We need a Mandate referendum


        I will be pressing again for a Mandate referendum to ask the voters soon if they want the government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on trade and poltical co-operation. I think we could get this through the current Commons if all Conservatives will vote for it — unlike an In/Out referendum – and get some movement at last on the UK’s need to do something different now the Euro area is pressing on with complete political, fiscal and monetary union.

         I am posting this today to remind readers that I have been pushing for this for some time, and that any action I take next week is not a belated response to any improvement in the UKIP vote that some are forecasting. I would still want people to have an In/Out referendum after the renegotiation, based on the new terms.


  1. Nina Andreeva
    May 2, 2013

    I am just on my way out to vote for UKIP. Nice try with the(word left out ed) smears, Central Office seems to have forgotten about your colleague Aiden Burley’s stag party in Switzerland. I have wrote here before about UKIP, like all other Poujadiste parties, essentially ending up as a rip off for the “petit Jean”. I also have to had to comprehend the absurdity of a UKIP candidate (etc-ed) However I just cannot stand anymore of Cameron and his idea that a “gentleman amateur” can be still be considered to be suitably qualified to be Prime Minister in a 21st Britain. Please send your letter to Mr Brady. I have had enough of watching the death agony of the UK.

    1. Bazman
      May 3, 2013

      Good job you have your 2k a week income you told us about to back up this vote Nina isn’t it?

  2. JimF
    May 2, 2013

    A rather hurried posting.

    Please do not continue to insist that Cameron’s actions on Europe are as a result of your actions rather than as a reaction to growing UKIP support. It just shows that you are even further behind the curve than your leadership.

    The fact is that Cameron still sees UKIP, and the whole anti-elite, anti-EU, anti-state control movement as a flash in the pan. It is not. Only when your party starts to actually hold referenda, remove state interference, break up the banks, bring back Grammar schools, impose fair taxes will your party be believed. Jam tomorrow isn’t enough any more.

    1. Hope
      May 2, 2013

      Well said. Most people want the same thing to help their daily lives which is very different from the Westminstzer bubble crew. Selfish motives and personal greed pervade a lot of what goes on at Westminster. Cameron was going to sort it out and the lobbying nonsense. Three years on and nothing substantive to date

    2. Sue Doughty
      May 2, 2013

      Jim, what is your option? What are you offering? An In Out referendum if lost would bring a far worse relationship with the EU, would it not? And you are such a tiny voice you cannot be sure of the result you desire. If you desired it that much you would have sold everything you have to pay for a full campaign by a full national party but I notice very few people do donate to such a shambolic band of charlatans. UKIP is a one man band. A single issue pressure group with insufficient support to make a difference.
      Real Eurosceptics know very well where David Cameron stands and what he wants, and also remain aware of what the last general election results brought us – a set of results showing around half the votes went to Europhile parties. Ignore the facts at your peril, we must tread carefully on the EU issue or lose even more.

      1. Denis Cooper
        May 3, 2013

        “Real Eurosceptics know very well where David Cameron stands”

        True, and we know that he does not stand alongside us.

    3. Mike
      May 2, 2013


      It wasn’t believable before and it is even less so now.

      Let me guess the party line is that ‘we are not worried about UKIP’… But Tories across the country reaching for their brown trousers just in case. 🙂

    4. Mark
      May 2, 2013

      Mr Redwood has been consistent. Mr Cameron has not.

    5. David Price
      May 3, 2013

      I wish you people would make your minds up. One minute you are trying to entice John to move to your party claiming it would be honourable to renege on the people who elected him as a conservative. The next you are being abusive and claiming he has no practical influence anyway and all changes in government position are down to your actions.

      Not only a confused approach to foreplay but one that must have all the euphilics in the UK and EU rolling on the floor laughing their heads off. Not only do you diffuse the main practical threat to UK membership in the EU you happily promote a Labour/Libdem government which will finish the destruction of our economy, a win-win for the EU all round.

      Reply Thank you for your support. Eurosceptics seem to delight in splitting their forces and marginalising what should be a great cause.

  3. lifelogic
    May 2, 2013

    Indeed but you say “if all Conservatives will vote for it” when not even Cameron would vote for it let alone Ken Clarke. I suspect about 40% would not vote for it.

    The only electoral hope now is a deal with UKIP and some way of preventing Cameron and his lefties from ratting – as he clearly will do and with all his heart and soul, given the slightest chance.

    I see David Cameron has said (of the latest sad & pointless deaths in Afghanistan) “the latest casualties are a reminder of the high price that we’ve paid as a country to help give this country a chance of safety and security in the future”. No a high price has been paid for a negative benefit, due to the stupidity of politicians. 3,209 coalition deaths in Afghanistan so far for nothing, just incubating terrorism. Not to mention the many thousands on the other side.

    1. Hope
      May 2, 2013

      You do not surround yourself with pro European clones (past and present) and declare something different is going to happen. It is called a con. Add past record of heart soul comments to stay in the EU, three line whip to prevent a referendum taking place last October, failed referendum on a promise to stop the Lisbon Treaty and make no comment for changes to the Lisbon Treaty in 2010 when he had a chance and you start to get a clear picture this is about self preservation in office and nothing about a genuine in/out EU referendum. Of course in relation to getting powers back there is the added problem he gave away powers when he did not have to ie EU arrest warrant which allows people to be arrested for offences that do not exist in this country. Yet through ECHR Cameron can not deport suspected terrorists contrary to the will of the. People and parliament and he can stop people coming here to claim benefits, we were told last week the EU will make it easier.

    2. Dan H.
      May 2, 2013

      I think that what we’ll see in 2015 is a sufficiently significant swing to UKIP to clobber the Tory votes, and welcome in a Labour government; Cameron has comprehensively demonstrated that he’s a Europhile through and through, without the charisma or backbone to inspire anything much save apathy.

