceptics have rightly highlighted the dangers of having to ask permission to make even modest changes to our spending plans, our taxation and our borders. Those of us in the Commons at the time united to oppose the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon treaties that gave away far too much of our power to govern ourselves. David Cameron himself led us in our opposition to Lisbon. The deal before us does nothing to change a single word of any of these treaties. Not a single veto is returned to the UK that was wantonly given away. In future without a veto the UK government, Parliament and people can be outvoted by other EU states, giving us laws, taxes and policies we do not want. The well intentioned efforts to give us a bit more freedom over the payment of benefits in certain circumstances is not proof against a European Court case reversing it, nor against a future change of policy by a majority of EU members.

There is no half way house or middle way. The vote is simple. Stay or leave. If like me you want to be governed by a democracy, where government is of the people, by the people, for the people, there is only one option. UK democracy is incompatible with EU membership. Your voters and your party members look to you now to lead them. They will watch carefully, and will expect to see you now do what your words at the selection conference and at the election implied you would. We cannot just be Eurosceptic for the election.

Yours ever

John

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146 Comments

  1. Duyfken
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Nicely done and a timely reminder. I should also like professed eurosceptic MPs not just to vote to leave but also actively support the “Leave” campaigns. We shall all be watching!

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Won’t we just!

      • Hope
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        JR,
        There is integrity issue. Many people voted for Tory MPs because what they claimed to believe in. Some campaigned and distributing leaflets and the line in the belief of what their candidate said they believed in. Others in Tory associations voted for their respective choice on the same basis, some voted for Tories on the manifesto pledges over the last three elections. Cameron can be seen on YouTube clearly expressing the dangers of the Lisbon Treaty. The points he made did not feature in his negotiation. Some of your colleagues are frauds. They used deceit for their own gain, whether to get elected as an MP or prime minister. If they had any honour they would resign, starting with Cameron. He has not stood up for what he told us he believed in, he has not negotiated FUNDAMENTAL change in the EU or mitigated any of the dangers he warned us about. If he has not got very far with his negotiations as you might claim then he should now be leading the UK out. He is not. His word is worthless. He now insults those who helped him and his party get elected. He needs to be removed. He is not standing for election so he has nothing to lose to fulfill his Europhile dream. Unlike millions of his countrymen whomfought and lost their lives to protect, like Bill Cash’s father.

    • Paul H
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      I wonder if we will see promises of peerages to any MPs who support leave but subsequently lose out in the boundary reshuffle and/or in 2020? After the tax credits vote it was suggested Cameron wanted to create more Tory peers, so that would be the proverbial two birds with one stone.

  2. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    A sceptical or cynical electorate figures the bad news is always left until after their ballot.

    Bad news or the worst news from the EU will follow the Referendum as sure as Trump may follow Obama in November.
    Such an eventuality will mean Mssrs Cameron, Hammond, Fallon to name but three will either sing from a different hymn sheet or not at all. Certainly Mr Trump will see the EU as a commercial/trade competitor and not a means of fighting what he calls “stupid wars ” in the Middle East. He does not share Mr Cameron’s nor EU Top warmongers’ views that Assad and Russia are anything but US allies in the fight against ISIL.

    • acorn
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      This sham referendum contest among MPs, should really have taken place nearer Christmas, then the 99% would recognise it as the Pantomime that it is.

      ‘Oh yes it is!’ … ‘Oh no it isn’t!’. You may have other ideas but I think Jack and the Beanstalk, is probably the nearest fit. Jack comes back from the EU with a bag of magic beans from the EU Commission etc etc. ‘Fee, Fi, Foe Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman’; that’s if he is not bored out of his mind by the time we get to this mythical giant of a referendum at the top of the beanstalk.

      I suspect 1% Westminster types, inners and outers, will congregate in their subsidised bars, when it’s over, and drink to having put on a good show for the 99%; most of whom, particularly the English, didn’t have a clue what the panto was about anyway.

      “UK democracy is incompatible with EU membership. “That sentence bothers me. Who will protect the UK 99%, outside the EU. What defence will we have, against an rUK government, that is looking to turn the UK into a one party corporate state with its current legislative agenda???

      • Michael Walzer
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Acorn, I feel the same.

        So, almost everybody here thinks that post-Brexit we will have “democracy” with a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

        Well, JR, I hope so too. Say, I’ll be reminding you of these very nice words you are producing today on 15 February 2016, and see what they’ll result in in six months, a year, three years, or at next election …

        • Mitchel
          Posted February 15, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

          @ Michael Walter

          No,actually,we don’t.Getting out is a sine qua non but only the first step in restoring democracy.

          • Michael Walzer
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

            Coming out of the EU is obviously the first step. But how do you make sure that more democracy will result from it, specially as both Conservatives and Labour do not seem too keen to change FPTP.

            There are certainly some politicians making good noises, but if you look at his voting track (available from http://www.parliament.uk), Dr Redwood seems opposed to any change to the voting system.

            Reply: So was the UK public when we had a referendum on it.

          • forthurst
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            “Reply: So was the UK public when we had a referendum on it.”

            I should not have to repeat what the Electoral Reform Society has said about AV, because I had always believed that JR was a fast learner, however:

            “AV is not proportional representation and in certain electoral conditions, such as the 2015 General Election, could have produced a more disproportional result than First Past the Post (FPTP). ”

            There is no democracy in this country when the majority at each election are effectively disenfranchised by the FPTP system, a system which is conspicuous by its absence from most electoral systems.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            There are those from all parties committed to reform of the UK electoral system to deliver fair representation:

            http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/feb/08/mps-activists-hold-conference-start-electoral-reform-campaign

            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/electoral-reform-labour-snp-ukip-and-lib-dems-to-campaign-for-proportional-representation-a6859711.html

            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britains-political-system-will-stay-broken-without-proportional-representation-chuka-umunna-warns-a6861161.html

            There are, of course, those who oppose the introduction of such fairness. Why wouldn’t you if you get to be in power with the support of less than a quarter of the electorate?

            If the Conservative party are so convinced that the electorate would reject proportional representation they should have no problem offering the electorate a referendum on changing (or not) to using a proportional system. After all, winning such a referendum would then provide an answer to the PR question once and for all. It could be run on the same day as another referendum which is apparently coming soon, which would keep costs down. 🙂

        • Hope
          Posted February 15, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          Rad the Daily Express article headed Chicken Dave. He has changed his agenda of meeting MEPs because Farage would be present. He hoped to persuade them not vote down his pathetic non deal with the EU.

      • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        acorn:

        I agree there is a democracy-deficit. A huge one. Who are these people in the EU dictating to us? Their names? Their titles? Their roles?

        Yes you are right. In the UK alone, a quinquennial or even a quadrennial “X” on a ballot paper in our General Election against names and parties people really do not know falls somewhat short of even Representative Democracy. There are other forms of democracy such as populist; bioregional; liberal and so on. But all democratic models rest on an informed and interested electorate.

        Frankly, there does not seem a full answer.

