The EU Bill

             This week’s politics have been dominated by the economy. The GDP figures will lead to further measures to promote growth, and to much more debate about where we are heading. Meanwhile, business on the floor of the Commons has been dominated by the government’s EU Bill.

              The Bill was meant as reassurance to Eurosceptics. It aims to reassert UK Parliamentary sovereignty. It does so by pointing out in law that the EU only has powers in the UK thanks to Acts of Parliament. It offers a “referendum lock”, binding this and future governments to hold a referendum if certain future transfers of power are desired  by the UK government and the EU.

                The debates have been remarkable for the absence of any Liberal Democrat or front bench Labour federalist making a case for more EU power, or even justifying convincingly the amount of EU power there already is. Eurosceptics have made all the running, tabling all the amendments, making all the suggestions for improvement and strengthening the law, and winning all the arguments. Sometimes it is the Minister who makes the Eurosceptic case. Often it is an active Conservative backbencher who does so, urging Ministers to go further. In one important case over a possible future transfer of criminal justice powers, Ministers have agreed to improve the Bill following such backbench pressure.

                  However, the cruel logic of the arithmetic reminds us daily that the British people elected a pro EU Parliament. Whenever Eurosceptic Conservatives push their proposals to a vote to increase Parliament’s grip over the EU or to widen the number of issues which would require a referendum, they are heavily defeated as Labour and Liberal Democrats have no wish to make any such changes to the Bill. UKIP, of course, makes no contribution whatsoever to these important matters, as there is no single UKIP member elected to do so. UKIP will just criticise from outside that none of this is sufficient. What we need is votes inside, and only Conservatives can supply those.


  1. Iain Gill
    January 27, 2011

    yes if we improved candidate selection in the conservative party and had a better balance of candidates who represented a cross section of society better we may get better results

    as it is its just posh ethnic minorities and posh females and that is “supposed” to be camerons version of equality, the screaming lack of regional and working class accents and folk who escaped a humble background on the conservative benches will lead to a narrow set of voting patterns to reflect their narrow backgrounds

    1. Robert Taggart
      January 27, 2011

      As a right-leaning, basically educated, scrounger one wishes there was a chance for the likes of moi ! Any offers ? !

  2. Sue
    January 27, 2011

    “However, the cruel logic of the arithmetic reminds us daily that the British people elected a pro EU Parliament”. I was under the impression that each parties manifesto has always promised a referendum on the EU.

    The Conservative conned their way into power and the reason we have a coalition is because they didn’t convince enough people with their lies.

    Reply: The Conservative manifesto did not include a referendum. Try reading it.

    1. Sue
      January 27, 2011

      Regardless, the whole thing was a con. You know it and I know it. Since when have manifesto’s ever been binding? The Conservative Manifesto isn’t worth the paper is was written on.

      The truth would make a nice change though. Not talking about the EU to the public is keeping them in the dark, but then. that’s what the Tories want isn’t it?

    2. A.Sedgwick
      January 27, 2011

      Cast iron guarantee?

    3. Iain
      January 27, 2011

      Not this time, but they did say ..’We will ensure that there is no further transfer of sovereignty or powers over the course of the next Parliament. ‘ but that didn’t stop them signing up for the EU Foreign Office or extension of EU powers elsewhere.

      Who ever we vote for in the LibLabCon party the result is the same, they always rat on any undertaking they have given to the electoraste over the EU
      . Now why is that?

      1. APL
        January 28, 2011

        JR: “’We will ensure that there is no further transfer of sovereignty or powers over the course of the next Parliament. ‘”

        Yep, Cameron is a liar, Redwood refuses to condemn him for it.

        Draw your own conclusions!

  3. lifelogic
    January 27, 2011

    You say “The British people elected a pro EU Parliament” but they elected three main parties each of whom promised an EU referendum and have colluded to defraud the electorate. With the voting system (and the party structures as they are) the British people cannot really do anything but elect a pro EU Parliament.

    Even if they did elect one what chance is there that the elected would actually act as they had promised pre-election – none.

    Perhaps in the age of the internet the UK could give actual democracy a try?

    Having just one vote, every five years, for candidates (who have mainly to be loyal to one of three main parties) and where all the countless diverse issues are combined in to just this one vote (and that for someone who will probably not do as they have promised anyway and it seems can often be bought cheaply for a few tax free “expenses” and a good pension) does not look much like a democracy to me.

    Reply: The Conservatives did n ot promise a referendum. They promised a referendum if Lisbon had not been ratified – by the time of the election and the Manifesto Lisbon had been ratified, so there was no promise of a referendum in the Manifesto or the election campaign.

    1. lifelogic
      January 27, 2011

      And the BBC would, probably, still be using voters money to indoctrinate voters with their big tax, big state, pro EU, the great warming scare, Guardian type, pro “equality of outcome” (for all save the state sector and BBC big wigs of course) agenda.

    2. lifelogic
      January 27, 2011

      Since it was always likely that Lisbon would be ratified before the election the whole cast iron guarantee was entirely designed and worded to mislead the voters. The manifesto was similarly worded to give suitable escapes knowing that few would read it and just “Cast Iron” would be remembered. When did he actually say “I give you a cast iron guarantee, but only if not yet ratified otherwise it will be worthless and made of plasticine”?

      Rather like a company advertising an interest free loan but hiding deep in the small print a condition that it only applies if you pay a large redemption “fee”.

      Duplicitous and bordering on fraud never the less.

      Reply Some of us, including the Leader of the Conservatives, worked hard to try and ensure one or more countries stayed out of ratifying Lisbon for long enough so we could hold a Lisbon referendum on winning an election here.

      1. lifelogic
        January 27, 2011

        And what real reason is there, if Cameron genuinely wanted a referendum before ratification, why does he not want one now? Surely the actions show clearly that the Tories never really wanted a referendum but felt there was an electoral gain by pretending to want one.

        If the AV systems does go through (however unlikely) it will be interesting to see how many vote UKIP fist and Tory second. I thing it will be rather a lot probably putting the liberals in third place as in the European elections.
        Do the liberal really want this system?

      2. lifelogic
        January 27, 2011

        I know you and a few others worked hard at trying to delay the Lisbon Treaty and we are very grateful for all your efforts. But you Bill Cash and a few others is simply not enough. Even now when everything the EU has touched from fishing, CAP, ERM, Defence, the EURO, carbon credits, the green and equality agenda and the PIGS have all been a proven disaster most MP’s still seem determined just like John Major to continue heading for the non democratic big government socialist EU alas.