      The only possible joker in the pack is what happens when Romania and Bulgaria are permitted free travel permissions; as the UK has already been bitten once by massed polish immigration, I would like to think that whatever acronym controls immigration might have learned a lesson and be ready to apply the letter of EU law on the matter.

      Shorn of Europhile leftie bias, the actual letter of EU law on this is explicit: workers are permitted free travel, freeloaders and criminals aren’t. Any reasonably able government department ought therefore to be able (especially as the UK is an island) to deport foreign non-workers quite freely; as both these states are officially “safe states” asylum claims ought to be immediately dismissed as bogus.

      So, either they step up to the challenge or most of Middle England gets seriously annoyed and, with a certain Australian press baron cheering them on, defect en masse to UKIP. At this point I would hazard that Cameron’s political career might take something of a nosedive.

  4. alan jutson
    May 2, 2013

    Yes please

    To have any chance of getting a next term Mr Cameron SIMPLY HAS TO START THE PROCESS IN THIS PARLIAMENT WITH A REFERENDUM, to show people he is serious about his proposed long distance, sometime, maybe, never, promises for a further term.

    It is to your credit, and a few others (very few being vocal) that you have been, and are still pushing forward with your arguments for a big change with the EU.

    1. Hope
      May 2, 2013


      1. Hope
        May 2, 2013

        Treat elections as if it were a referendum on in/out of the EU. If you want out of the EU vote UKIP, if you want to stay in vote for the other three. Simple.

    2. David Price
      May 3, 2013

      This is the key point, commitment must demonstrated by action and result, not mere words. There needs to be a referendum with a clear and honest choice before the next election. The result would then provide a clearer basis for the GE and be less damaging for the country than yet another coalition that flops around and does little of value.

      Even better if the Libdems and Labour block such a process as they will be seen to be doing so. A Labour government or one further involving Libdems would be disasterous for the country and economy.

  5. Sue
    May 2, 2013

    You know very well they will not renegotiate. The only platform where you will get that is called Article 50. Invoking that, will oblige them to renegotiate and they’ll know it’s meant in earnest and so will we. Cameron is no longer trusted.

    1. lifelogic
      May 2, 2013

      Indeed any negotiation (especially with someone so wet and lefty as Cameron) will be along the lines of what PR ruse can we use to make the UK vote for it this time and how shall we present it before moving ground after the vote. Something like John Major’s pathetic Subsidiarity “promise” perhaps?

    2. Ken Adams
      May 2, 2013

      Sue; Cameron cannot use article 50 he wants to stay in, article 50 sets in motion negotiations to leave, exactly what Cameron does not want.

      1. Denis Cooper
        May 3, 2013

        Correct; and if a member state had given notice that it intended to leave the EU but then it changed its mind – most probably, because of a change of its government – then the best it could hope for would be that all the other member states would allow it to rescind its notice and remain in the EU on the existing terms, not on any new terms which it had negotiated for after it had left.

    3. Sue Doughty
      May 2, 2013

      I think, Another Sue, that you forget at will that Vince Cable sits at the government cabinet table too.

    4. nicol sinclair
      May 2, 2013

      @Sue: I wholeheartedly agree with you. Let’s invoke Article 50 NOW.

      We were promised a referendum by Cameron’s ‘lot’ until he got in and then used weasel words to wriggle out of it. It WAS a constitution wrapped up in a ‘treaty’. How the wrigglers wriggled. And now we are stuffed unless we invoke Article 50 and negotiate a trady treaty. Then we’ll see how much the EU wants us and how much we (may not) want them.

  6. Cheshire girl
    May 2, 2013

    I look forward to this. I am certain that this is what the majority of people want. I must admit I think the government is trying to duck it, but please continue to speak on our behalf.

  7. Steve Cox
    May 2, 2013

    Good show, John. However, I read in the papers this morning that Mr. Cameron is now considering introducing legislation to ensure that a referendum on EU membership is held. In other words, he is responding to the fact that the people who should vote for his party but are instead changing to UKIP don’t believe him when he gives his personal promise that there will be a referendum in 2017. (There are less diplomatic ways to express this, but being a courteous sort I won’t use them.) That’s quite an admission on Mr. Cameron’s part, and, as with Mr. Osborne telling the Bank of England recently not to prioritise financial stability over short term growth, it reeks of desperation. I think he’s once again misjudged matters, as UKIP is no longer a single issue party. Polls show that most people who intend voting for it are more concerned about immigration than about the EU specifically. I’m sure that after 5 years of ZIRP, high inflation and QE, many people whose main concern is sound money and a decent return on savings will also be turning their backs on a government and party that has failed them so badly.

    Reply: No, he is working out his written answer to John Baron and 100 Conservative MPs who have asked him to legislate now for a referendum.

    1. lifelogic
      May 2, 2013

      He is perhaps too busy thinking about his next job, working for the EU perhaps after May 2015 to reply? If he does reply it will be a carefully worded, get lost or jam tomorrow with escape clauses, ones assumes.

    2. Denis Cooper
      May 2, 2013

      I thought David Cameron had already given his answer to John Baron by allowing the latter’s Bill to die the death last Thursday.

      First of all the second reading was going to be on March 1st, after a time that got changed to April 26th, Parliament was prorogued on April 25th and now it’s:

      “The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress.”

      Yesterday evening the Telegraph was reporting:

      “However, sources confirmed Mr Cameron is looking at whether the Conservatives could still bring forward new laws from the backbenches.”

      which of course is exactly what Mr Baron did on February 6th; today the Telegraph is reporting that Cameron would bring forward a Bill, but in the past, JR, you’ve said that the LibDems wouldn’t allow it to be a government Bill as it wasn’t part of coalition policy, and therefore civil servants would refuse to work on it.