        Most assuredly schools ought to be able to teach the ins and outs at a practical level of democracy…How to: Chair a branch meeting of a Party; to get elected to a branch position..not just in theory as in “get people to support you”. But our teachers are themselves not up to it. They are poor and blank. Hard to believe but a few of them actually read The Guardian. Of those, one or two believe they understand it. Of those a sloth’s fingers of them actually believe what they believe they have read. Of those an odd teacher indeed believes he agrees what he believes he has read and what he believes he understands in the belief that he is educated enough to know what to read or not what to read. No wonder the nation’s kids grow up daft and are incapable of doing much in a democratic way except pencil in an “X” on a piece of paper 12 times in the their adult life.

        Is it any wonder we have a Prime Minister wimping his inglorious way over the whole of Europe begging for alms.

        Reply Our democracy is much more than a vote every five years. It includes the rule of law, protection of minorities, the pressure of public opinion, right to representation by your MP and the role of Parliamentary opposition.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 15, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          To reply: It is indeed a bit more than the right to vote (for the least bad option) every five years and then often to watch them do the complete opposite of what they promised. But there is very certainly considerable room for improvement.

          A proper MP recall system as was promised by the Tories perhaps. A HOC speaker who believed in freedom of information.

          I see we are continue to waste money on Vellum. I suppose the £80K PA pales into insignificance give the speakers and other expense claims, lunacy like the green crap and HS2. After all they can just raid landlords and private pensions again can they not.

        • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
          Posted February 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          Quite

        • forthurst
          Posted February 15, 2016 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          “Reply Our democracy is much more than a vote every five years. It includes the rule of law, protection of minorities, the pressure of public opinion, right to representation by your MP and the role of Parliamentary opposition.”

          Firstly, there has been a lot of chatter concerning Magna Carta this year; I applaud the concept of equality under the law and of our Common law protections which is why the idea of dividing people up by perceived ethnicity, religion or other ‘minority’ status and giving them legal protections which are not universally applicable is entirely abhorent. Second, it is well known that mass immigration is and has been opposed by about 80% of the population, yet it has been deliberately inflicted on us by all parties ever since the 1948 British Nationality Act and the potential for it is further enshrined in EU law supported by the majority in Parliament.

      • getahead
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        “Who will protect the UK 99%, outside the EU.”
        Well certainly not the Liberal, Labour or Conservatives parties.
        That leaves just one that has yet to be elected, the United Kingdom Independence party.

      • forthurst
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        “What defence will we have, against an rUK government, that is looking to turn the UK into a one party corporate state with its current legislative agenda???”

        We are mostly aware I hope that with one bound Jack will not be free of the shackles of corrupt politicians and special interests who believe they are entitled to steer the ship of state away from the aspirations of the majority. However, To put one’s trust alternatively in an organisation that has abolished democracy by design, which negotiates the TTIP corporate takeover by the USA’s 1%, in secret, and whose campaign to stay in is supported by thieving banksters whose altruistism towards the 99% is as impressive as that of a tapeworm is tending towards the illogical.

  3. Graham Wood
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    JR Well said. A statesmanlike and timely declaration and challenge to many woolly minded faux “eurosceptics” in your party, and not least the mentally indolent Labour party.

    • Timaction
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Good article Mr Redwood. I’m off out to leaflet to leave right now! So should everyone!

  4. Mark B
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Well said and thank you.

    • M Davis
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      “Well said and thank you.”

      Ditto, from me!

  5. Margaret
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    An honourable stance John.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      A honourable stance indeed, One that is extremely rare in this faux Tory party of dreadful, dishonest, say one thing do the complete opposite, tax borrow and piss down the drain, no nation, career politicians.

      Led by the arch exponent of the PR stunt art. The “Eurosceptic”, low tax at heart but not in practice, husky and hoody hugging, cast iron, we are all in it together, no if no buts to the 10s of thousands, long grass non renegotiation & serial ratter Cameron.

      Vote leave and be rid of him.

      • getahead
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Good description Lifelogic!

  6. Antisthenes
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    A Europhile MP or any politician who supports membership of the EU must be either lazy, guilty of muddled thinking, have a vested interest or are actually putting what they perceive as the good of the country before themselves. The last one does happen but not often so in most cases it must be one or more of the first three.

    Politicians who support membership are in a way like turkeys voting for Christmas. They are making themselves superfluous as more and more decisions are made by Brussels there is less and less for them to do and it is diminishing their power to govern. Their power to influence and make decisions on behalf of their citizens is being eroded and justifying their positions will become untenable. They will be reduced to minor decision making and become powerless and toothless.

    Who then will stand up for the people of the UK and fight for their rights and for their way of living. Where will democracy be it is bad enough that domestically all have to bow to the majority. Our democracy is designed to be a dictatorship by the majority. Extending the electorate to encompass all the people of the EU will ensure that minorities and the UK herself will become a minority have less meaningful protection or recourse as their voices will be drowned out by so many more. And of course the EU is not actually structured to allow dissenting voices anyway so it is more a dictatorship controlled by a minority the EU elite and bureaucrats not even a dictatorship of the majority of the people. So even worse than expanding the electorate.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      As you say:

      A Europhile MP or any politician who supports membership of the EU must be either lazy, guilty of muddled thinking, have a vested interest or are just putting themselves above the good of the country.

      Or perhaps just deluded, in love with the “EU is wonderful” religion, or simply mad I suppose.

      Surely none really think that the wild ride to an undemocratic, sclerotic, socialist top down, proven disaster, EU superstate is a good idea can they? Mind you some people are even daft enough to belief they are saving the world by building wind farms, putting PV cells on their roofs and riding their bikes to work. More ratting from this government on absurd subsidies for on shore wind too.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/12156171/Revealed-the-great-wind-farm-tax-con.html

        Lifelogic says More ratting from this government on absurd subsidies for on shore wind too.

        Good link above regarding “stopping subsidies for wind”. Calling it something else and just changing the name does not meet expectations of the public. The Tory government promised to stop funding onshore wind in their manifesto and we believed them.

        John, great letter and I hope more ministers are as loyal as you are. As you say, there are many things promised in elections and then forgotten afterwards. Not good enough. So far, this Tory government has been a big disappointment to many of us considering they are not shackled by the Lib Dims at the moment. We expected so much and Cameron is failing on many fronts. If only more were like yourself.

      • turbo terrier
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        More ratting from this government on absurd subsidies for on shore wind too.

        My understanding is that they will get money for building power stations, if this is so, then it will be only right and proper to redesignate the land they are built on as a power station and therefore be taxed accordingl both on unearned income and change of land use. It is madness that farms can receive cAP payments and be paid thousands for ground rent and sem to get away with very little tax a la Google.

  7. David Price
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Good letter.

    This is a referendum so it is less important how an MP votes there but it is crucial how they vote in the house and campaign more widely.

    It is not enough for an MP to cast his referendum vote, he or she must come off the fence, declare their position and campaign to support it.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Most Tory MPs claimed to be Eurosceptic to get selected, indeed many who are clearly pro staying in are even now sill even now claiming to he Eurosceptic. They perhaps take their lead from the serial ratters Cameron and Osborne who are happy to say almost anything to gain popularity but then forget it just a few minutes later.

    Osborne for example claimed to be in favour of “tax simplification” and yet has ratted on his IHT promise and has made the tax systems even more complex and stupid. You can trust a word he or Cameron say.

