John Redwood’s contribution to the Backbench Debate on a National Referendum on the European Union, 24 Oct

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): There have been many powerful speeches already rightly saying that this debate is about democracy. Democracy is fundamental to the House—the mother of Parliaments, an example to the world—which has been through a bad time. It has been humbled by its failure to listen carefully enough to the people and because too many powers of self-government have been needlessly given away to Brussels. The people not only want us to listen, to have this great debate and to have a free vote to express their opinions and views, but would like to feel that the people in this House, charged with the duty of governing, have the power to govern. They believe that the Government should come here and answer to us and that we, from both sides of the House, should hold them to account. If they do a good job, the public reward them in a general election, and if they do a bad job, they sack them. However, what we now see happening, because there is too much unaccountable European power, is the breakdown of the fabric of consent that is fundamental to a democracy.

If hon. Members were to go to Greece today, they would see what happens when that consent starts to break down. Rich Greeks now think that their Government have no right to tax them because they are on autopilot from Europe and they do not like what it is doing, and poor Greeks think that the Government have no right to remove some of their benefits because they think, again, that they are on autopilot from Brussels. In Portugal, Ireland or Slovakia, we see that the European mess can change Governments—regardless, almost, of what the people think—but that when the people put in a new Government, it makes absolutely no difference to the policy that the country is following, because it is all on autopilot and has been preordained by the IMF, the bankers and, above all, the EU bureaucrats and assembled member states.

We need to ensure that we—those of us with a heart and a conscience—send a loud message to our constituents tonight that we are democrats, that we think that the public were right to demand this debate, that we admire the Prime Minister for making it possible through the petition system and that we would like the Whips to withdraw so that a proper expression of opinion can be given. We want our Government to understand that if too many powers are taken away, we will no longer have the authority or opportunity to govern. Already, we have to say too often to our constituents, “I cannot help you with that because it is a European directive. I cannot assist you with this because it is an unaccountable European programme.” We can no longer change the law in the way that we wish because it is preordained by some Brussels decision.

This House was great when every law that applied to the British people was fought over in this Chamber and in Committee and satisfied the needs of the majority. This House was great when the public knew that when they had had enough of rotten Government, they could change not just the people, but the policies they were following. This House was great when it had full control of all our money and did not have to give away tariffs and taxes to foreign powers to spend in ways of which we do not approve. We need to wake up. We need to do what the British people want us to do. We need to take responsibility for governing this country. We need to enact the laws. We need to debate and argue about it in here. Brussels has too much power. The British people need a say. Let us have a vote.

The House having divided:

Ayes 111, Noes 483.

Division No. 372]

[9.59 pm

Andrew, Stuart
Baker, Steve
Baron, Mr John
Bingham, Andrew
Binley, Mr Brian
Blackman, Bob
Brady, Mr Graham
Bridgen, Andrew
Brine, Mr Steve
Bruce, Fiona
Byles, Dan
Campbell, Mr Gregory
Campbell, Mr Ronnie
Carswell, Mr Douglas
Cash, Mr William
Chope, Mr Christopher
Clappison, Mr James
Cooper, Rosie
Corbyn, Jeremy
Crouch, Tracey
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John
Davidson, Mr Ian
Davies, David T. C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh Mr David
de Bois, Nick
Dinenage, Caroline
Dodds, rh Mr Nigel
Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.
Dorries, Nadine
Drax, Richard
Engel, Natascha
Field, rh Mr Frank
Field, Mr Mark
Fullbrook, Lorraine
Godsiff, Mr Roger
Goldsmith, Zac
Gray, Mr James
Heaton-Harris, Chris
Henderson, Gordon
Hermon, Lady
Hoey, Kate
Hollingbery, George
Holloway, Mr Adam
Hopkins, Kelvin
Jackson, Mr Stewart
Jenkin, Mr Bernard
Jones, Mr Marcus
Kelly, Chris
Leadsom, Andrea
Lefroy, Jeremy
Leigh, Mr Edward
Lewis, Dr Julian
Lucas, Caroline
Lumley, Karen
Main, Mrs Anne
McCabe, Steve
McCartney, Jason
McCartney, Karl
McCrea, Dr William
McDonnell, John
McPartland, Stephen
Mercer, Patrick
Mills, Nigel
Mitchell, Austin
Morris, Anne Marie
Morris, James
Mosley, Stephen
Murray, Sheryll
Nokes, Caroline
Nuttall, Mr David
Offord, Mr Matthew
Paisley, Ian
Parish, Neil
Patel, Priti
Percy, Andrew
Pritchard, Mark
Reckless, Mark
Redwood, rh Mr John
Rees-Mogg, Jacob
Reevell, Simon
Robertson, Mr Laurence
Rosindell, Andrew
Sanders, Mr Adrian
Shannon, Jim
Shepherd, Mr Richard
Simpson, David
Skinner, Mr Dennis
Smith, rh Mr Andrew
Smith, Henry
Stevenson, John
Stewart, Bob
Stewart, Iain
Streeter, Mr Gary
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sturdy, Julian
Tapsell, rh Sir Peter
Tomlinson, Justin
Turner, Mr Andrew
Vickers, Martin
Walker, Mr Charles
Walker, Mr Robin
Weatherley, Mike
Wheeler, Heather
Whittaker, Craig
Whittingdale, Mr John
Wilson, Sammy
Wollaston, Dr Sarah
Wood, Mike