      Clearly this is just another attempt by Cameron to lead people by the nose for his electioneering purposes; there is no sincerity behind what he says and does, just a degree of habitual dishonesty and deceit which most of us would find unacceptable in any of our personal relationships.

    3. Normandee
      May 2, 2013

      He cannot move a motion for Referendum because the one he promised has already been ditched for this year as was pointed out yesterday. Also as regards this statement
      “any action I take next week is not a belated response to any improvement in the UKIP vote that some are forecasting.”
      It’s good to know an MP is not swayed by public opinion, who knows what could result.

    4. Mike
      May 2, 2013

      Yes John, because they don’t believe him either!!

  8. Andy Baxter
    May 2, 2013

    John John John…

    You CANNOT ‘renegotiate’ with the EU whilst a member of such. We are locked in and have to do as we are told like good little schoolchildren or we will be punished. Acquis communautaire is very real as are the various treaties we are signatories to (which we weren’t asked about either by the way!)


    The ONLY way we can ‘renegotiate’ with the EU is:

    a) give notice to leave via article 50 of The Lisbon Treaty, the EU is then treaty and legally bound to ‘renegotiate’
    b) join EFTA so that trade with the EU is still maintained
    c) take our time to ‘renegotiate’ via EFTA and/or bi-lateral agreements such as Switzerland does

    for an intelligent well educated man and a politician of some considerable experience I am left wondering WHY you continue to push this ‘renegotiation’ meme when you MUST KNOW full well given your political experience that such is not possible with the EU?


    Reply There is no majority in the Commmon to exit. If we get a referendum on the results of a renegotiation, and if there has been no real renegotiation, then I assume the British people will vote for out. I votede No in 1975 so I do get fed up withy this kind of misplaced and absurd criticism. You need to ask yourself why 20 years after UKIP started there is still no UKIP MP.

    1. Nick
      May 2, 2013

      And if they don’t allow entry to the EUFTA?

      Kick out our EU nationals?

    2. Mike Wilson
      May 2, 2013

      ‘ … You need to ask yourself why 20 years after UKIP started there is still no UKIP MP.’

      Errr, because new political parties don’t win success overnight. Look how long it took the Labour party to get established. And, of course, when people cast their vote Europe is not the only issue they are interested in.

      But it seems the times they are a’changing. If, as seems very likely, the Tories lose the next election and, possibly, we have a Labour/Lib Dem coalition – the Tory party really is going to fragment. Your party activists are dying off – and the energy is all within UKIP.

    3. Hope
      May 2, 2013

      The majority is through a three line whip, so literally a few people decide millions of people’s fate. The quad is currently deciding what happens in Britain. This is not a true majority it is cast vote of lemmings. Give the people a referendum, we had one on AV which was not nearly as important. Until then people ought to vote UKIP to get what they want. I see it as a referendum by another name that the three main parties will not give us.

    4. Vanessa
      May 2, 2013

      Reply to JR’s reply.
      And you have all been telling us the truth have you ? How dare you imply that the British people don’t want to leave because UKIP has no MPs. If you lot had been telling us the truth for the last 40 years we might have left a long time ago.

      UKIP is trying and beginning to succeed in getting the TRUTH out to people and look what the result is ? Don’t tell me that any of you have ever wanted to leave which is why we are never told where all our stupid laws come from (you take the blame) and how prevalent the EU control is in this country. Try telling us the truth and keeping your promises – then see how your support might grow.

      Reply I have always explained the rise and rise of EU power and condemned it – what do you think “The Death of Britain?” was all about which IO puboished a decade ago, amnd have kept up to date on this site in recent years?
      I think there may now be a voter majority to exit now, but there is no majority in Parliament for an In/Out – I and others tried for that earlier in this Parliament, so I am trying another approach to sort out the EU problem.

      1. Vanessa
        May 3, 2013

        Reply to JR
        Yes, but one MP on his own is not enough. Of course it takes a government. You might be telling the truth (or rather whispering it) but most of the laws we are getting are driven by EU directives. If you don’t tell people the truth (and sit on the media) it is hardly surprising we don’t know.
        Look at homosexual marriage – originated from Council of Europe Presidency – why didn’t you tell us this was why you had to introduce it? Marriage between a man and a woman is enshrined in our Constitutional Documents as is the succession to the throne of the “oldest son, heir to the throne” . Cameron has no right to rewrite our ancient laws and Constitution.

        Reply I regularly shout that we are substantially governed from Brussels – in the Commons and outside. Did so again today on BBC TV.

    5. ian wragg
      May 2, 2013

      What makes you think the question will be as simple as
      “do you accept the negotiated terms or do you support exiting the EU.”
      Cameroon will fix the referendum to not give an OUT option, bet on it.

    6. Nationalist
      May 2, 2013

      John, “why is there no UKIP MP?” is quite a common retort of yours. Presumably it is rhetorical – you must known the answer: UKIP are perceived as a single issue party, more of a pressure group than a party, and voters want to put into government a party which has policy across the full spectrum of public life. The structure of our political system prevents single issue groups from gaining much traction. That’s the fault of the system and does not mean the single issue is not vitally important.

    7. Ken Adams
      May 2, 2013

      Simply the Conservatives keep splitting the anti EU Vote by pretending to be anti EU and offering the voters unachievable policies such as renegotiation. Your suggestion is worse because it offers a referendum for referendum that is meaningless in any case, as Cameron has made party policy totally clear, the rest is just electioneering trying to confuse the voters with a false choice in a false referendum, all in the hope of sidelining a few fruticakes.

      By the way Mr Redwood you are posting this today because you know your party are going to loose badly and are attempting to save a few votes from UKIP by sounding Eusceptic, just like your leader in the Telegraph this morning. Good Luck with that, but I think you will find at the end of the day your party will need to really change its policies and stop pretending it has.