    As you say, there is no half way house or middle way. If you want to live in a democracy, where government is of the people, by the people, for the people, there is only one option. UK democracy is incompatible with EU membership. Not only that but there is no alternative EU democracy to choose. The EU is profoundly anti-democratic there is not even a coherent EU demos upon which to rest any democracy.

    Even the remain voters should vote to leave, a far better deal will follow as night follows day, we should reject that too. If the UK voter vote to stay they will deserve all they get.

    If you love Europe you must surely vote to leave this sclerotic, socialist and anti-democratic superstate in the making. For the sake of Europe and the EU it is surely your duty to do so and show others the door.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Even the absurdly pro EU, Lord Daniel William Finkelstein, Baron Finkelstein on radio 4 this morning was still claiming to be a Eurosceptic.

      Just how stupid do these people think the voters are?

      • graham1946
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        They are Eurosceptic only in the sense that the BBC will invite them on ‘for balance’, then they say what they really think. I heard that this morning and couldn’t tell there was a sceptic on there.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          As I used to try and argue, with a view to getting rid of the ghastly non-word, “Eurosceptic” can be held, and reasonably enough unfortunately, to mean that the individual involved has the odd slight doubt about one or two aspects so that anybody and everybody can claim to be so. And that’s not to mention what the “Euro” bit means or doesn’t mean.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

            EUsceptic is surely the best term and given the disaster the EU has proven to be is not everyone an EUsceptic?

  9. alan jutson
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Thank you John.

    MP’s certainly need to realise that if they ignore the electorate, then the electorate will ignore them at the next General Election.

    Mp’s who are putting self and Party before our National interest, need to realise that after the referendum, we then vote on who we want to Govern us at the next General Election.

    If our MP’s are not willing to stand up to be counted TO PROMOTE SELF GOVERNMENT, then there is absolutely no point in electing them.

    It has been absolutely clear for years that we do not fully control our own borders, immigration policy, Budgets, Taxation, VAT, Benefits, and a whole host of other important Government services.

    The simple fact that our Prime Minister has had to go around the EU, publicly begging for some of his, and our control back, is a shameful visual example of how far we have lost the plot, and control of our own destiny.

    Leave and at least we are in control of our own destiny, stay and we eventually give up a whole host of other powers to the EU as it seeks further control year by year.

    Time for those who care about our ability to govern ourselves to stand upright and shout it from the rooftops.

    For those who just want to remain silent for personal gain, they need to recognise that their gain will be very short lived, as the public have long memories.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Well John Major buried the Tory party for three and a half terms, even then only scraping home under Cameron thanks to the dreadful vision (to the English) of a Miliband dog wagged by an SNP tail.

      Yet Cameron seems very keen to drive them over a cliff again. He has far less excuse as he is surely less dim.

  10. Cheshire Girl
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Well said. Too many MPs tend to sit on the fence, with an eye always on how what they say may lose or win them votes. This is the time for them to come clean and say what they really think, and not submit to any bullying from above!

  11. DaveM
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Bravo. If only all MPs had the same conscience and dedication to duty.

    • sm
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Seconded.

      • BobE
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        Thirded

  12. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    The EU grandees did a tour of Europe putting their position of More Europe. Strangely, they never came to Britain. So I think most people here are bored by the whole thing and that they may vote REMAIN because things are going pretty well really. And LEAVE means, to them, a risk.
    Why has no Grandee of the EU been on TV and put their passionate belief in More Europe? Where is M. Juncker at this time? Or Andrew Duff? Or any other of the Spinelli Group? Or Guy Verhofstadt? These people, if they believed in it, should be shouting their (secret) case from the rooftops!
    Mr Cameron and the Cabinet are guilty of going along with this secrecy. Shame on all of them!

  13. Paul H
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    A good note, although you must have been gritting your teeth when you wrote “well meaning” and “well intentioned”.

  14. The PrangWizard
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Well said, and much needed.

  15. Ben Kelly
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I do hope any replies you receive are also open. It would be enormously enlightening to read Mr Hammond, Mr Gove and Mrs May’s responses and rationale for turning their backs on this country in favour of careerism.

    What tribalism kicks in once in government that drives ministers to give away their responsibilities to the supranational behemoth? Can the public have sight of these convincing civil service briefings to decide for ourselves? Or is it just the 3 million jobs and prevention of war fallacies?

    Is there no ‘leave’ sympathetic journalist that you could collaborate with to distribute your recent musings to a wider audience? The simplicity of most of your arguments deserve to be more prominent within the debate.

    • graham1946
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Well, this time the press do not seem to be all in favour like they were last time. Even the Daily Wail which usually supports everything CMD says are looking very sceptical as is the Sun which normally supports the Tories regardless, The Express is very anti, so all is not lost. We need a fair hearing in the broadcast media (a bit unlikely, but I for one will be watching and listening and making complaints if not, as I wish everyone would). and we’ll have a good chance. With the EU support from Blair, Brown and Obama, we are already on our way. None of them will surely be taken seriously, Blair the untrusted, Brown the incompetent and Obama the disappointment.

  16. The Active Citizen
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Delighted you sent this letter JR. It can only enhance your standing in the Party. I can see the headlines:-

    Ex-Minister John Redwood tells Tory MPs to put country before party

    In a dramatic move today, Tory ex-minister Dr John Redwood told his colleagues in an open letter: “Be true to your electors! If you told them you were Eurosceptic, then vote to leave the EU in the referendum.”

    “This is a time to put country before party, and the public interest before any personal interests… We cannot just be Eurosceptic for the election.”

    Dr Redwood went on to say: “The deal before us does nothing to change a single word of any of [the EU] treaties. Not a single veto is returned to the UK that was wantonly given away. In future without a veto the UK government, Parliament and people can be outvoted by other EU states, giving us laws, taxes and policies we do not want. “

  17. DaveM
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35575793

    Hahaha. Another scare story evaporates……!!

  18. formula57
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Nicely put – although I hope and trust the target audience is other than that addressed for who amongst MPs ought to need to be told?

  19. MikeP
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Well said John, I only hope your colleagues read it and not file it in the “too difficult” box.

    Out of interest are you able to share on here the level of correspondence or other lobbying you get from constituents relating to the Referendum or your stance on the EU, over and above this blog? Just curious as to the perceived level of Euroscepticism there.

    Reply I am getting very little correspondence/emails from constituents, probably because I have been clear throughout the election and the Parliament on my stance.

  20. agricola
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Perfectly explained to your fellow MPs. You are abundantly clear and accurate on the premiss that their actions will be something on which the Conservative party is judged for many years to come. I can accept that some may have a stay opinion, however illogical I may think it. I can even accept ministers obliged by collective responsibility, but come the moment when the tape goes up I expect clear support for the sovereignty of the UK. It is a national question, not one of party politics or future perceived career.

  21. Ian Wragg
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Is it true that Cameron is giving himself 48 hours to sell his stitch up. Does he honestly think we are so stupid.
    You certainly will be judged and the way it’s going there will be lot of P45’s on the Tory benches at the next election

    • getahead
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      What bothers me is that this government has turned into an absolute dictatorship.
      All we get is Mr Cameron says this, Mr Cameron says that. It’s as if there is no-one in government apart from Cameron.
      …………………………………………….
      It’s time the cabinet dumped Cameron. He is all talk and no substance.

  22. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Well done!