      3. Brian
        January 27, 2011

        Cameron’s words to The Sun were admittedly inadequate, but to check the actual policy see Hague’s speech to Conference in 2007 – “if elected this autumn”. This was just prior to Brown cancelling his election plans.
        I suggest you check facts before posting.

        Reply: I did. This speech makes clear an incoming Conservative government would have held a referendum on proposals coming out of Lisbon if elected in the autumn of 2007. Mr Hague also gave a non time limited pledge to implement a referendum lock for any new proposals, as he is doing in the current Bill before the House. I understand you do not like the absence of a referendum on Lisbon, Nor do I. I and my colleagues did however keep our manifesto promise to vote for one in the last Parliament when we could have held one before ratification. Mr Hague made clear prior to the 2010 election he did n ot think there could be a referendum after ratification.

        1. Morningstar
          February 3, 2011

          If Parliament is sovereign – then it can have a referendum ! If it is not then there is no choice !

          So – the question is obvious – IS PARLIAMENT SOVEREIGN IN THIS COUNTRY ? Or do we have a rubber stamp ?

          I personally like your views Mr Redwood – but the Conservative Party is not what it should be – nor can it be trusted on the EU (It has already signed up for some of the most nausiatingly anti British Legislation in obtaining offce) – and honourable MPs should be shouting it from the treetops (whether Public or Privately owned !)

    3. backofanenvelope
      January 27, 2011

      This is sophistry. You promised a referendum on the EU constitutional treaty. This morphed into a referendum on the Lisbon treaty and in turn, this changed into a referendum on a non-ratified Lisbon treaty. And I wish you would stop blaming us for electing a pro-EU parliament. In this constituency you have a choice of Tory (pro-EU) or LibDem (pro-EU).

      Reply: I and my colleagues voted for a referendum on Lisbon in the last Parliament as we promised. Labour and Lib Dem refused to back us.
      I would happily vote for a referendum on some other EU question, but as you have seen this week that it is not the general view of this Parliament.

      1. Morningstar
        February 3, 2011

        – Who do not represent the people of this nation ! Whether voted for or not !
        when the choice is between tea with milk and sugar or tea with sugar and milk – there is NO choice.

        The vote you keep mentioning was to the public a total stitch up – the PRO EU Libs sticking out for an In/Out referendum and abstaining (when they would to a man have voted against ! The Opposition Tories pretending to be anti Lisbon – and the Majority Labour voting it through ! It was a disgrace ! And a man of your calibre defending it makes me weep for what MY parliament has become !

        Reply: I am not defending it. I have explained endlessly to all who would listen that the UK elected a pro EU Parliament, so it was never going to vote for an In Out referendum. There wasn’t even a proposal for an immediate andn unqualified referendum on the Order paper, because we knew there were so few votes for one.

    4. Tom
      January 27, 2011

      But they had calculated that the election would happen after ratification. There was no constitutional reason why they could not have had a post ratification referendum. It would have won them the election but… well, we can all suggest reasons why they didn’t.

    5. BobE
      January 27, 2011

      “Reply: The Conservatives did n ot promise a referendum. They promised a referendum if Lisbon had not been ratified – by the time of the election and the Manifesto Lisbon had been ratified, so there was no promise of a referendum in the Manifesto or the election campaign.”

      They already knew the treaty would be ratified. Please don’t spin that pretend promise, its been seen through. Cameron and co are builderburgers commited to the European superstate. Cameron, like Blair is hoping for a shot at EU President. Nothing else matters.

  4. Jose
    January 27, 2011

    I don´t agree that ´the British people elected a pro EU Parliament´, they voted for their MPs on a more basic level as the EU wasn´t a consideration following the financial disaster of Labour.
    The reality is that you and a few other MPs represent the majority of citizens in believing that the EU already has far too much power. The government is either scared or completely indifferent to the wishes of the people when it comes to the EU. I think I would go along with the ´indifferent´position or one as dictated by the LibDems and happily accommodated by Cameron.
    The Tories would do themselves no end of favour if they simply announced a referendum on the EU. They should then spell out the true costs/benefits of membership. It would be interesting to see the response of our oh so accommodating European neighbours!
    In the mean time, you and Carswell and your colleagues must keep banging on about it.

  5. lojolondon
    January 27, 2011

    John, I appreciate your position on this matter, it is the single most important issue before parliament, probably as important as the decisions of 1939 IMHO.
    Two things stand out – firstly, there has not been a word on this most important debate in the news, there is a virtual blackout from every quarter. This is crucial, and the pro-EU stance of the majority of media especially the BBC is really telling here.
    Secondly, you know that all UKIP members are all Conservatives, frustrated by the refusal of the Tories to protect Britian from the EU. UKIP members come almost exclusively from the right wing of the Conservative party, and David Cameron’s pro-EU feelings and refusal to work with UKIP cost the Conservatives around 20 seats, ie. the election.

    1. Simon
      January 27, 2011

      Not all Euroskeptics are right wing .

      Tony Benn and Peter Shore told the electorate at the time of the referendum exactly the way the EU would go in no uncertain terms and their professy has been fulfilled .

      Lojolondon , does it matter that UKIP cost 20 votes ? Would it have made any difference to anything of real importance ?

      1. lojolondon
        January 28, 2011

        Yes, a VITAL difference.
        Calculations are that UKIP cost the conservatives 20 seats, but cost Labour zero seats. So add 20 seats to the Tory total and they have control of parliament and no need for a coalition, so no excuse to break all their promises. I still agree with BobE that Cameron thinks he may be President of Europe so we may still not have got a referendum.

        1. Simon
          January 31, 2011

          Take the “may” out of the last sentence and I would be in complete agreement with you .

          I don’t know about the constitution of the Conservative party but the members need to dump Cameron , Hague , Osborne , Clarke and all the other pro-EU turncoats , the first two masquerading as Euroskeptics .

  6. Alte Fritz
    January 27, 2011

    You have pointed to something which struck me as I watched part of the debate on the sovereignty clause the other week. The absence of anyone making out the EU case was striking and just led to the conclusion that the government was just humouring those funny old sceptics.

    There is something wrong with politics when really big questions such as sovereignty or the very structure of our banking system are pushed out of serious consideration whilst, say, the sale of woodlands or bankers’ bonuses become the news. These are important but they are not the main story.

  7. alan jutson
    January 27, 2011

    John your post sums up exactly the point I have made a number of times before.