    8. waramess
      May 2, 2013

      Could be seen as a pretty complacent response to a legitimate comment.

      More than 50 percent of the public want OUT but more than 50 percent of MP’s want IN.

      Whether you see Cameron as having deliberately misled the electorate on Lisbon or whether he lied is neither here nor there; he is not trusted and the only place for Eurosceptics to go is UKIP. Frankly the only place for windmillskeptics to go is UKIP likewise big government, money printing etc.

      This is the penalty for the misplaced policy of going for the centre ground; you lose your core voter and gain only a share of the centre.

      So far UKIP have no MP and given the voting structure it may be some time before they gain a strategic hold in the Commons but there will be a watershed which will finally break the Conservatives.

      Now is not the time to be complacent; now is the time to be proactive and robustly defend your patch. A new leader might be the best place to start

    9. Roy Grainger
      May 2, 2013

      “You need to ask yourself why 20 years after UKIP started there is still no UKIP MP”

      Because we have a first past the post voting system. That is why we DO have UKIP MPs in the EU parliament.

    10. scottpeig
      May 2, 2013

      Reply to reply

      20 years and no MP – It is an interesting one. The votes are more evenly spread out rather than grouped, it doesn’t have trade unions all rallying around it (unlike Labour), it is also not an amalgamation of all “right-of-centre” parties (unlike Labour which was amalgamation of lefts) and so far, there has been no split in the current Conservative party (unlike the liberal split which helped Labour in 1924).

      What you need to ask yourself is why they are on the rise? Given that it used to be a one-issue party, it has started to rise based on policies that the Conservatives used to stand on, and so Cameron’s idea that UKIP can be stifled with referendums is no longer available. While I doubt the hard work put in by you and your colleagues, you cannot (in my opinion) ignore the rise of UKIP having an effect on your leader. After all, its been a long time coming, and only starts going with UKIPs rise.

      You shouldn’t worry too much about the flak you get, as you are one of the “old guard” who deserves to be elected (I’d vote for you for instance). Not happy with your front bench colleagues though!

    11. uanime5
      May 2, 2013

      I wouldn’t recommend c) as it will mean that the UK would be unable to trade with the EU, which will harm the UK far more than the EU.

      Also the EEA is composed of countries that are bound by EU law but aren’t members of the EU; while the EFTA is the EEA plus Switzerland, which has a bi-lateral agreement.

      1. zorro
        May 2, 2013

        Oh yes, and the EU would suddenly say ‘oh, we cannot engage in any trade with the UK or sell them any of our goods’……. I can just imagine the Germans agreeing to that……LOL…….You should be a stand up comedian.


        1. sjb
          May 3, 2013

          Option c) – which is now about 8 x PageUp’s distant – referred to EFTA and bilateral agreements so I think unanime5’s response needs to be read in that context. I don’t think he meant that trade between, say, Germany and the UK would be prohibited!

          He may have had in mind something like (former PM) Harold Macmillan’s attempted negotiation at a free trade area within what was then the EEC; the ‘Six’ rejected the proposal.

          After UKIP’s remarkable result in Thursday’s elections perhaps Cameron will present his proposals in this area so that we may see what reception they receive from the other 27* member states.

          * Croatia becomes the 28th state of the EU in two months.

      2. Denis Cooper
        May 3, 2013

        One, two, three, four factual errors in one short comment.

        1. Edward2
          May 3, 2013

          Indeed Denis,
          Uni has been told many times that these particular facts are wrong but continues to state them.
          It is an irritating feature of many left wing people that they are quite prepared to repeatedly use incorrect facts and figures when trying to make a point.
          Its as if they feel the ends justify the means.

        2. zorro
          May 3, 2013

          You must admit that he/she shows exceptional talent in this field (brevity of error).


    12. Steven Granger
      May 2, 2013

      Andy Baxter (like many others) has set out why he thinks the EU will not renegotiate. It has been made clear to Cameron by the leaders of France and Germany that they will not renegotiate the treaties. As Andy says, you must know (a) that the renegotiation idea is meaningless and isn’t going to happen and (b) that Cameron is not sincere in his attempt to follow through with it – his only intention is to offer renegotation as a fudge and delaying tactic to suppress calls for a full exit. Instead of getting yourself worked up about the “absurd” criticism, please write intelligently and with critical reasoning why you think people like me and Andy Baxter are wrong. What leads you to think the renegotiation will be effective despite all the evidence to the contrary? What observations have you made of Cameron that lead you to think he is sincere and determined to succeed? Can you explain why, when Cameron was asked on a visit to Europe recently whether, if the electorate voted to pull out of the EU, he would follow through and leave, he said he wouldn’t (i.e. he would presumably simply ignore the referendum result)? I won’t be holding my breath to hear from you on this. You don’t really have an explanation otherwise we would have heard it. It is you that is “absurd.”

      1. David Price
        May 3, 2013

        But Andy Baxter hasn’t explained why, he simply pointed to a webpage and suggested that France and Germany will refuse. That is not an explanation, particularly as the web page referenced includes the statement “The acquis is dynamic, constantly developing as the Community evolves, and fundamental.”. This suggests to me it is open to change and (re)negotiation, of course it depends on the other parties but that would be the case in any agreement. Obviously our negotiators would need some leverage over the EU side regardless of if we were in an article 50 situation or not, what do you suggest that leverage should be?

        Yours and UKIPs, position appears to be that the only good outcome is for the UK to be completely out, however that may not be the view of the majority of people. Wouldn’t you agree that we need the best outcome and that requires a thoroughly transparent and objective assessment of the pro’s and cons? Where is that objective assessment which any critical reasoning would require?