  23. oldtimer
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    This is a timely and well directed letter. This is indeed the time to put country before party and before patronage.

  24. ChrisS
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I agree with every word.

    Of course, it puts you in direct conflict with the Chancellor and particularly with the PM, but I don’t suppose that is a matter that concerns you in the slightest.

    Looking at the Labour Party, there is a warning to Members about complying with the wishes of the narrow group of people in their local party or association. As we are seeing with Labour, it is relatively easy to highjack a a local party, particularly a Labour one, with the very real possibility of decent and honourable members being deselected.

    In my view, when MPs vote the should always take into account the wishes of a majority of those that they represent, not just those that selected or elected them. There will be exceptions, of course, capital punishment springs immediately to mind, and MPs have a duty to safeguard minorities of whatever political or ethnic hue. We would be wise to anticipate that in some constituencies, population movement could well mean that white, indigenous resident will become the minority.

    In the case of the European Referendum the Prime Minister is quite wrong. However he attempts to dress it up, his renegotiation has very clearly yielded nothing whatsoever of substance. MPs who previously expounded the need for a new political settlement with the EU and/or firm Eurosceptic views should therefore be supporting Brexit irrespective of career considerations.

    In this respect and within the Government, Philip Hammond and Theresa May are a particularly disappointment.

    As for Boris, the jury is still out but every day he delays choosing sides makes him vulnerable to the charge of putting career self-interest above Country.

    Not an accusation that could ever be levied against our host !

    • scottspeig
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      If you ask me, Boris has proven to be a conniving con-man. Constantly talking up the eurosceptic view but in reality just being a sound-piece. If he was as Eurosceptic as he espounds, he would have been as fervent as our host for Brexit

  25. Jumeirah
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Thank you

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    This will happen after we have voted in this referendum, but before we are kindly granted another referendum on anything to do with the EU, if we vote to stay in:

    https://euobserver.com/tickers/132262

    “Bosnia submits membership application to EU

    By EUOBSERVER

    TODAY, 09:29

    Bosnia and Herzegovina submitted its membership application to the EU on Monday, a European Commission spokesperson announced. Kosovo is now the only part of the Balkans that hasn’t done so. For his part, Jean-Claude Juncker has said that no enlargement of the bloc would occur during his term.”

    But of course:

    a) these are small populations compared to Turkey and Ukraine; and

    b) Hague wrote a blanket exemption for all accession treaties into his “referendum lock” law so that we wouldn’t have a referendum on whether we wanted any of them in the EU, which has already been invoked to block a referendum on Croatia joining:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/statement-on-accession-of-the-republic-of-croatia-to-the-european-union

    “In the written Statement, the Minister for Europe said:

    “A Parliamentary statement has been laid before the House today, 2 February. This has been made pursuant to section 5 of the European Union Act 2011 as to whether the Treaty concerning the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union falls within section 4 of the EU Act.””

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Unless things have changed very recently,Kosovo’s independence has not been accepted by all the EU’s members,particularly those with separatist issues,and may itself be subject to the breakaway of its ethnic Serb region.

  27. mick
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Well said Mr Redwood, you are very correct and true in every thing you say and do and are surely without doubt a true patriot, what is getting me at the moment is all these politicians who are saying they are waiting to see what Cameron is going to come back with, i`ll tell you what he`s going to come back with a big fat NOTHING, even if by chance he gets something the dreaded eu will with the help of lib/lab/snp help would claw it all back, i would`nt mine being a fly on the wall in these “negotiations” and listen to the double talk that will be going on

  28. Iain Moore
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Nicely said.

  29. eeyore
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    All sides agree that the EU is in need of profound change, and that Mr Cameron’s handful of concessions is only the start. Those who favour Staying say the right strategy is to argue for that change from within, and win the argument.

    Alas, to make a case is not necessarily to win it. Your fellow MPs should be able to tell their constituents what happens if we stay in the EU and then lose the argument.

    What is their Plan B?

    • MikeP
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Sadly we’ve been “within” for long enough to realise that we rarely get our way, having been out-voted in the Council of Ministers at every turn. Our desired form of membership is incompatible with the EU’s direction of travel.

      The real truth I believe is that our MPs are running scared of the higher level of accountability that comes with running the country ourselves and not outsourcing it all to Brussels. Why would any Government – particularly one so apparently duplicitous as this one – take on all that hard work when they can continue their cushy existence managing the few scraps left that the EU hasn’t taken over.

  30. Shieldsman
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    You are keeping faith with the electorate and in particular with your local party membership.
    I noted that five members added their names to the letter to Mr Cameron.

    The important sentences were:
    We are also mindful of the commitment to reduce migration to the UK to the “tens of thousands”, and how reliant on a fundamental change to the principle of free movement of people within the EU this commitment is.
    We do not feel these manifesto commitments alone were enough to represent a good deal for Britain in Europe, but given the clarity of the commitment they were at least the minimum outcome we could hope for in any renegotiation.
    As they have not been met, the only responsible and honest thing for the Conservative Party – and for those in it – to do, is campaign for Britain’s exit from the European Union.
    You made clear that if you did not get the deal you wanted in Europe you would not rule out campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union yourself, and we hope you will now unite your party and Britain in doing so.

  31. AndyC
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Good stuff, I agree with every word. Well almost every, but I see why you felt the need to put in the bit about ‘well meaning’!

    I shall forward this to my MP and invite his response.

  32. Mitchel
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Stirring words from a true patriot.

  33. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Does anybody understand what Hammond is on about with his twaddle about going down to the wire? That phrase relates, First, to a contest, Secondly, to an exciting finish, and, Thirdly, to a clear cut result, none of which applies–or perhaps the Third applies a bit, with of course the EU winning. All we have is our PM grovelling for about half a peanut and even then managing to get it watered down (Sorry!). And Hammond has it all wrong about the EU collapsing without us. Absolute nonsense and always has been. Of course there are big advantages in the EU for the smaller countries somewhere vaguely to the South East (“far away and about which we know little”) but as ever what has that to do with us?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Exactly right on Hammond.

      It is the UK moral duty to leave and show how much better things can be outside to others. It is vital that we restore some real UK democracy.

    • graham1946
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      It’s all a scam to big up Cameron and to try to fool those listening that he really is a hard negotiator, and that the will keep going right to the end, when in fact he is an EU toady, has not and will not achieve anything of substance. I fully expect that on Friday, something that has not yet come up will be his ‘rabbit out of a hat’ with the collusion of his masters in Brussels, to make it look like he’s got something.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        http://www.harvard-digital.co.uk/euro/pamphlet.htm

        “We explain why the Government, after long, hard negotiations, are recommending to the British people that we should remain a member of the European Community.

        We do not pretend, and never have pretended, that we got everything we wanted in these negotiations. But we did get big and significant improvements on the previous terms.

        We confidently believe that these better terms can give Britain a New Deal in Europe. A Deal that will help us, help the Commonwealth, and help our partners in Europe.

        That is why we are asking you to vote in favour of remaining in the Community.”