Tellers for the Ayes:
Mr Peter Bone and
Mr Philip Hollobone

Abbott, Ms Diane
Abrahams, Debbie
Adams, Nigel
Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob
Aldous, Peter
Alexander, rh Danny
Alexander, rh Mr Douglas
Alexander, Heidi
Ali, Rushanara
Anderson, Mr David
Arbuthnot, rh Mr James
Ashworth, Jonathan
Bacon, Mr Richard
Bailey, Mr Adrian
Bain, Mr William
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Baldwin, Harriett
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barclay, Stephen
Barker, Gregory
Barron, rh Mr Kevin
Barwell, Gavin
Bebb, Guto
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Dame Anne
Beith, rh Sir Alan
Bell, Sir Stuart
Bellingham, Mr Henry
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr Joe
Benyon, Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Berger, Luciana
Berry, Jake
Betts, Mr Clive
Blackman-Woods, Roberta
Blackwood, Nicola
Blears, rh Hazel
Blenkinsop, Tom
Blomfield, Paul
Blunkett, rh Mr David
Blunt, Mr Crispin
Boles, Nick
Bottomley, Sir Peter
Bradley, Karen
Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben
Brake, rh Tom
Bray, Angie
Brazier, Mr Julian
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Brown, rh Mr Gordon
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr Nicholas
Brown, Mr Russell
Browne, Mr Jeremy
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Buckland, Mr Robert
Burden, Richard
Burley, Mr Aidan
Burnham, rh Andy
Burns, Conor
Burns, rh Mr Simon
Burrowes, Mr David
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Alistair
Burt, Lorely
Byrne, rh Mr Liam
Cable, rh Vince
Cairns, Alun
Cameron, rh Mr David
Campbell, Mr Alan
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair
Carmichael, Neil
Caton, Martin
Chapman, Mrs Jenny
Chishti, Rehman
Clark, rh Greg
Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth
Clarke, rh Mr Tom
Clegg, rh Mr Nick
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Coffey, Dr Thérèse
Collins, Damian
Colvile, Oliver
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, rh Yvette
Cox, Mr Geoffrey
Crabb, Stephen
Crausby, Mr David
Creagh, Mary
Creasy, Stella
Crockart, Mike
Cunningham, Alex
Cunningham, Mr Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Curran, Margaret
Dakin, Nic
Danczuk, Simon
Darling, rh Mr Alistair
Davey, Mr Edward
David, Mr Wayne
Davies, Geraint
Davies, Glyn
De Piero, Gloria
Denham, rh Mr John
Djanogly, Mr Jonathan
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Docherty, Thomas
Donohoe, Mr Brian H.
Doran, Mr Frank
Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen
Dowd, Jim
Doyle, Gemma
Doyle-Price, Jackie
Dromey, Jack
Duddridge, James
Dugher, Michael
Duncan, rh Mr Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain
Durkan, Mark
Eagle, Ms Angela
Eagle, Maria
Edwards, Jonathan
Efford, Clive
Elliott, Julie
Ellis, Michael
Ellison, Jane
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ellwood, Mr Tobias
Elphicke, Charlie
Esterson, Bill
Evans, Chris
Evans, Graham
Evans, Jonathan
Evennett, Mr David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Farrelly, Paul
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Fovargue, Yvonne
Fox, rh Dr Liam
Francis, Dr Hywel
Francois, rh Mr Mark
Freeman, George
Freer, Mike
Fuller, Richard
Gapes, Mike
Garnier, Mr Edward
Garnier, Mark
Gauke, Mr David
George, Andrew
Gibb, Mr Nick
Gilbert, Stephen
Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl
Gilmore, Sheila
Glass, Pat
Glen, John
Glindon, Mrs Mary
Goggins, rh Paul
Goodman, Helen
Goodwill, Mr Robert
Gove, rh Michael
Graham, Richard
Grant, Mrs Helen
Grayling, rh Chris
Greatrex, Tom
Green, Damian
Green, Kate
Greening, Justine
Greenwood, Lilian
Grieve, rh Mr Dominic
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Andrew
Gummer, Ben
Gwynne, Andrew
Gyimah, Mr Sam
Hain, rh Mr Peter
Halfon, Robert
Hames, Duncan
Hamilton, Mr David
Hamilton, Fabian
Hammond, rh Mr Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hancock, Matthew
Hanson, rh Mr David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harper, Mr Mark
Harrington, Richard
Harris, Rebecca
Hart, Simon
Harvey, Nick
Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan
Havard, Mr Dai
Hayes, Mr John
Heald, Oliver
Heath, Mr David
Hemming, John
Hendrick, Mark
Hendry, Charles
Hepburn, Mr Stephen
Herbert, rh Nick
Heyes, David
Hillier, Meg
Hilling, Julie
Hinds, Damian
Hoban, Mr Mark
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs Sharon
Hood, Mr Jim
Hopkins, Kris
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, rh Mr George
Howarth, Mr Gerald
Howell, John
Hughes, rh Simon
Huhne, rh Chris
Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy
Hunt, Tristram
Hunter, Mark
Huppert, Dr Julian
Hurd, Mr Nick
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda
James, Margot
James, Mrs Siân C.
Jamieson, Cathy