        Wouldn’t a reasonable starting point be to try renegotiation if it maximised the chance of getting the best outcome?

        1. Andy Baxter
          May 3, 2013


          put the kettle on relax and take a long hard look at what the European Union is and how it functions: there is a mass of evidence out there all on the web that unequivocally points to the creation of a Supranational political entity basically undemocratic and unaccountable in its workings that seeks to dominate and control and order the loves of hundreds of millions of people.

          It homogenises (gender age equality directives) it hollows out the core of the national institutions of countries who are stupid enough to enter it (witness the neutering of our own Parliament which is supposed to be the supreme legislator within our own constitution, witness the salami slice approach to ever greater ever more intrusive control of our judiciary, law and order, legislation et al and it taxes and spends the wealth of private people to fund its voracious appetite.

          Its like the Terminator, it can’t be reasoned with, it can’t be bargained with and it absolutely will not stop until we are subsumed to the collective

          1. David Price
            May 6, 2013

            Don’t think for one second I want us to remain in the EU.

            The issue UKIP or anyone has to get the right response in a referendum is to convince those who either don’t think we should leave, don’t understand what we stand to gain and lose or simply haven’t thought about it.

            You have to convince people you have a solution and it must be a sustainable conviction otherwise the inevitable hardships will enable the EUphilics to get us back in under even worse terms. UKIP have only highlighted the problems.

            You need real arguments and policies of substance not threats of bogey men or character assassination of corrupt individuals in the EU.

    13. Alan
      May 2, 2013

      Now, if we had proportional representation ?

    14. margaret brandreth-j
      May 2, 2013

      John , you ought to know that CV’s are only relevant for the last 10 years and anything which happened pre 2003 is not of interest to anyone. Experience and steadfastness can be tossed away as though they never happened. This is the way this country has worked for a long time . Ten years or more ago means it didn’t exist.

    15. Andy Baxter
      May 3, 2013

      thank you for the reply, much appreciated.

      I think you miss my point John:

      lets get some facts clear first.

      I am not a member of UKIP
      I have never voted UKIP
      think Farage is an eloquent and articulate speaker and not afraid to voice real concerns but on substance of actual policy he and UKIP leave a lot to be desired.

      my critique is not ‘absurd’ nor is it ‘misplaced’
      it is totally valid as I and YOU boht know that once a member of the EU ‘renegotiation’ will not and cannot be allowed as it is alien and an anathema to the whole rationale and raison d’etre to the project as a whole.

      for you to even suggest let alone advocate that ‘renegotiation’ is plausible and offer either tacit or acquiescent support to a party leader who claims such is disingenuous at best or a downright falsehood at worst.

      I was not old enough to vote in 1975 and I commend your principle back then, its just a shame that you have not maintained such by continuing to advocate a policy (renegotiation) that I and you both know will never work!

      Reply I advocated a referendum to allow people to vote for out and voted for one. I am trying to find a way to a new relationship with the EU to get us out of being governned by Europe, given the continued election of many federalists to Parliament. I find it very frustrating that I get so little support from people who should be encouraging me. Have you read my books and speeches, which make quite clear I do not wish to be governed by the EU? If you are right and the EU refuses to offer us a relationship based on trade and political co-operation then I would hope the people will vote to come out in the In/Out referendum which follows the renegotiation. I do not believe the British people are about to vote for a Parliament that simply demands withdrawal – they certainly did not in 2010, and have still not elected a single UKIP MP running on that ticket.

      1. Andy Baxter
        May 3, 2013


        yes I accept your principled stand on being against membership of the EU.

        and your voting record in the House would suggest that you don’t just talk the walk you walk the walk:



        my point is specific regarding ‘renegotiation’ with the EU that is simply impossible and would never ever be acknowledged or accepted by the EU.

        For the benefit of readers who perhaps do not understand how the EU works I perhaps should summarise

        The Commission is the EXECUTIVE arm of the EU what we would recognise as ‘the government’ in effect. wholly unelected and members of which are appointed without any say by the electorate. It is interesting that whilst we have an executive (government) for the majority part made up of members of the legislative (Parliament) who are elected it contradicts the principle of separation of powers and means that members on the greasy pole are advanced at the whim of one man the PM or ‘leaned on’ (is that the correct phrase by the whips office if not on message? but I digress.

        The EU Parliament is the LEGISLATIVE arm and is democratically elected.

        The Judicial arm is the European Court of Justice.

        The Council of the EU is made up of the relevant national ministers of each member state and voting in such operates on what is known as QMV Qualified Majority Voting.

        For Cameron to suggest that he has a ‘veto’ in such a meeting or that he can obtain a mandate for ‘renegotiation’ via this route when in practical terms given the nature of QMV and how hard such a move would be is disingenuous behaviour of the highest order!

        The Commission starting to pervade national level meetings and it is interesting to note something of particular interest I came across recently which was the foreign ministers meeting at the recent G8 summit:


        see the first photo on the left hand side: now admittedly it might have taken me a lot of work and study to even try to understand calculus and I failed miserably on this section of my mathematics O level but even simple algebra was not beyond me!

        why are there 9 people in the photo for a G8 summit?

        simples the Commission is a legal and political entity in its own right now and is flexing its muscles.

        my point is this and I would welcome a candid acknowledgement of such:

        The EU is a political construct: its avowed aim is political and financial union ergo control of national governments via a supranational construct.

        It will not cede any power (competency) once acquired, it will not renegotiate on such power once ceded by a member state and will enforce its power via the judicial arm and tighten its grip on such power under the competencies via ever more legislation and directives that member states are treaty bound to enact and enforce.