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      And I have just read that now the Attorney General might be leaning towards Brexit but that, like so many others apparently, he is painfully sitting on the fence waiting for the results of Cameron’s joke efforts before deciding. I have no clue who is kidding whom but I for one simply do not believe that anybody, never mind a herd of them, is going to base his decision on such minuscule and inconsequential changes. I do not believe that anybody at this stage has not made up his mind nor that such a puff of wind is going to make the slightest difference–except of course to what they say in public.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 16, 2016 at 3:47 am | Permalink

        Post Scriptum–In other words the fact that the EU won’t, or might not be, quite so absolutely appalling is hardly game-changing. Cameron is simply delusional.

    • Qubus
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      If, as it is claimed, the EU members say that it would collapse without us, why don’t they make more effort to accommodate our wishes?

  34. Vanessa
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Very different from the lies we hear from Mr Hammond on the “Marr” show where he says all Cameron has renegotiated is set in law – which it is not. The EU could throw it out of the window immediately we vote to stay in. Unless there is a new Treaty ratified by ALL 28 members there is NOTHING binding about anything Cameron says or Hammond – misleading the House (or lying) comes to mind. This PM is one of the most corrupt and dishonest Heads of State Britain has ever had the misfortune of putting into office. I hope his head will roll.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Indeed he was clearly lying.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Dear Vanessa–Thank God he is NOT Head of State–only of Government

      • Vanessa
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        The State in Britain is the government.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Personally I would, with one reservation, accept treaty changes which were agreed in detail and formally signed by all of the EU leaders, but not yet approved by all of the member state parliaments and finally ratified. I think we cannot reasonably expect 27 countries to go through their complete approval processes before it is known whether what is on offer is acceptable to the British people. My reservation would be that if we voted to stay in but then one or more of the other countries failed to follow through with approval and final ratification then either we left or the process of renegotiation would have to be restarted, and with another referendum.

      • Andy
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

        Well up to a point, but I no longer trust the Continental Europeans after the disgraceful spectacle of the EFSM where all the heads of government entered into what all believed to be a legally binding agreement only for the Commission to rip it up without so much as a by your leave. Dishonest and dishonourable.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

          Well, Cameron repeatedly said that he’d got “the bail-out power” back:

          https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=%22bail-out+power%22+cameron

          and claimed that as an example of how he could repatriate powers from the EU, when there never was any such power, in fact the EU treaties explicitly prohibited any bail-outs, and all he had got was a political agreement that the UK would be graciously exempted from participation from any future eurozone bail-outs, which political agreement was then broken.

          If a treaty protocol was negotiated, agreed in detail and signed then that would commit the other EU leaders to use their best efforts to get it approved in each of their countries and ratified so that it could come into force. It would not, and could not, bind their national legislatures to approve it; as we have seen in the past a treaty may be signed by EU leaders but then one or more countries may decline to approve it, usually after a referendum.

          However although it would not be made legally binding by signature we would at least know exactly what was in it and that it had been formally signed, rather than having to accept a vague promise of what would be in it if it actually happened at some indeterminate point in the future.

    • turbo terrier
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Vanessa

      This PM is one of the most corrupt and dishonest Heads of State Britain has ever had the misfortune of putting into office. I hope his head will roll.

      So do a lot of us but I think you should have added Blair and Brown.

      They both have the neck today to be quoted by the DM as urging us all to vote to stay in.

      For all those in doubt that is proof enough that voting out is the right thing to do

  35. bigneil
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    With people having the generalised view of MPs as liars – can I say a very big thank you – it’s so nice to have one to believe in. Shame we cannot clone you.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Indeed or clone Norman Tebbit too.

      • Qubus
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        … or Owen Patterson, or David Davies, or Gisela Stuart …. How ironic that she, a naturalised (?) German, should wish to quit.

        I should be very interested to know Frank Field’s view on the referendum, another MP who, in my opinion, has integrity.

  36. Kenneth
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    What is more, MPs that vote to remain are ultimately voting for their own demotion to no more than councillors.

  37. Nick H
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Nobody’s singing Rule Britannia
    Now all of us are slaves;
    Forty years since Referendum,
    From ruling to rules in waves.

  38. Bert Young
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    An honourable thing to do John ; MPs have to respect their electorate otherwise voting for them means nothing . There is no doubt that the grass roots of the Conservative Party feel they have been let down by a Prime Minister who is more inclined about his future (a job within the EU ?) than he is about the sovereignty of this country . I sincerely hope your communication brings about a positive support . Well done !.

  39. Atlas
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Indeed John – a message for Boris !

    • Man of Kent
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      I am most disappointed in Boris now sitting on the fence.

      You may have heard his ‘eurosceptic’ father , Stanley , on Radio 2 last week saying how he used to be a leave man but was now ‘remain’ .
      An awful lot of twaddle about how the EU has no effect on our energy policy and costs.
      It seemed as though he was running a test bed exercise to inform Boris what to say when he [B] eventually reneges.
      Should he go firmly into the ‘leave’ camp then he will enhance his chances of becoming PM when Osborne’s deficit reduction fails and we have to start all over again .

      At least Mrs Johnson ,Marina , has some definite ideas !

      • Qubus
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Who is interested in the opinions of Stanley Johnson, apart from Stanley Johnson. I almost fainted in the local library a couple of days ago: the man has even written his biography! Talk about hubris.

        • Qubus
          Posted February 16, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          That should read “autobiography”!!!

          • Mike Wilson
            Posted February 17, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            Maybe he refers to himself in the third person.

  40. English Pensioner
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I was talking to a senior academic at a well known university and he intends to vote to stay in because they get considerable EU funding which he fears would end on exit. It’s necessary to convince such people that the equivalent of EU funding is likely to continue from the treasury if they didn’t have to pay the money to the EU first to get a mere fraction back.

    • Qubus
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      I am not very clear what the great advantages are to UK universities for us to remain in the EU, that vice-chancellors tend to bang on about.
      In the teaching area, there is a limited exchange of undergraduates under such schemes as ERASMUS and Socrates, but the flow is predominantly of students from the EU to the UK, rather than vice versa. This is of because, regrettably, few UK students are sufficiently proficient in a foreign language, whereas, on the other hand, English is very widely spoken in the EU; although I have to say that I am aware of relatively few EU students coming to the UK, apart from Germany, France and Spain. These aforementioned courses are predominantly for one year, or even for one semester. Don’t tell me, I know, some EU universities now offer undergraduate courses where the lectures are all in English. However, this is a relatively small number. In any case, I get the strong impression that the vast majority of foreign undergraduate students these days are from China.

      There are a few EU postgraduate courses, as opposed to research, on offer to all EU students, including, of course, the UK, but, again to a large extent, the flow is basically in one direction due to the language problem.

      Finally,there are research grants and cooperations that are international at an EU level. Probably the main and best-known of these is the High Energy facility at CERN, but that, of course, is in Switzerland! And of course we now must not forget the collaboration on the detection of gravity waves. However, please note, the main work on that subject was in the USA, and, when I last looked, they weren’t in the EU.

      The amounts of money involved here cannot be so large that it would not be quite feasible for the UK to fund our contributions such that they could continue post Brexit.

      Maybe UK universities get funding that I have not mentioned and am not aware of. Can anyone enlighten me?

      It goes without saying that international research and teaching cooperation is a good thing and to be encouraged, but I fail to see why is should not continue unabated after an exit of the EU.

  41. Douglas Carter
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I for one don’t doubt David Cameron’s sincerity and that his claims that the concessions drawn from the EU will prove completely watertight and – as he claims – comprehensively legally binding.