    MP’s do not turn up to listen to the argument, because they will vote the way they are told to, and as you correctly state, will win the case no matter how strong the debate.

    The solution, at least to make them hear the arguments, is not to allow anyone to vote who has not been present for the whole debate. in other words if you cannot be bothered to at least listen to a debate, then you do not get to vote.

    Time strangle the power of the whips.

    Party politics and lobby fodder politicians do not serve our so called democracy at all.

    1. BobE
      January 27, 2011

      All votes should be free votes. The whip system is non democratic. If 650 mps voted with their own belifes then we might have a democracy. At the moment we have a dictatoship, run by a few at the top of whichever party slips in.
      I suspect that the finacial situation is so bad that in the end it will be dumped into the EU along with all of us.
      My one hope is that the total incompetance will cause the Euro to fail. If that doesn’t cause a war then its possible each country will recover from this insane process.
      Yours Sincerely
      Bob, Region 6, EUSSR.

    2. Not a European
      January 27, 2011

      I agree with Alan Jutson and have always felt that party politics have been the downfall of our democracy. There is certainly no place for Councillors slanging each other across a board table when they are supposed to be debating local issues! If we have to have party dominance, at least get rid of the Whip – MPs should be able to vote according to the desires of their constituents, not their party!

    3. Ken
      January 27, 2011

      It is no accident that John Redwood, Bill Cash, Nigel Farage and Daniel Hannan are good speakers. They have learnt their craft from winning a simple argument. Even the best speaker would sound weak if the argument is not sound.

      However I agree that it is sad that winning the argument is not enough.

      It seems that the propaganda war needs to be won as well. Trouble is, the BBC is sulking and not taking part.

      This is like a horror story: it seems we are screaming but no sound is coming out.

    4. fairweather
      January 27, 2011

      Babs t Bicester

      I quite agree. I watched the parliament channel last night debating the amendments to the EU bill. Only a handful of MPs were in the chamber. At the division,suddenly the house was full. Where had they all come from? The bar???
      I think they have no right to vote if they haven’t listened to the debates[”
      I never thought of thinking for myself at all”
      The same thing happened during the Lisbon treaty debates, the whole thing is a farce. The worrying thing is no-one seems to care. What is going on?

      I notice the debates on this bill is not even mentioned on the news or newspapers.

      I did my bit and voted UKIP

      I am going to write to my MP to ask him why I didn’t see him in the house last night?

  8. HK
    January 27, 2011

    Of course you (JR) are not to blame for this, so you have my sympathy for any criticism you take here on behalf of the Conservative party. If the leadership of the Conservatives shared your views on the EU, UKIP would probably not need to exist.

    However on UKIP: they already have the moral authority to criticise on the EU, because they came second in the 2010 EU Parliament elections.

    If (when?) UKIP get the most UK votes in the EU Parliament elections in 2014, they would then be justified in claiming to speak not just for their voters but for the (Eurosceptic) vast majority of the UK population.

    With the way the Conservatives are handling the EU at the moment, that seems to be an entirely likely outcome.

    1. BobE
      January 27, 2011

      I have switched from Cons to UKIP. For three years now. Its not the best, its the only hope to stop the madness.
      Bob, Region 6, EUSSR

  9. norman
    January 27, 2011

    Funny that only 35 or so Conservative MP’s voted for Bill Cash’s amendment, a vote that Labour abstained on. Maybe Bill Cash wasn’t Eurosceptic enough in his amendment?

    The idea that the Conservative Party is a hotbed of Eurosceptic MP’s straining at the leash to start taking powers back from the EU has been exposed as a lie, it is beneath you to keep promoting it.

    I wonder if Carswell and Hannan do abolish the Better Off Out campaign and start a cross party Referendum Movement how many Tory MP’s will sign up? One imagines virtually all of them from the basis of this post. That being the case, how can it be kept out of the manifesto for the next election?

    But it will be, of course, we all know that.

  10. Geoff not Hoon
    January 27, 2011

    Mr. Redwood, Interesting article by Jeff Randall in today’s Telegraph on line on the German desire not to commit further funds to large EU bail out’s. If I read it correctly Randall is suggesting that some or all of the PIIGS may have to leave the Euro which means the currency will then be stronger. The statistics on Spain in the article such as empty homes, unemployment, decline in its competitiveness versus Germany are incredible and suggest bail out’s are not the answer and withdrawel has to be the only route to get things moving forward. As Randall says it isnt only Spain that may be forced to go down that route.

  11. Richard
    January 27, 2011

    At the risk of upsetting contributors to this site, I believe a large number of people still want to remain in the EU even if they do not like the way the EU is developing.
    It is an illogical and idealised position to take but it still seems to be their position.
    UKIPP’s failure to gain even one seat is an example of voter indiference on this issue, as is the make up of our current Parliament.
    There are many complaints and grumbles being heard, but where is the outright hostility in the general public for an immediate withdrawal.
    I havn’t seen millions marching or riots on the streets calling for an end to the EU.
    Perhaps with standards of living falling voters may eventually focus their anger on the EU but somehow I think they will take it out on the party in power at the next election, as they always do.

    1. grahams
      January 28, 2011

      You are quite right. I held the “sensible” view for many years until I finally realised it was untenable. The EU does not resonate fully as a voter issue because it appears to be about foreign policy. It is really about having to do damaging things for our economy and society and not being able to do beneficial things ( and I do not mean tariff protection) because of EU rules and directives or decisions of various courts. Scotland’s Alex Salmond is brilliant at making such arguments vis a vis the UK but Westminster governments mostly still like to pretend they are doing what they want.

      Reply: One of the problems is successive governments have legislated to do the EU’s bidding without the media or Ministers explaining clearly enough that it is mainly the EU’s bidding in many cases.

      1. Kenneth
        January 28, 2011

        Eu-sceptics also make sound and persuasive argument. The difference is that Alex Salmond gets airtime.

        The sceptics are largely restricted to YouTube

      2. Mr Ecks
        February 2, 2011

        If they explained that they are carrying out the orders of the EU, more people would realise what (how unpleasant-ed) the EU (is). That is why Cammy and his crew(and the rest of the lib-lab-con party) keep it quiet and the EU is the elephant in the room that is never spoken of. That goes double for the state’s tame media also.

  12. Scottspeig
    January 27, 2011


    Your logic is slightly flawed.