        So ‘renegotiation’ is not an option, it never will be whilst we are a member of the EU. our only salvation (for now) is a parliament stuffed with MP’s who will vote in favour (mandated via a referendum or not) of withdrawal via article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

        the EU then and only then is legally and treaty bound to ‘renegotiate’ our terms of continued competencies it once claimed as its own.

        and for the doomsayers out there who say trade will cease that is nonsense, day 1 after notice under article 50 nothing changes we will still be part of EFTA we will still be bound by all EU legislation and directives that have been implemented since 1973-4 the only difference is that we will be able to unpick over a period of time what we don’t want and renegotiate via EFTA as Norway does or bi-lateral agreements such as Switzerland does!

        there is no other way. its simples its obvious so why do you keep saying we can ‘renegotiate’ without invoking article 50?

        Reply You look at its legal architecture. Sometimes you need to look at the politics. If a UK government says it intends to renegotiate and give the UK people a vote on whether to come out I think the rest of the EU will negotiate – just as they do when Germany says she needs a new Fiscal Treaty to sort out the Eurozone. If I am wrong about this then the renegotiation only takes a week-end, and we move straight to the referendum which presumably results in a public demand to quit and we then invoke Article 50 or just send them a letter. The EU does not yet have a standing army in our country and will not send an Armada!

        1. Andy Baxter
          May 4, 2013

          The EU’s legal architecture gives it its political power.

          And as the photo above illustrates so aptly, the EU considers itself an equal if not superior player on the global stage. yes nation states are part of the construct but watch out for the flexing of muscles of the various institutions of the EU (the parliament, the commission the judiciary) all seeking to dominate not only against each other but also nation states.

          you are right that the EU does not have a standing army or armada but it wont be long John before it does, and we’ll have bene the ones stupid enough to pay for it all.

          Its all part of the Acquis Communautaire…

          look at how our own armed forces have been hollowed out, requiring more and more co-operation with other EU member states, less and less reliance and co-operation with NATO (and not just EU led but USA led too) as the US focuses on foreign policy in the Pacific (Korea China et al) as a priority.

          Hell even our Royal Navy once the most feared and respected military force on and in the history of the planet (essential to protect global trade as we are still reliant on safe effective sea lanes for such) is nothing more than a token force and yes we may be building aircraft carriers but to be reliant on French aircraft to fly from them is so obviously an EU move towards an EU military capability.

          Even William Hague our supposed Foreign Secretary is becoming subordinate to the emerging EU foreign affairs bureau under Ashton so that very soon we will have no means to either;

          dictate our own foreign policy in our own interests, it will be EU foreign policy that will make our own subservient to its needs and probaby will not be in our interests


          even if we wanted to pursue a foreign policy of our own where military force was required as a last resort (any would be aggressor will always think ‘what’s the worst they can do?’) if diplomacy failed we would not have the means to do so with a RN neutered by reliance on other EU member states military materiel (think French aircraft on a RN carrier) who may not want to or refuse to support us.

          its salami slicing on a relentless scale and it will continue until we give notice to leave.

          keep on being ‘rebel’ it will win you more support than toeing the whip line

  9. Paul
    May 2, 2013

    Just like majority of Tory Westminster MPs – you still don’t get it.

    The British people want OUT.

    1. Nick
      May 2, 2013

      Quite. No democratic mandate for any of their policies.

      1. If you ignore manifesto or promises made to get elected you have no mandate

      e.g John Redwood’s promise to publish the debt numbers for pensions.

      2. If you do things not in the manifesto – you have no mandate.

      Reply I did publish numbers for you.

    2. behindthefrogs
      May 2, 2013

      The majority of British people would rather stay in an EU that has solved its economic problems and improved our position within it. It is only those who don’t understand and are blind to the benefits who want out.

      1. zorro
        May 2, 2013

        It ain’t gonna happen…..


      2. dave
        May 2, 2013

        you call giving them £53 million a day is a benefit

    3. Richard1
      May 2, 2013

      You may be right or wrong – public opinion moves on the issue, and past polls have suggested you are wrong, the majority of British people want to stay in, albeit on a re-negotiated basis. In any event, that is something which can only be tested in a referendum. There will only be a referendum if there is a majority Tory Govt after the next election. Therefore, if you really want out I hope you aren’t thinking of voting UKIP?

    4. nicol sinclair
      May 2, 2013

      Who says that the British people want out? That will only be tested following a referendum that follows a REAL debate on the subject. BTW, I also want out but I am democratic about it…

  10. Old Albion
    May 2, 2013

    ‘Ang on a minute John.
    You want a referendum on a mandate then a referendum on in/out? We haven’t had a referendum on the ‘common market’ ‘EEC’ ‘EU’ for nearly forty years. Now you want two. Some hope!
    Do you have any comment on the suggestion that the Bill to give effect to David Cameron’s Cast Iron Guarantee™ for an EU referendum – the one that he says we’ll have in 2017 if he wins the next election – has been quietly dropped.

    1. Denis Cooper
      May 3, 2013

      It wasn’t allowed any time in the Commons to progress beyond its First Reading on February 6th, even though at that point March 1st was the date set for its Second Reading.

  11. Ben Kelly
    May 2, 2013

    Mr Redwood, your Parliamentary party is (conveniently for the most part) hamstrung from introducing this legislation by your coalition partners. The majority in your Parliamentary party believe the rhetoric about huge numbers of jobs being dependant upon the benefits of the single market and how we punch above our weight internationally by being part of a collective.

    You would do better by succinctly refuting this scaremongering by easily and oft repeated soundbite so that they cease to be perceived wisdom in the mainstream. Once the fear factor is removed the argument against the move to federalism which remains at the heart of the European project will be easier to win. Legislation to ask the populace what they think without countering trite fear inducing soundbites and spurious data is not guaranteed to succeed.