Jarvis, Dan
Javid, Sajid
Johnson, Diana
Johnson, Gareth
Johnson, Joseph
Jones, Andrew
Jones, Mr David
Jones, Graham
Jones, Mr Kevan
Jones, Susan Elan
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keeley, Barbara
Kendall, Liz
Kennedy, rh Mr Charles
Khan, rh Sadiq
Kirby, Simon
Knight, rh Mr Greg
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lamb, Norman
Lammy, rh Mr David
Lancaster, Mark
Lansley, rh Mr Andrew
Latham, Pauline
Lavery, Ian
Laws, rh Mr David
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lee, Jessica
Lee, Dr Phillip
Leech, Mr John
Leslie, Charlotte
Leslie, Chris
Letwin, rh Mr Oliver
Lewis, Brandon
Lewis, Mr Ivan
Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian
Lidington, rh Mr David
Lilley, rh Mr Peter
Lloyd, Stephen
Lloyd, Tony
Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn
Long, Naomi
Lopresti, Jack
Lord, Jonathan
Loughton, Tim
Love, Mr Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Luff, Peter
Macleod, Mary
MacShane, rh Mr Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr Khalid
Mahmood, Shabana
Mann, John
Marsden, Mr Gordon
Maude, rh Mr Francis
May, rh Mrs Theresa
Maynard, Paul
McCann, Mr Michael
McCarthy, Kerry
McClymont, Gregg
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, Dr Alasdair
McFadden, rh Mr Pat
McGovern, Alison
McGovern, Jim
McGuire, rh Mrs Anne
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McKechin, Ann
McKenzie, Mr Iain
McKinnell, Catherine
McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick
McVey, Esther
Meacher, rh Mr Michael
Meale, Sir Alan
Mearns, Ian
Menzies, Mark
Metcalfe, Stephen
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh David
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Miller, Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew
Moon, Mrs Madeleine
Mordaunt, Penny
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Nicky
Morrice, Graeme (Livingston)
Morris, David
Morris, Grahame M. (Easington)
Mowat, David
Mudie, Mr George
Mundell, rh David
Munt, Tessa
Murphy, rh Mr Jim
Murphy, rh Paul
Murray, Ian
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Nandy, Lisa
Nash, Pamela
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr Brooks
Norman, Jesse
O’Brien, Mr Stephen
O’Donnell, Fiona
Ollerenshaw, Eric
Onwurah, Chi
Opperman, Guy
Osborne, rh Mr George
Osborne, Sandra
Ottaway, Richard
Owen, Albert
Paice, rh Mr James
Paterson, rh Mr Owen
Pawsey, Mark
Pearce, Teresa
Penrose, John
Perkins, Toby
Perry, Claire
Phillips, Stephen
Pickles, rh Mr Eric
Pincher, Christopher
Poulter, Dr Daniel
Pound, Stephen
Prisk, Mr Mark
Qureshi, Yasmin
Randall, rh Mr John
Raynsford, rh Mr Nick
Reed, Mr Jamie
Reeves, Rachel
Reid, Mr Alan
Reynolds, Emma
Reynolds, Jonathan
Ritchie, Ms Margaret
Robathan, rh Mr Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robinson, Mr Geoffrey
Rogerson, Dan
Rotheram, Steve
Roy, Mr Frank
Roy, Lindsay
Ruane, Chris
Rudd, Amber
Ruddock, rh Joan
Ruffley, Mr David
Russell, Bob
Rutley, David
Sandys, Laura
Sarwar, Anas
Scott, Mr Lee
Seabeck, Alison
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, rh Grant
Sharma, Alok
Sharma, Mr Virendra
Sheerman, Mr Barry
Shelbrooke, Alec
Sheridan, Jim
Shuker, Gavin
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr Keith
Skidmore, Chris
Slaughter, Mr Andy
Smith, Angela
Smith, Miss Chloe
Smith, Julian
Smith, Nick
Smith, Owen
Smith, Sir Robert
Soames, rh Nicholas
Soubry, Anna
Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline
Stanley, rh Sir John
Stephenson, Andrew
Stewart, Iain
Stewart, Rory
Stride, Mel
Stuart, Mr Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Swales, Ian
Swayne, rh Mr Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Swire, rh Mr Hugo
Syms, Mr Robert
Tami, Mark
Teather, Sarah
Thomas, Mr Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Thurso, John
Timms, rh Stephen
Timpson, Mr Edward
Tredinnick, David
Trickett, Jon
Truss, Elizabeth
Turner, Karl
Twigg, Derek
Twigg, Stephen
Tyrie, Mr Andrew
Umunna, Mr Chuka
Uppal, Paul
Vaizey, Mr Edward
Vara, Mr Shailesh
Vaz, Valerie
Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa
Wallace, Mr Ben
Walter, Mr Robert
Ward, Mr David
Watkinson, Angela
Watson, Mr Tom
Watts, Mr Dave
Weatherley, Mike
Webb, Steve
Wharton, James
White, Chris
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, rh Malcolm
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, rh Mr David
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mr Mark
Williams, Roger
Williams, Stephen
Williamson, Chris
Williamson, Gavin
Willott, Jenny
Wilson, Phil
Wilson, Mr Rob
Winnick, Mr David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woodcock, John
Woodward, rh Mr Shaun
Wright, David
Wright, Mr Iain
Wright, Jeremy
Wright, Simon
Yeo, Mr Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:
Mr Philip Dunne and
Greg Hands