    Most people tend to vote for one of the main 3 parties. This is one of the concerns I have with party politics. The fact that your party is the most Eurosceptic yet still will not offer a referendum or for the ministers to even have to be made to bring these issues up and amendments added (if we actually had a Eurosceptic party, then these amendments would already be in!)!

    What else is there to do? The Tories make the right noises but continue to flounder in their actions. The worst part is that while there are great MPs on the floor, there are not many, even in the Conservative party. So much so that I have moved to UKIP for while there is no minister, it makes no difference since the Conservative MP may make the right noise, but is then whipped and refuses to walk the walk.

    At what stage do you say enough is enough? I’ve gone passed it. Maybe if Cash or yourself, or Carswell or Hannan were the leader of the party I would trust it to be anti-EU, but I don’t trust your current one, and there lies the problem.

  13. Paul Perrin
    January 27, 2011

    If Conservative MPs were EU sceptic they could seriously influence things, but so could Labour MPs if they were EU sceptic, but so could LibDem MPs if they were EU sceptic.

    But all of these parties are fundamentally pro-EU, which can be seen from the fact that the majority of all of their MPs are pro-EU.

    I got involved in the last election (UKIP candidate for Hove) because I thought it may be the last chance to save the UK. I still think it might have been the last chance – if so it was a chance that was lost.

    EU-Sceptic conservatives are siren voices (whether they realise it or not) calling overly trusting EU-Sceptic voters to their doom.

    No further treaties are needed to merge UK into the EU – everything is in place, it is just a matter of the wheels turning till the job is done.

    >> Defence cuts are a massive transfer of sovereignty to the EU

    1. Martyn
      January 27, 2011

      >> Defence cuts are a massive transfer of sovereignty to the EU.. Maybe so, but what shocked me today was to see in pictures what appeared to be a Nimrod being cut to pieces and hearing the news that ‘someon’ had ordered the destruction of all tools and jigs needed to continue the Nimrod programme.
      That last time that happened was under Harold Wilson’s Labour government who did exactly the same with the TSR2 which, at the time, despite cost over-runs was a potential world-beater aircraft of the future.
      So it seems as though the coalition lead by DC is as capable as a Labour government in carrying out this type of mean and nasty action – “I’m going to do it and make darned sure no one else will ever be able to resurrect the programme”….

  14. Colin D.
    January 27, 2011

    Why keep getting at UKIP?
    Had the Conservatives not broken their ‘cast iron promises’ then more UKIP votes would have gone to Conservatives. And if some of us were not sure then if UKIP was the right thing to do, the way Hague and others have failed to stand up to the EU since the election has fully convinced us that UKIP was an honourable way to vote.
    Who gave in to higher EU contributions? Who has sold the City’s interests to the EU? Who has helped sell Ireland down the river even though we are not in the EMU. Who is watching Baron Ashworth spend as if there were no tomorrow? It goes on and on and on and it’s all happened since the election.
    What your party is doing is shameful, degrading and humiliating.

  15. Confused
    January 27, 2011

    You’re telling us we need to vote Conservative because UKIP can’t get any MPs and only Tories can get eurosceptic measures passed in the Commons. But in fact we DID overhwelmingly vote Conservative and it seems as though only a tiny fraction of that party’s MPs – selected, as they are, by a Europhile party apparatus – are providing us with those self-same eurosceptic votes.

    No dice, Mr Redwood.

    1. APL
      January 28, 2011

      Confused: [Tory]”MPs – selected, as they are, by a Europhile party apparatus ..”


      Confused? You clearly are not!

  16. waramess
    January 27, 2011

    Before Osborne even begins to think about stimulating the economy will you direct him to the article by Toby Baxendale on the Cobden Centre blog and if he can spare the time to the paper by Mark Skousen.

    It may change his direction quite radically.

    As far as the EU is concerned, like many others I have long since given up caring. We have been so badly governed by Westminster over the last 50 or so years, I suspect that even those who might wish to destroy us could do no worse

  17. Jer
    January 27, 2011

    Drat, lojolondon has said it all for me already.

  18. lifelogic
    January 27, 2011

    Listening to Lynne Fetherstone and Theresa May in the Women and Equalities Debate is enough to depress anyone about any potential recovery. Still vast areas of pointless and destructive government activity. Clearly still no shortage of money to be wasted by them on this nonsense.

    Surely we must need a minister and department to ensure that the tide goes in and out every day and the sun rises too (or does that come under a climate change department?)

    1. lifelogic
      January 27, 2011

      And know we have:

      Public sector bodies will have to spend £30million a year on new equality audits that include asking staff sensitive questions about their religion and sexuality.

      £30 million down the drain and the clear impression given to all the state sector staff that they have money to burn on asking impertinent & pointless questions.

      Best to leave now before Labour get back in shortly.

  19. Acorn
    January 27, 2011

    Someone should give Bill Cash MP a very large medal. He must read every word of every Bill that slithers into the Commons. The guy just never gives up; he knows he will never win a vote, but he keeps trying. In fact, he may be one of the few MPs, that knows the difference between Common Law and Statute Law and that the former is superior to the latter via decisions of a Jury. No Jury; no Common Law; no striking down of Statute legislation; which only ever gives privileges to a select few.

    Could someone tell me, what the hell the European Union Bill is supposed to do; if anything? For a debating club that costs a quarter of a million pounds an hour to run; this week has got to have been a complete waste of taxpayers money. The government front bench will take no notice of anything a backbencher says, if the Whips say it does not have to.

    This week has convinced me that I want out of this EU thing. And; I want the “executive” out of the “legislature”. That just might be a small start to getting a set of MPs with the required testicular fortitude, to vote their conscience.

  20. AndyC71
    January 27, 2011

    Labour and Lib Dem MPs don’t have to make a positive case; they support the status quo, which is naturally maintained in the absence of serious pressure for change. On the available evidence, heavy defeats are incurred because most Conservative MPs simply aren’t interested. That’s the fatal flaw in an otherwise fine article. My own MP has shown no interest in this issue, although he did manage to vote for a higher EU budget last year.

    I take the point about the lack of a Conservative referendum pledge in 2010, but Mr Cameron’s approach was far too nuanced. Rightly or wrongly it just looks slippery. I believe he missed a great opportunity to take a principled stand, and the current legislation is an intentional fudge.

  21. Martin
    January 27, 2011

    I find the Eurosceptics a very mixed bunch. They range from those who want the EU reduced to a sort of free trade area to folk who are essentially isolationists and almost want the English Channel mined.