    Reply A majority of Conservatives do not believe the 3m jobs scare. I did coin a soundbite to deal with it – I regularly say “Our trade is not at risk. Germany will still want to sell us her BMWs and Mercedes”. Others also regularly use this soundbite – you could try it too. Why do people like you have to constantly snipe at me, rather than at the federalists who are the problem?

    1. Ben Kelly
      May 3, 2013

      Reply to reply

      I did not intend to snipe rather than to add constructive comment. There are 10 rebels out of more than 200 so a majority fall or the rhetoric. “Our trade is not at risk. Germany will still want to sell us her BMWs and Mercedes”, while I do use it, does not have the same impact as “bedroom tax” or “tax cut for millionaires” which are incorrect but cutting.

      We on the Eurosceptic side of the debate suffer form the lack of attention by the masses and so need to home the message better than at present. UKIP’s showing last night was as much about the perceived establishment as about immigration and Europe.

      Keep up the good work – I am a supporter.

      Reply Thnak you. I did invent the “don’t abolish the pound” as the reply to “we must join the Euro”, and the “Joining the Euro is like sharing a bank account with the neighbours”

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    May 2, 2013

    JR: “I am posting this today to remind readers that I have been pushing for this for some time, and that any action I take next week is not a belated response to any improvement in the UKIP vote that some are forecasting.”
    Shouldn’t this read ‘I am posting this today because it is polling day and my leader is belatedly trying to persuade voters whom he has antagonised not to vote UKIP – a party whose name he cannot allow to pass his lips’? Sorry, I warned you before, you have left it too late and many people aren’t listening to your leader any more.

  13. Leslie Singleton
    May 2, 2013

    By all means press on, John, and the best of British luck to you, but I rate your chances as a good working definition of zero. Thank God that after today we should not have to abide for a while with irrelevant repetitions about UKIP’s lack so far of an MP. I listened to Cameron yesterday and while he did his usual good salesman’s job I got ever so fed up with his talk about his manfully facing and taking the difficult decisions and all that. He has invented crazy decisions, indeed one that verges on blasphemy, and then got them wrong, this while ducking or procrastinating on the important decisions.

  14. The PrangWizard
    May 2, 2013

    The Times is reporting this morning that Cameron is hinting at an in/out referendum before the general election. He said something yesterday on the radio it would seem. Please note he said it the day before the local elections today.
    Does anyone believe him? Should anyone believe him? Of course bloody not. Who says the Tories are not in a ‘muck sweat’.

    I’ve just voted for UKIP. I am not a UKIPer, but my English Democrats party doesn’t have a candidate where I am. We want out of the EU just as much as UKIP and an English parliament.

    Now we wait. What will be said when there is a UKIP MP?

  15. Richard1
    May 2, 2013

    Do you think a ‘Yes’ in such a referendum (with the inevitable splits in the debate) would enhance the chances of an overall Conservative majority in 2015? If so I would support it. If not its either a waste of time or a bad idea. Only if there is a Conservative majority in the Commons in 2015 will there be any attempt at re-negotiation (or any in-out referendum). A mandate ‘Yes’ will be irrelevant if there is a Labour Govt or any coalition involving the LibDems. Every initiative should be tested against whether it makes a Conservative victory more likely or not.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      May 3, 2013

      Richard1–It’s not quite as bad as that (bad in the sense of having to rely on the Conservatives) by which I mean that if UKIP do as well as they seem to be doing you can be certain that Labour will change its tune on the idea of a referendum and then all bets are off. Early results for UKIP, pushing Conservatives in to 3rd place and Liberals in to 7th in South Shields, are perfectly splendid with 24% of the vote I think. Bear in mind what is involved here, for amid all the sucking of teeth we are merely talking about asking, repeat asking, the people. The only reason we have not had too many referenda in the past is that holding them was nigh on impossible but in these high tech days I see not the slightest reason to have MP’s at all. I for one care not one jot for what most of them say any more.

      Reply The depressing thing about the South Shields vote is that more than haldf those voting support Labour, the party that signed away our right to self government at Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, against the votes and voice of the Conservative oppositon as well as against UKIP voices at the time.

      1. Richard1
        May 3, 2013

        I don’t believe there will ever be a referendum if there is a Labour Govt & certainly not if there’s any coalition including the LibDems. They may promise it – but they did on the Lisbon treaty. I think the Conservatives will offer a referendum and stick to the promise. I also think there is a good chance of a vote to stay in if there is a successful renegotiation & if the European economy is by then recovering (too big IFs admittedly…)

      2. Leslie Singleton
        May 3, 2013

        Comment on Reply–One cannot have everything but 1) The result is hardly a surprise in such a Labour heartland 2) Labour majority well down 3) (Sorry!) Conservatives given another “message” 3) Liberals where they belong with the Monster Raving Loonies, so overall another encouraging result for you know whom–and this apart from the Council elections.

  16. English Pensioner
    May 2, 2013

    If the present Tories, led by Cameron “negotiate”, I can see them coming back with some deal like Blair achieved when he gave up some of our rebate in exchange fo an agreement from the French that they would “consider” changing their agricultural subsidies.
    Cameron would manage something similar. The EU would agree to “reconsider” our terms of membership, but like the French actually do nothing, and Cameron would claim this to be a great success and urge us to stay in the EU.
    The reason UKIP is seemingly doing so well is that people no longer believe those politicians who are leading the to main parties, whereas Farrage does give the impression of being honest and speaking the truth. This is the Tory/Labour problem, so many lies have been told in the past that no one believes them any more.

  17. Vanessa
    May 2, 2013

    No, we do NOT want a renegotiation to bring back some cosmetic “powers” from Brussels. We want to leave this heavy corpse which is shackled to our success ! The Lisbon Treaty virtually forbids any “competencies” going back to countries of origin (member states). Tell this indecisive leader of yours to get real and take us out. Membershing was and is totally illegal against our Constitution (see Inglorious Revolution) as you all swear an Oath to keep this country’s laws etc safe and NOT to hand us over to a foreign power. What are you doing ??