    In fact, so convinced am I, I would go as far as to request of any MP to invite Mr. Donald Tusk to appear at the Dispatch Box during an extended session of the House of Commons where Mr. Tusk can be given a thorough period of scrutiny, to give complete assurance to all MPs in the House? After all, we’re not an Empire any more, and we’re one big happy family, even more democratic than ever – international borders and identities little more than an arcane detail?

    So, as I say John – it doesn’t hurt to ask, and it doesn’t cost anything. Why not request of Mr. Cameron to invite Mr. Tusk for precisely such a session at the earliest opportunity, in which he can provide rock-solid support for all Mr. Cameron’s claims? I have no doubt whatsoever he’ll be only too happy to oblige? It would be rather fitting that the British taxpayer and Parliamentarians both alike would be receipt of such authoritative and unbreakable promises from such a person?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      But Tusk cannot change the treaties, or even a regulation.

  42. John Bracewell
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    The problem as I see it with Conservative MPs and the EU is that Eurosceptic covers many different levels of Eurosceptism, ranging from the PM and Chancellor who call themselves Eurosceptic (because they believe in minor reform of the EU, perhaps) but are really Remain (ers) right through to your good self and fortunately my MP Jacob Rees-Mogg who are Eurosceptic and Leave(ers). In between are those who say they are Eurosceptic for election purposes but then attempt to, and surprisingly succeed, in thinking that the terms of the renegotiation, as so far outlined in the draft agreement, are sufficient to be able to support the PM (through self preservation mainly) in voting and more worryingly campaigning in their constituencies for a Remain vote. I hope, because the alternative is ghastly and disgraceful, that those who have in the past voiced strong anti-EU sentiments like Mr Gove, Mr B Johnson, Mrs May and other high profile MPs and Cabinet Ministers will put the nation’s interests first and not their own job prospects, although whether the final referendum vote is Remain or Leave, voters will not forget those that voiced Euroscepticism and then campaigned for a Remain vote.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Mrs May is my local MP and she has never voiced strong anti-EU sentiments as far as I’m aware. Saying “The EU is not perfect and there are some things about it that I would like to change, but overall our membership is very beneficial” does not qualify as any kind of anti-EU sentiment, let alone a strong one.

      • A different Simon
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

        Look at what she did with the European arrest warrant .

        The woman is a traitor to Britain . She wouldn’t have got the position of Home Secretary if she believed in an independent Britain .

        It’s depressing enough that the globalists own every horse in the race but it is an insult to electors intelligence that people were promoting her as suitable to head up the leave campaign .

  43. Rods
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Well said and a timely reminder that in a democracy the electorate decides who represents them. Many politicians view betrayal as a ‘tool-of-the-trade’ not realising that many of the electorate, including myself, will never vote for them again.

    It is alarming and dangerous where in many countries the electorates are now turning to more extremist parties where they have had enough of the amoral weather vane leaders of the centre parties, who have betrayed them on many important issues. This betrayal has hit many of them where it hurts with their quality of life and standard of living.

  44. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Agree with everything you’ve said but really the views of the Conservative MPs are fairly irrelevant, they just get one vote each the same as us and their ability to change the views of their grassroots members on this issue is minimal. Of more significance (though not much) is the view of Labour MPs – as I have noted before the referendum will be won or lost depending on how Labour voters split. At every possible opportunity you should be asking Mr Corbyn how he personally will be voting, he has a long track-record of anti-EU rhetoric and as a man of principle one would expect him to follow through on that.

  45. A.Sedgwick
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    You have recently written many excellently argued pieces on the EU and the Referendum, but today’s is the most politically, morally, socially and honest. I take no satisfaction in being right in not being a supporter of David Cameron, being in favour of David Davies in 2005. Mr.Cameron has lived up to my worst fears on numerous issues through his ten years as leader of the Conservative Party and I have not voted for him. This contrasts with my previous 100% Party support and I have even been a Party member. He allegedly described himself as the heir to Blair and it is probable his leader election owes a lot to the perceived Blair success. Blair has been a disaster for this country and has changed it for the worse, Cameron is in the process of continuing and finalising that process.

    This intelligence insulting renegotiation should end any support for him as leader by Eurosceptics. Those, who are persuaded he has done enough to complete a deal, particulalry Cabinet Ministers, are very short sighted, have no respect of our history and no insight to the damage they will inflict on the Country’s future.

    As to Cameron he is beyond the pale.

  46. Dennis
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Off topic:

    Good news for North Korea from the US defense secretary:

    “Britain must keep its Trident nuclear weapons system if it wants to play a significant role in the world, the US defence secretary has said.
    Ash Carter told the BBC it was an “important part of the deterrent structure of Nato” and allowed the UK to punch above its weight.”

    Significant role in the world and punching above one’s weight gives encouraging impetus to N. Korea’s nuclear development and to every other country in the world.

    • walterb
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Talking about Trident and its nuclear weapons.
      If we stay in the EU and they form an EU army what will
      happen to our nuclear weapons and Trident.
      who will pay for them?
      Who will be in charge?
      Who will press the red button?

  47. ChrisS
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    If you take seriously what the BBC is reporting today and what the French and Eastern European leaders are saying, it looks like there could be no deal at all at the summit.

    At the very least both the benefit restrictions and protection for non-Eurozone members are likely to be watered down even further, if that is possible.

    The renegotiation is truly a dead Parrot. Cameron must be pining for the fjords.

  48. Richard1
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Well I have a bit more sympathy for wavering Conservative MPs than many who have posted above who think them fools/hypocrites/socialists/EU fanatics etc. Like most People on the centre right and Conservative MPs (inc JR?), I supported EC / EEC memembership in the 80s and 90s as being on balance a good thing as it opened up trade and provided automatic protection against some of the more socialistic policies then threatened in the UK.

    Now I think like this and perhaps many MPs face the same dilemma: 1) Mr Cameron’s renegotiation doesn’t amount to a hill of beans 2) The EU has gone dramatically in the wrong direction over the last 2 decades, in some policy areas disasterously so & 3) if we were not now in the EU I wouldn’t vote to join. BUT for whatever reasons there are strongly held and widespread views amongst eg major investors and companies that Brexit makes the UK a less attractive place for investment, meaning at the least a rocky road and maybe a threat to jobs and prosperity. Also Many of our friends and allies around the world urge us to stay in.

    So it’s not all that obvious and easy – you can be a eurosceptic, critical of almost everything the EU does, and yet not be a Leaver.

    I think what might swing it is the concept of voting no in the first referendum as there is highly likely to be a second!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      You’ve forgotten about 4) The EU is not destined to stand still; just as it has changed over the four decades since you voted to stay in it will continue to change, and not in ways which we would want.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Richard 1 – No-one is saying it will be easy.

      Along with “the Eurosceptic lobby must be united” the “You think leaving will be without cost” assumption is false too.

      None of us think it will be easy.

      But if the cost of keeping 3 million jobs (and I doubt that is true either) is that we must take 4 million EU citizens then even those jobs are a disbenefit.

      The EU is corrupt. That’s why I want to leave it.