    What is amazing is that the UKIP types take their leads from Newspapers which are often owned by foreigners and pay little or no UK tax. They talk of Sovereignty!

  22. john kelly
    January 27, 2011

    Sir, your response is despicable re the Lisbon non-referendum. It is just a continuation of the “Great Deception” by the political elites on the voters, whereby we have been effectively disenfranchised on the EU issue for at least 5 general elections, by virtue of it having been deliberately ignored/suppressed.

    This is the eseential disgrace attached to the political process at Westminster, whilst the views of the voter, as seen from the EUP elections where UKIP comes 2nd, are knowingly ignored.

    The solution will be for UKIP to actually win the 2014 EUP election and then you and your party will no longer be able to ignore the people.

    Reply: There is no deception. In those same EU elections Conservatives have won on a manifesto that you clearly do not like.

  23. lojolondon
    January 27, 2011

    John, I am a fan of yours so please take this in the right spirit. The conservatives DID promise us a referendum in the previous election, but so did all three parties. Then Labour side-stepped the referendum. Most people were incensed and determined to vote Tory, especially when Dave Cameron gave a “cast-iron guarantee”. (Why did he use such emotive and compelling language, and then attach a condition to the sentence? In retrospect it seems deliberately misleading). Since coming into power, David Cameron could have called a referendum at any time, there is no need to create this law. His total failure to address the situation is indicative of his commitment to the EU. So we have to work around him, calling our MP, arguing on blogs, signing petitions and rousing supporters wherever possible.

    Most importantly, if the British public were to vote us out of the EU, it would immediately save us £50m per day, money that is desperately required for our own use and to get our economy on track, that would free the Tories up to do all the things that we really need. It is a total travesty that the British people are under the rule of a ‘Stazi’ in Brussels. We are being denied self-regulation for the first time in 500 years and we want it back.

    Reply: As someone who wants a referendum, voted for one in the last Parliament, and would have voted again for one this week if the matter had been put to the vote (it was not reached) I am not your problem. I just think bloggers here need to remember that Mr Hague cancelled a referendum once Lisbon was ratified, which was before the election, so the Conservatives did not promise one during that election. You may well disagree with this decison, but the official party did not lie to electors during the election.

  24. Duyfken
    January 27, 2011

    First my congratulations to all of those Conservative MPs, led largely by Bill Cash, who have valiantly kept plugging away and ensured that the government has not been allowed to feel it has made the eurosceptics satisfied by this EU Bill.

    You bewail the arithmetic of the combination of Conservatives and Labour and Lib Dems not wishing to change the terms of the Bill, yet still consider that only the Conservatives can provide an effective strategy to rid us of the EU yoke, but surely only Conservatives who are prepared to defy the Party Whips will give us any chance of doing this. The Tory MP in my constituency is wedded to supporting the government (he also enjoying a government appointment), so I see little point in my supporting him at the next GE, except were I to give credence to the oft-repeated and annoying refrain that any other vote (eg to UKIP) will just let Labour back in.

    This seems like an impasse but is there another way we might influence the Conservative Parliamentary Party as a whole to your/our way of thinking?

    I have in mind that we should bypass the sitting MPs and tackle the Tory constituency associations directly. I am assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that the associations’ respective committees hold a view on the EU reflecting more closely that of the electorate as a whole, ie eurosceptic. If that’s so, it could be productive were they to put pressure on their parliamentary representative to perform accordingly. Or am I talking nonsense?

  25. Javelin
    January 27, 2011

    When you’re in control it’s very useful to create a crisis over a very minor issue to prove a point.

    Try to think of a really silly point of law that defies EU law and requires Government sovereignty to dismiss. For example pick on of the most silly, most minor directive you can find, then put through a private members bill that asserts that the UK is sovereign (for example the Bent Cucumber Bill). Anybody who backs the EU will be made to look really silly giving away UK sovereignty for the sake of straight cucumbers.

  26. grahams
    January 27, 2011

    I try to apply simple shibboleth-type tests to the seriousness of proposals in complex issues such as banking reforms or climate change policy. My test for the EU Bill is whether British voters, let alone those in the rest of the EU, will have any say in the access of Turkey, which would by then be the most populous nation in the Union. The answer seems to be no. Moreover, when I have followed your debates on the BBC, Eurosceptic Conservative MPs appear to want voters to have no say. So the Bill is window-dressing.

  27. Peter Maddock
    January 27, 2011

    When the crunch finally comes and a vote is eventually taken on the “finalised” content of the European Union Bill will Members of Parliament be given a free vote rather than being pressurised by the Whips? If it is the latter then so much of the work done by Mr Bill Cash and his knowledgeable Team and Supporters will have been a waste of time as would the hours spent in debate by a sprinkling of Members present in the House over 3 days. I remain amazed at the apparent lack of interest displayed by so many Members (not present) and that of the Media generally. One can hardly believe that the whole future of this country is currently in the melting pot as is the very existence of an increasingly purposeless Parliament. Our Country and our way of life is in extremely grave danger. I can only assume that this Coalition Government is banking on the collapse of the EU and the Euro prior to 2014 so that the inexplicable pressures of the Liberal Democrats to obtain the total dissolution and extinction of our Parliamentery free and elected structure will have been abhorted and the Lib-Dems will have no significance; all may then remain happily in power. This would be a dangerous gamble. It seems to me that we had better commence carrying Drake’s Drum to the English Shore and start beating it! Regards.

  28. Gladys Fawthrop
    January 27, 2011

    Why one asks oneself has it come to such a pass that that the train driven by Angela Merkel with second engineer Sarkozyhas been allowed to propel its many carriages at full pelt along the trackt while many of its passengers are feeling sick and want to get off? Meanwhile David Cameron and co are running up and down the corridors telling everyone to hold on tight because the train won’t crash , they will put the brakes on to stop that from happening!! In the background the tannoy system is informing everyone that the price of rail travel is about to go up the next day as the cost of running the service has increased considerably. No wonder even the German people among many others are disillusioned with the E.U , so why can’t our lot make the train stop and let us get off?

  29. John
    January 27, 2011

    This is the only moderation I can make. as per your instruction.

    I am sick to death with all the lies and cheats in Parliament masquerading as ‘honourable’ members. They know full well the opinion of the electorate, regarding the EU, however, they totally ignore the wishes of the electorate. The reason I feel is that they are SCARED of Cameron, and his (unflattering adjectives removed-ed) tactics also the Whips.
    In other words they DO NOT represent their electorates they represent their party.
    through fear.