Question accordingly negatived.


  1. Dr Bernard Juby
    October 25, 2011

    P.S. My MP voted against so he has now lost my vote.

  2. Dr Bernard Juby
    October 25, 2011

    An Open letter to Chris White, M.P. (Warwick and Leamington)

    Sorry but you have now lost my vote!

    The Lib-Dems should be even more ashamed of themselves for disallowing the democratic views of the public when they insisted on having their own disastrous Referendum on elections.

    To deny a democratic process is unforgivable – you could have campaigned against it if you had to but then would have had to answer to your electorate, as you now must – but I will NOT vote for a party hack and YES-man.


  3. Ben Kelly
    October 25, 2011

    This is a shame, my MP has been very helpful to me in the past and I am indebted to him.

    By not voting for a referendum he has tarnished that goodwill. My decision will not be straightforward at the next election but I will be watching him more closely than before.

  4. Freddy
    October 25, 2011

    “We need to take responsibility for governing this country.”

    Bloody excellent.

    OK, how do I get myself made the Conservative candidate for Battersea, instead of that awful Ellison person ?
    P.S. I’m serious.

  5. Timaction
    October 25, 2011

    I admire my MP Jacob Rees Mogg and Mr Redwood who had the courage and bravery to openly express their patriotic views and vote for a referendum. True Tory values and opinions! Unfortunately, I cannot envisage any change from the Tory leadership. They are gutless and act in their personal NOT national interest. Mr Cameron has proven to be a fully paid up Europhile and no change can or will be made to our existing EU arrangements where they will impose regulation on our financial services, increase our net contribution above £13.5 billion. There will be no reform of the Common Agricultural or fishing policies. Further directives will reduce our competetitive position in the world in this undemocratic monstrous organisation. We will continue with our annual £52 billion trade deficit with more of the same. I’m afraid that I will not vote Conservative again until Mr Cameron is removed and an honest leader appointed who can be trusted and believes in democracy. We the public know better than you Mr Cameron. Shame on you Mr Hague!!

  6. Catherine in Athens
    October 25, 2011

    Excellent speech, John. I wish I had heard it.

  7. Steve Smith
    October 26, 2011

    The public have set up another EU Referendum petition.

    Playing the EU card at its own game. If you dont like the result vote again !

    Sign up now at

  8. forthurst
    October 29, 2011

    One can’t help noticing the higher degree of vibrancy, those who who have statutary protections against the English, of the Noes. Will they never feel safe from us until they have abolished our country and flooded it millions more just like them?

Comments are closed.