  49. lojolondon
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Good article, John, but it is up to us too – we should all write to our local MP, tell them we voted for them because of their promises and demand they keep the faith and maintain their principles. Problem is that the EU is seen as a great retirement for people who lose their seat, so they are very tempted to vote in in order to keep their future revenues up – not acceptable!

  50. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Surely if the UK is outvoted by other countries that is democratic.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Not so–the “demo” in democratic means the people (having the power). If you want the countries to have the power that would presumably be patriocratic or somesuch though never heard such a word or even concept outside the wretched EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Transnational “democracy”, lacking a unified “demos”, is no democracy at all.

    • ChrisS
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      That kind of “democracy” is what kept Seb Blatter in post at FIFA.

      OK, there is QMV in the EU but we are grossy under represented compared with much smaller countries, almost all of which are net recipients of EU budget subsidies to which we contribute £10bn pa.

      I’ve always thought that any system needs an element of He Who Pays The Piper in order to keep the wealth creators on board.

  51. Anonymous
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    The Conservative party won its unexpected parliamentary majority by stating this in the run up to the last general election:

    “Ignore your desire to vote UKIP. We are the only party that can deliver an EU referendum and give you your best chance of getting out.”

    Those wanting an EU referendum are, axiomatically, not those wanting to remain.

    Reply Which referendum and opportunity I am pleased to say we have delivered.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Dear John–I recommend in these days of trying to pull together that you jettison this particular line for sometimes it seems that everybody but you acknowledges that UKIP provided the initiating impetus for where we are–with absolute certainty it had nothing to do with Cameron who even now if he could think of a way would ditch the referendum like a shot.

      Reply I battled for the referendum from within with 80 other Conservative MPs, and helped the PM write his Bloomberg speech. I do not recall UKIP at the meetings.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Were you at the UKIP meetings? And why you are reminding us of Cameron’s Bloomberg speech is utterly beyond me, so little of it has he achieved.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Your colleagues must be reminded of why they must make a real effort to win this referendum and ‘not be Eurosceptics only at elections’ as you say.

  52. Know-Dice
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Yee Haa…

    This afternoon Number 10 has bowed to the inevitable, and conceded that if (and it is still an if) the deal is done at the EU summit in Brussels this week David Cameron will hold a cabinet meeting as soon as he returns to London early on Friday evening.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35581401

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      There’s 4 days till Friday.

  53. miami.mode
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    ….We cannot just be Eurosceptic for the election….

    I always thought that this was more of a Left Wing ploy as with New Labour – promise anything, get elected, and then do what you really want to do.

    Have just heard on television that HSBC may have to move a lot of their bankers to Paris if we take the sensible option of leaving – doubtless they will love the top income tax rate of 75% and strict rules on bonuses.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      The people of London may not be richer in cash but they will feel richer in terms of sq feet/£ if the steam was taken out of the City.

      ‘Success’ has brought with it its own disadvantages. Especially if the countries of the EU demand that we must share the fruits of our austerity and hard work with their kids.

      “3 million jobs lost !”

      Vs

      “5 billion potential migrants”

      The maths are actually heavily in favour of Out.

  54. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I see your colleague Nicholas Soames MP has tweeted: ” must say to be told how to vote in Referendum by J Redwood in an email to colleagues marks a new low in my life in the House #buggeroff”. Tells us all we need to know about him if he thinks being asked to stick to his manifesto pledges marks “a new low” in his parliamentary life.

    Reply I put in my letter that any MP who had expressed views in favour of the current treaties and EU integration should of course vote to stay in!

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      I know you did but Soames obviously couldn’t be bothered to read properly.

  55. adam
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Why would there necessarily be any future parliaments? If we vote in favour of the EU project we would no longer need Westminster to make decisions. We don’t know what speed the EU would move with approval. Its been slow so far but you are not guaranteed endless parliaments.

    Voting no will not remove us from the EU project. The referendums have no legal power. They are more like a consultation. The reason to vote no is so they have harder time writing the history books in the future. They can’t say the peoples of Europe willingly flung themselves before the feet of the EU.

    On the topic of mental illness in the news, can someone communicate to decision makers that the reason there is no parity with bodily healthcare is that there is no cure for mental illness. The only one you can recover from is depression and that is usually a personal achievement, not the work of health care professionals. If you want to help the mentally ill please fund neuroscience research.

  56. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    There’s a recent House of Commons Library Research Briefing about statistics on benefits and migrants here:

    http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7445

    “Data on migrants and benefits is incomplete and fragmented, not routinely available from a single source … ”

    However, bearing those uncertainties in mind, the upshot seems to be that there is no clear evidence that Cameron’s EU “deal” on benefits will significantly reduce the flow of EU migrants into the UK.

    So in the likely event that it doesn’t work, will Cameron then go back and insist on some other EU “reforms” which will work? Of course not.

  57. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Well said, JR, and I think MPs should expect that their conduct will be noted.

  58. RB
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Can everyone tweet or email this letter to their MP please.
    Make sure they all read it.

  59. RB
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    This referendum will be a defining moment for MPs. We will be judged for several Parliaments to come by what we do and how we vote.

    >
    Do they want to be forever remembered in history as foolish at best and traitors at worst?

  60. mike fowle
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Dear John, I well remember that you had the courage and integrity to stand against John Major, the man who did so much to destroy the Conservative party. And were rewarded with ridicule. Your letter is a model of restraint and loyalty. I just hope (but doubt) there are some other principled Tory MPs.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted February 16, 2016 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      For his pains, Mr Redwood was told to b***** off by the ooh so Europhile Nicholas Soanes Mp. It seems he is happy to be told what to do by his friends in Brussels but if John Redwoods merely expresses his views it’s somehow beyond the pale.

      What do the people of Surrey see in this jumped up buffoon ?.
      There is nothing he wouldn’t say or do to ingratiate himself with Conservative HQ.

      Sadly the Conservative party is stuffed with career first Europhiles for whom Dr Redwood’s letter will fall on deaf ears.

  61. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Just some of EU and European countries which have in the last 12 months blatantly violated EU law in regard to border controls, asylum seeker international and EU law, welfare benefits paid to asylum seekers, registration of asylum seekers and migrants:-

    Hungary (Long Live prime Minister Viktor Orbán! ), France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Serbia, Italy, Netherlands.

    Not goody two-shoes UK…otherwise known as Dummyland with no-one acting as Prime Minister. No-one at all.

  62. Margaret
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Does the team think that HBSC are using the referendum vote as an excuse as there has been unrest for 9-10 year within the bank?

  63. turbo terrier
    Posted February 15, 2016 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    So some in the EU see the Uk leaving as the beginning of the end for the EU Club.

    Shame.

    Feel that I will have to get a Kleenex out. Not

    If the EU rolls over it will be wonderful. Bring it on

  64. petermartin2001
    Posted February 16, 2016 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    “We Conservative Eurosceptics have rightly highlighted the dangers of having to ask permission to make even modest changes to our spending plans, our taxation and our borders. ”

    @Dr Redwood,

    I think it might be useful if you could give some examples. In what way is our ability to vary the rate of VAT controlled by the EU?

    Reply There are minimum rates. More importantly we cannot take it off a wide range of items.

  65. The Active Citizen
    Posted February 16, 2016 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    You got your point across well to the BBC’s Deputy Political Editor yesterday afternoon, JR. Earlier in the day, you even made it onto Guido Fawkes site with positive reporting. Comments below the piece show that the majority of readers strongly supported your stance.