    1. APL
      January 28, 2011

      John: “In other words they DO NOT represent their electorates they represent their party.”

      Do consider the impact of MPs expenses, a massive slush fund used by each party – yes the Party apparatus knew exactly what was going on – to buy this MP or suduce that MP to toe the party line.

  30. Ken
    January 27, 2011

    But there any many Conservatives who are not voting in a eu-sceptic way including my own Conservative MP, who is pro-eu membership. He is of the Edward Heath school and believes that the eu has kept the peace in Europe.

    What I don’t think these pro membership MPs are reflecting is the rocky road ahead.

    Either the Euro will fail, leaving financial destruction in its wake or Germany will become the reluctant paymaster of the Eurozone. Effectively this will make it the reluctant political and administrative leader of the Eurozone.

    As Germany’s political leaders change and as it warms to the task of absorbing poorer nations (something it has intimate experience of) its reluctance may give way to a fondness for the power it brings and Russia will look on jealously.

    In my view we have Hobson’s choice between the failed Euro and a restructuring of power on Continental Europe. I would have to take a failed Euro as the lesser of the two evils.

    If Germans could have a referendum right now I am sure the DM would be back and Germany will not be forced into a position of power that I am sure it (right now) it doesn’t want.

    With all the above, I can only trouble.

    1. Ken
      January 27, 2011

      With all the above, I can only SEE trouble!

  31. Andrew Smith
    January 27, 2011

    John rightly draws attention to the pro-EU integrationists in the other national parties represented in Parliament. What he does not point out is that it they abstained, the pro-EU integrationists in his own parliamentary party would ensure just the same outcome.

    Criticism of UKIP for not doing anything to help is a bit rich; only the activities of UKIP have kept the issue alive in public debate and only the activities of James Goldsmith (Referendum Party) ensured the Conservatives promised to stay out of the Euro unless a referendum of the people approved otherwise.

    Of course I would prefer it if any or all of the current Westminster parties were to change their policy towards the EU as that would be a quicker exit (or at least a quicker stabilisation) method than UKIP taking votes and denying seats to other parties. One day UKIP will likely take seats itself but the timescale for change is getting short.

    I was promised, as a member, that the Conservative Party would change the EEC/EU to our liking and that its ambitions were not as forecast by Wedgewood-Benn and Powell. Turns out I was not told the truth so I no longer support and work for that party.

    Reply: I seem to remember resigning from the Cabinet and urging a referendum on the currency, which both Mr Blair and Mr Major then offered.

  32. Denis Cooper
    January 27, 2011

    But all these amendments put down by eurosceptic Tory MPs would be rejected even if the Labour and LibDem MPs abstained.

    The Tory leadership doesn’t want any of their proposed amendments to be made so the Tory whips tell the Tory MPs to vote against them, all but a small number do as they’re told, and so the amendments are rejected.

    Under those circumstances the addition of MPs from other parties voting against an amendment actually does nothing to ensure its defeat, but merely makes the already inevitable defeat heavier.

    Take Division No 183 last night, Column 401 here:

    which was on an amendment proposed by Bernard Jenkin, an important and sensible amendment but one which ran contrary to the government’s carefully designed restriction that the Bill should only deal with cases where new competences or powers would be passed to the EU.

    It’s worth reading what he had to say, starting at Column 394, about the opportunity for the UK to opt-out of a whole chunk of very bad provisions introduced with the Lisbon Treaty:

    “In order to make the Lisbon treaty, which establishes the European Union’s authority over criminal and civil law, more palatable, there was an arrangement that the United Kingdom could opt out at a later date.”

    “The Bill pretends that there is no decision to be made between now and 2014 about this momentous change to our criminal justice system and the way the law is conducted in this country.”

    And his suggestion that the decision should be made by a national referendum with the question:

    “Do you want the criminal justice system of this country to be controlled by the European Union?”

    In the event only 28 MPs supported his amendment, and some of them were Labour MPs.

    In fact the closest vote so far was one where Labour MPs were apparently whipped to vote for an amendment proposed by the Tory MP James Clappison, which would have meant that instead of a minister being able to simply declare that a proposed treaty change or decision was not sufficiently significant to justify a referendum he would have to get his opinion endorsed by a vote in each of the two Houses – Division No 180 here:

    The result was Ayes 239, Noes 310 – and the Noes were mostly Tories, including Cameron, Hague, Osborne, May etc.

    Reply: The division you cite is one where I voted with the government against a Labour amendment, because we all thought the Labour amendment watered down the need to hold a referendum in future! Surely you agree with that decision.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 28, 2011

      No, Division No 180 at Column 130 was the one on James Clappison’s amendment –

      “If the Minister’s opinion is that the effect of that provision in relation to the United Kingdom is not significant the Minister must seek Parliamentary approval for his opinion …”

      and you voted for that along with a few other Tory MPs and the Labour MPs, while Cameron and the Tory frontbench led the rest of the Tory MPs into the opposing lobby, result Ayes 239, Noes 310.

      The preceding Division No 179 at Column 126 was the one on the ridiculous time-wasting Labour amendment, and you voted against that, result Ayes 220, Noes 329.

      Reply: Your attachment was the Labour one. Yes I did back James on his wish to strengthen the Bill.

  33. Stuart Fairney
    January 27, 2011

    I do not recall seeing such an angry comment section for a long time.

    Is it just me or is there a sense of the ancien regime about not just the government, but UK mainstream politics at the moment. If the Sterling crisis comes, inflation rockets and state finances collapse (as is certainly possible if not certain) I wonder if the UK will see its Bastille moment? I do hope not, but I wonder if you are sleep walking towards disaster ~indeed, the with failure to seriously tackle the deficit, the EU and several other issues, I fear you (i.e the conservative party) are doing just that.

    It can’t end well.

  34. Patrick Wood
    January 27, 2011

    John is right about UKIP; they have no representation in the Commons and therefore have no meaningful influence over debates and votes within it.

    The fact that UKIP has a large level of representation in the European Parliament highlights one of their key problems; they are seen as a single-issue (or at the very least narrowly-focused) party that stands on an anti-EU basis. Their very name does nothing to help this as it further highlights their central anti-EU focus. The electorate as a whole does not take them seriously enough as a party running for representation in Westminster.

    If UKIP truly wanted to further the eurosceptic cause they would stand aside in constituencies where a eurosceptic Conservative candidate was running. To achieve its goal of leaving the EU then UKIP has to work with rather than against the Conservatives. I am not suggesting that the Conservatives start fielding eurosceptic candidates under a Conservative-UKIP banner like the Labour Co-Op practice. However I think it is important that UKIP tries to improve its relationship with the Conservatives rather than critiscising them for not going far enough.

    1. Stuart Fairney
      January 28, 2011

      Odd that the supposed conservative Cameron will consider an alliance with the Liberals but not UKIP.

      This is instructive.

    2. Denis Cooper
      January 28, 2011

      But almost all Conservative candidates are eurosceptic, until they get elected when most of them turn out not to be so eurosceptic after all.

  35. Pedro
    January 27, 2011

    I have just stopped contacting my local Tory MP. Complete waste of time. Has no influence on, and probably little understanding about my EU concerns. Having seen the charade of debate on the EU Bill I have lost all faith in this present administration.
    Cameron and Clegg will join Blair and Brown as traitors to our own nationality.

    1. Stuart Fairney
      January 28, 2011

      Likewise, you get a ‘cut and paste’ of policy from my MP (not JR I should stress) which does not address you point at all. Even my non-political wife made the same point when for the first (and last) time in her life she wrote to our MP last year.

      1. APL
        January 28, 2011

        Stuart Fairney: “”cut and paste’

        That would be the communications allowance, clearly not enough to be able to allow an MP to read your letter.

  36. zorro
    January 27, 2011

    It is clear that readers are intensely frustrated with their parliamentary representatives on this matter. No blame has been attached to your position and you rightly mention your principled resignation on the subject of the currency referendum.
    The real ire is with your party colleagues who are clearly not prepared to publicly represent the views of their constituents. As others have said Labour and the Liberals will always keep the status quo on Europe….but so are the Tories. Why will they not press this issue in greater numbers, even a little bit just so that the PM takes you seriously.
    What is the game plan for Eurosceptic Conservatives? Where is your red line on the issue?


    Reply: My red lines were long ago crossed by the Labour government. I and the Conservative party opposed Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon. As I keep explaining we have a five year Parliament with an inbuilt federalist block on the kind of changes Eurosceptics would like. A large Eurosceptic majority in the EUropean elections would send a message but nothing can change unless and until there is a Eurosceptic majority in the Commons. The Eurosceptic movement has to unite to fight to achieve that. All the time Eurosceptics think voting for ever purer and smaller splinter parties is the answer the federalists are laughing all the way to the polling station.

    1. APL
      January 28, 2011

      Zorro: “No blame has been attached to your position and you rightly mention your …”

      He is still in the Tory party, he therefor supports the efforts of the Tory party.

      Redwood is a convenient lightening conductor, anti European Union sentiment strikes here and is safely conducted to ground. In that role Redwood serves and an excellent diversion and is permitted to rant and rave in a tame manner for just that reason.

      Lenin had a term for such people.

  37. Jon Burgess
    January 27, 2011

    What good has it done you to be a Eurosceptic within the conservative party, and how has your being Eurosceptic in any way altered the direction of your party on the European issue? I can only imagine the frustration of thinking the exact opposite on Europe as all those big hitters in the current cabinet.

    No doubt I’ve missed some of the details here, but whilst in power the Conservative party took the UK into the EEC, consistently lied to the electorate on the direction that the EU project was taking, signed up to the single European Act, signed up to Maastrict, took the Sterling into the ERM, (followed by a hasty exit), and whilst in opposition (and in power) blustered about reforming the EU from within and most recently gave a ‘cast iron’ guarantee to a referendum on Lisbon, that turned out to be nothing more than a confidence trick.

    If this is what voters get from the UK’s most Eurosceptic mainstream party, I’d hate to see what a pro EU party could do.

    I think you and your Eurosceptic colleagues in the Conservative party do your leader a great service, in that you help to give your party the appearance of being sceptical of Europe, when in fact your party’s actions whilst in power betray the true position of being as mauch a part of the pro EU establishment as Labour or the Lib Dems.

    Maybe your defection to UKIP might push the EU bill up the BBCs news agenda?

    Reply: The campaign I and a few others waged was most important to keeping the UK out of the Euro, our biggest success to date. Our presence in the previous Conservative government kept us out of the common borders arrangements, which Labour then gave away.
    I have no intention of defecting to UKIP for the reasons I have often set out. If we are to change our relaitonship with the EU we need majority consent to do so.

    1. Jon Burgess
      January 29, 2011

      ‘If we are to change our relationship with the EU we need majority consent to do so’ – couldn’t agree more, but that consent will not come about by the electorate voting for Labour, Lib Den or Conservative – all of which have no intention of changing the relationship with the EU – that is the problem!

      What is it that you want, Mr Redwood? To continue with the tried and failed policy of reforming the EU from within, or getting out altogether? If it’s getting out, then you are in the wrong party!

      Incidentally, not to take anything away from you regarding not joining the Euro, I think we are finding this had more to do with the antagonism between Blair and Brown than anything else.

      What I was getting at before is that your party had ample opportunity to derail the EU juggernaut whilst in power with mighty majorities, and chose not to. In fact when Mrs Thatcher looked like she was belatedly waking up to the implications of federal integration, she got the boot. So forgive us if we don’t accept that the Conservatives are the only hope for giving the electorate the choice they seek. Your leader has shown that whilst he seeks to emulate Maggie in what he says on Europe, he is proving to be more like Ted Heath when viewed against what he actually does when it matters.

  38. Christopher Ekstrom
    January 28, 2011

    The fact is the U.K. has been backed into acceptance of a Euro U.K. & as I read Mr. Redwood he is dismissive of UKIP. Then he is a part of the problem. It is bloody unlikely to add ten EuroSpcetic MP’s to the current (sad) “conservative” party. Lib/labour (offensive words removed-ed) it is most important to force a referendum asap. If JR is opposed then dump this site & visit UKIP. Wake up to the reality that the fake lot we are lead by only recognize power; UKIP can protect our heritage. Please do not despair! VOTE UKIP NOW!!!!

    Reply: UKIP appealed to people to vote when it mattered last May. They said all this and more, but it did not work. Former UKIP voters have to live and work with the Parliament they helped elect. It’s no good living in a minority fantasy world in a democracy, where it is rule by the majority. You have to influence the majority.