    The Guido Fawkes piece is available here and it now also contains the video of your interview by Norman Smith.

  66. The Active Citizen
    Posted February 16, 2016 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    As a hobby, I’ve read this diary for some years together with a wide variety of specialist and mainstream media of all shades. In addition I read the source material available on official EU websites and some research articles from thinktanks, as well as UK material such as Hansard. That puts me in a tiny, tiny minority of voters. (It also shows I should get out more.)

    On two separate occasions in the last week the subject of the EU came up for the first time in conversation with friends – and they raised it. One couple are English entrepreneurs with a successful UK manufacturing business. The other couple are Scottish – the husband is a hospital consultant who voted for Independence and his wife is a GP and Unionist.

    All four of these professional and intelligent people openly said that they have no real idea what to think about the EU or the referendum. They’re genuine floating voters and are now interested in the subject in order to make an informed decision.

    We should not underestimate the ignorance of people regarding the EU and how it affects our lives, our democracy, and our country. In the case of my friends, they’re not stupid and have views on many things. They felt that ‘the EU just hasn’t come up much over the years and when it does it seems like a lot of political argument – no real impact on the day-to-day’.

    I sensed there was a feeling that ‘if the EU was doing something terrible we’d have heard about it more’. In other words our political leaders and the mainstream media have succeeded in keeping things under the radar. However I also sensed my friends felt there was now a lot for them to learn which perhaps they hadn’t been told about.

    When I answered a few of their questions in each case, you could see that they’re genuinely open to listening to real information. None of the four have made up their minds. They asked practical questions about jobs, trade, prices, health, immigration, travel. Sovereignty didn’t come up, alas.

    My conclusion from these two random and coincidental conversations?

    1. We’re behind but there’s still everything to play for.
    2. Keep the messages simple on some daily basic facts which people can relate to in their day-to-day lives.
    3. Don’t knock all politicians. We need people like JR and others who have real credibility. People might now be ready to listen.
    4. Put a bomb under the Leave campaigns and make them see we need a highly professional and coordinated approach. The current PR efforts don’t cut the mustard I’m afraid.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted February 16, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I think the OUT campaign are missing a trick – they need to get out SIMPLE and CLEAR messages. As they say a picture paints a thousand words.

      We live in an era of short attention spans and the campaign needs to reflect this.

      We need more messages like this. Why don’t the donors behind the OUT campaign employ some kind of ad agency that knows how to get messages across in an engaging and simple way ?

  67. ChrisS
    Posted February 16, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    In an earlier reply, you mentioned that you helped David Cameron to write his Bloomberg speech. You must be especially disappointed to see that almost nothing from it was even asked for, let alone delivered.

    I am sure that almost everyone posting here would like you to tell us :

    Did David Cameron start out genuinely thinking he could achieve the changes he set out in the Bloomberg speech ?

    Does he really think he has achieved anything worthwhile from his renegotiations ?

    As he is clearly an intelligent man, I suspect that the answers are yes to the first and and no to the second question.

    With Bloomberg, he backed himself into a corner and I believe that as soon as he realised that Brussels and the other 27 were not going to budge, he was left with no choice other than to use his PR skills to try and sell us this pup. If it were not for all the recent scheming, lies and spin, I could almost feel sorry for him.

  68. ian
    Posted February 16, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I do not see you on facebook, utube, what apps, and others sites, people under the age of 40 do not watch news on tv or read newspapers, what can you do about that.

  69. Original Richard
    Posted February 16, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    The EU is unstable.

    The single currency has, as predicted, led to one or two countries doing very well with permanently positive trade flows whilst many others countries are suffering permanent austerity and high levels of unemployment.

    The freedom of movement of capital is in one direction as money flows out of the poorer countries into the richer countries making the economic situation in the poorer countries even worse.

    The freedom of movement of people has led to the movement of people in one direction only, from poorer to richer countries. This depresses the wages in the richer countries and overloads their countries and services.

    Neither does this movement of people help the poorer nations as they lose the workers and talent needed to develop their economies.

    Furthermore, the richer nations begin to reduce the training of their young people in the expectation that they can continually import trained people from the poorer countries and the poorer countries will give up training their people since they only lose them to the richer countries.

    All these are the existing problems before the EU further expands to include even more poorer countries and we experience the problems caused by one single person inviting into the EU millions of young men with a totally different culture.

    Under these circumstances it is clear that the UK will be leaving the EU to regain its freedom. It is not a question of “if” but “when”.

    If we can start the process after this forthcoming referendum then we have a better chance to exit smoothly. If we leave it until later then it will be far more costly, acrimonious and messy.

    If the leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties just manage to scrape a win in the referendum to remain in the EU, perhaps with another last minute bribe which is never implemented by the EU, then these parties will be decimated in future GE’s just as Labour has suffered in Scotland after its referendum and for exactly the same reasons.

  70. Ian B
    Posted February 16, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Bravo! The Cameron “negotiation” indeed only proved why we must leave, if we must request permission for simple matters of administration.

    Also, and off topic I admit, but I find it ironic that one of the few things on which the government is still apparently free to legislate- internet censorship- has led to Mr Cameron’s absurd announcement of ludicrous controls which diminish us as a “free country” in the eyes of the world and make us look ridiculous. And in so doing hands yet another aspect of our lives to yet more unelected bureaucrats who will decide which of the millions of adult video clips on the internet we are allowed to see. Has the EU taken away so much government business that it is just left with pandering to moral hysteria promulgated by pressure groups consisting of, yes, yet more unelected bureaucrats?

  71. Mike Wilson
    Posted February 16, 2016 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if you could explain TTIP in a future blog? One hears a lot of rumours that are very worrying.

  72. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 17, 2016 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    I see that you got a hostile reception from Nicholas Soames and some other Conservative MPs. Let me put it this way: if we vote to leave David Cameron’s career will soon end.

    If we vote to remain by a narrow margin, after a prolonged pro-EU campaign of lies and FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) backed by the majority of Conservative MPs, then I and others like me will see to it that the Conservative Party is totally destroyed.

    Reply Just from Mr Soames. Very good response from lots of others.

  73. Denis Loretto
    Posted February 17, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Looking through the many posts on this thread my impression is that the vast majority of those rushing to support JR’s comments are much more likely to be UKIP members than Tories. One cannot help recalling Dora Gaitskell’s famous barb in 1962 when her husband was Labour Party leader and declared at the party conference that the prospects for a united Europe amounted to: “The end of Britain as an independent European state. I make no apology for repeating it. It means the end of a thousand years of history”. Dora Gaitskell commented: “All the wrong people are cheering”.

    Of course nothing resembling a united European state has transpired and in the current Cameron renegotiation it is being clearly spelled out that not only need the UK not be forced to enter the eurozone nor included in any further moves towards closer union but also nothing must be done to damage the interests of the UK as a result of the decision against ever closer union. That alone secures the City of London as the European financial hub and gives us a remarkably beneficial position from which to continue the economic recovery and the consistent improvement in employment levels we are already experiencing within the EU. Throw all that away at our peril, say I.

    Reply The text does not secure the objectives you claim.

  • 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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