  39. Lindsay McDougall
    January 28, 2011

    Right, 100% right. This is why the European policy in the next Conservative manifesto is so important and why, well in advance of the next General Election, we should publish the voting records in this Parliament of each and every individual LibDem and Labour MP.

    Our manifesto must assert that no Treaty is irreversable and that no Parliament can bind its successor.

  40. foundavoice
    January 28, 2011

    John, I have a lot of sympathy for your and your position.

    However, UKIP clearly cost the Conservatives a number of seats at the last General Election and I can only see that increasing. Most Tories wanted to believe that Cameron would change things regarding the EU. That is clearly not going to happen.

    It would be worth remembering that UKIP offered to stand down their candidates if the Tories had agreed to a referendum. This could all be dealt with if a bit of courage is shown.

    Finally, whilst the change to the ‘cast iron’ promise was technically true and whilst the Tories position on the Lisbon Treaty was clear before the General Election it nonetheless undoubtedly cost the Tories votes as it was a clear weakening of the position. We want a referendum.

    Anyway, I left the UK last week and don’t intend coming back for many years now (if ever). My wife and would likely never be unemployed (at least for any significant period) and we have 25 years+ working life left in us. Our children have access to better schools and lifestyles, and we get to enjoy the modest money that we earn.

    The UK is a mess and ours is not an uncommon story with the numerous expats here (HK).

    But until we are out of the EU the decline will continue.

    Reply: As someone who wants and votes for a referendum I understand the frustrations. The point I am making is the UKIP stategy failed. The Conservative leadership did not play UKIP’s game, so we have no referendum. We just end up with a more Euro federalist Commons.


  41. APL
    January 28, 2011

    JR: “However, the cruel logic of the arithmetic reminds us daily that the British people elected a pro EU Parliament.”

    Actually elected the likes of Clarke and Mandleson (but two instance) who promptly betrayed their oath of allegiance to the Crown and betrayed their country to a foreign power.

    That no one else in the government saw fit to prosecute or denounce these people, informs us that the Party is the problem. It has colluded and conspired across the decades to destroy our country.

    ‘Party’ the self interested and fluid nexus of self promoting individuals who have; failed to lead the people of this country, failed to tell the truth at any opportunity and taken every opportunity to undermine the laws and traditions of this country. It doesn’t really if the creature has the label ‘Tory’, ‘Labour’ or ‘Liberal’ they have all conspired to subvert the country.

    Our ancestors spent a thousand years making sure we were free and independent, you lot have destroyed that in 50.

  42. Steve S
    January 28, 2011

    All this arguing about the past – the simple fact is that we wouldn’t have Lisbon if that EU lackey Lord Mandelson hadn’t been under EU orders to save the Labour administration at all costs by propping up Brown when Purnell resigned. An election then would have seen a wipe out of Labour, a massive Conservative majority and a referendum to stop Lisbon in its tracks. Have no doubt, the EU had no wish to see an early election in the UK, and we now have to suffer in the smugness of Barroso, the ineptitude of Ashton and the dangerous meddling of Van Rumpoy, along with “economic overight of the UK” – which I understand used to be the conrnerstone of our democracy and the sole preserve of an elected Parliament under our constitution. We should never submit to this in my opinon, irrespective of treaties or otherwise.

    However, we have what we have. How can we try and improve our lot? I remain hopeful that a majority Conservative government would do better than the coalition can with Lib Dims in government on the EU issue – the party, in line with the public, is broadly sceptic. The Liberals will be wiped out at the next election – a large portion of their voters will never forgive going into coalition. The Tories need to get through the choppy economic waters and concentrate on a much better campaign next time and then we’ll see real action. in the meantim, this bill is probably as far as can be gone at this time,w ith this governement – it isn’t what we would want, but may be better than nothing perhaps. We live in hope!

  43. Eric Arthur Blair
    January 28, 2011

    “What we need is votes inside, and only Conservatives can supply those.”

    But John, you already have 300-and-odd of those… yet strangely, only a hardcore of a couple of dozen patriots who vote against the EU takeover.

    The other 250-odd Conservatives are party to the ongoing treason.

    I would suggest that the voting records clearly show that only about 10% of Conservative MPs will vote against the treason – begun by Conservative PM Edward Heath.

    By contrast, 100% of UKIP representatives would be guaranteed to vote against the treachery.

    If only the electorate could see beyond “…but I have to vote for the blue one to stop the red one getting in.”

    Or, worse still, voting for the red one, no matter how much hell they visit upon the people.

    What was the quotation about the limits of tyranny being whatever the people will put up with..?

  44. sm
    January 28, 2011

    How can you influence the ‘majority’ who are dictated to and then vote as ordered. They have no intention of attending or listening to the debate?

    The majority of the public are Euro-sceptic but have no way to ensure this view prevails in parliament against the wishes of the controlling party machines.

    What hidden personal interests are at stake.What influences MP’s which are not being declared faithfully at each vote. Would it not be right for those with economic interests to declare them and also to abstain from the debate and vote thereon .

    My money is on the Germans calling time on the EU and all the associated costs and expense accounts.

    This is in my opinion a fundamental/constitutional problem with our peculiar form of government and representation. It is hardly democratic in the way most people understand.The Executive management are not staying loyal and faithful to the shareholders again.

    My compliments to Bill Cash et al.

    Reply: The Conservative majority voted for this Bill because it is an attempt to buttress UK sovereignty and to prevent future transfers of power. MPs do declare their economnic interests in a register, and where relevant before they speak in any debate.

  45. Mike Stallard
    January 28, 2011

    Do you know what? I wish that the burning passion of the comments on this blog were directed either at the ghastly mess of the EU, or even at the magnificent Labour debt…..

  46. Kenneth
    January 28, 2011

    I don’t see the point in beating ourselves up about UK/Conservatives.

    I suspect the John’s views are mainstream British opinion. However, many British people have never heard of John Redwood and even less of Bill Cash. I also reckon that very few had heard of Nick Clegg until he suddenly turned up on prime time tv one night.

    Why do the Greens have 1 MP when UKIP do not have one? It surely has everything to do with the fact that Caroline Lucas appeared on Question Time multiple times and had the run of the BBC tv studios over many years.

    I think that what we are missing is the vital importance of mass media. The eu-sceptic argument is already won in the country. However there is no call to action because without a medium there is no message.

    Reply: Mr Farage has appeared on Question Time and other BBC programmes, and has usually attracted substantial publicity. It still did not win him Buckingham when there was no Conservative, Lib Dem or Labour candidate to fight.

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