    1. Denis Cooper
      May 3, 2013

      Actually exactly the opposite is true about the effect of the Treaty of Lisbon to amend the EU treaties, through which this new sentence was inserted into Article 48 TEU on the procedures for amending the treaties:

      “These proposals may, inter alia, serve either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties.”

      And that was even highlighted by a Declaration of the EU governments attached to the Treaty of Lisbon.

      So at least in theory treaty amendments could reduce the competences of the EU.

  18. Acorn
    May 2, 2013

    Talking about mandates and referendums JR. Do we still have an Electoral Modernisation Minister, Michael Wills used to do it? We did lots of trial runs on electronic voting which I don’t think came to anything any where near proper phone voting. The Opt2Vote system passed all the government security checks if I remember correctly. We could do a, one council tax bill / one phone number / one vote set up quite easily I would think; for a mandate lite. Could be good fun.

    Do you want to get out of the EU altogether then negotiate trade etc agreements then Press 1.
    Want to renegotiate trade etc while retaining membership then press 2.
    Want to do 2 above then do 1 above if 2 turns out to be a bummer then press 3.

  19. Anthem
    May 2, 2013

    Good luck Mr Redwood.

    Personally, I would rather try to negotiate with a pit of snakes.

    The EU know what they want and they know where they are heading and I, for one, do not trust them one bit.

    The very fact that we have to negotiate with them in order to agree on a trading relationship is enough reason for me to what to turn 180 degrees and run like hell.

    This is the poison that Margaret Thatcher fought so bravely and so hard for so long to eradicate. The fact that she was hoodwinked into letting them get a toe in the door which has since allowed them to grow to what they have now become should tell you all you need to know about these people.

    When a body is exerting its will on a people that neither asked for it, wants it or voted for it then we have a borderline dictatorship.

    Dictators generally don’t “do” negotiation.

    Can you or anyone else point me towards the compelling argument FOR EU membership that has kept us on this obvious road to ruin for the last twenty years?

    Why, when it is quite obvious to most that we are being damaged as a country by our participation, are our leaders so reluctant to at least give us the chance to get out of it?

    EU Membership isn’t a side issue such as “gay marriages” – it is arguably the single largest threat to our country since WWII and I simply cannot believe that we, the people, are left impotent as it stomps its way to its communist wet-dream.

  20. margaret brandreth-j
    May 2, 2013

    I have noticed that many commentors do not think there is any chance of renegotiation. For them it is in or out and not initial compromise will do .Who really understands Merkel et al the most ?

  21. Acorn
    May 2, 2013

    For those seeking a mandate for independence in Scotland, it is worth a read of Prof Wray posting at New Economic Perspectives today about the Euro Zone:-

    “So, how’s that Euro thingy working out? Not so good. And it won’t get better. The problem was never one of profligate Mediterraneans with lax fiscal policy. No Euro nation should ever have run chronic deficits of any size; none should have run up any significant debt ratio. By design, these are not sovereign countries in the currency sense—they abandoned their own sovereign currencies years ago in favor of a foreign currency. And like any nation that gives up its sovereign currency, every one of them lost the ability to run chronic budget deficits.

    What is a bit surprising is that it lasted as long as it did. Part of the answer is that financial institutions run amuck were able to bubble up economies for quite a while—just as they did in the USA. Further, there was the “confidence” fairy—a belief by markets that if the you-know-what hits the fan, the ECB will violate its mandate and bail-out. Finally, there is the rather high probability that creditors were fools —unable to understand the difference between a sovereign currency issuer and a government that uses a foreign currency.”

  22. grassmarket
    May 2, 2013

    Why do you need permission to do your job? It’s like a football manager getting the fans to pick the team on the Internet.

    Reply The purpose is to show the rest of the EU that they are dealing with the British people, not just with one political party.

  23. Electro-Kevin
    May 2, 2013

    The UKIP manifesto seems remarkably similar to the one that the Tories SHOULD have.

    So why would any true Conservative politician need to ‘respond’ to it ? Are you sure you’re in the right party ?

    1. Electro-Kevin
      May 2, 2013

      Today was the first time I’ve ever voted other than Conservative.

      “But a vote for UKIP is a vote for Labour.”

      How else am I to register my inclinations ?

      “Labour will ruin us.”

      Better a catastrophic ending than the never ending catastrophe that the Conservatives offer us. They really are part of the problem and not the solution.

      1. David Price
        May 3, 2013

        How else to register inclination? For a few years I was a member of the CP, I stopped being one after the Camerons stupidity with the Libdems and u-turns.

        But I won’t join or vote UKIP as I don’t like some of their policies, particularly on pensions and taxes. I certainly won’t vote for a party whose intention is “Better a catastrophic ending than the never ending catastrophe that the Conservatives offer us. ”

        This is the attitude that concerns me most about UKIP, particularly where some vocal supporters who press it but have clearly done a bunk from the UK and probably won’t be affected by such an outcome.

        It suggests to me that certain factions in UKIP clearly don’t have the UK’s best interests at heart and I don’t really know what they have achieved for us as MEPs anyway.

  24. Roy Grainger
    May 2, 2013

    I can’t see any point at all in you pushing for a mandate referendum other than to cover your own positioning as a detached member of the Conservatives who supports all UKIPs policies. The LibDems wouldn’t support it, neither would the Ken Clarke faction, neither would Cameron and (by extension) any cabinet minister – your assertion that you could win a vote on it defies all logic. I also don’t believe the public would support it, it would just be regarded as a costly exercise in playing politics with no real choice being presented – an In/Out referendum is the only option which would be supported.

  25. ralphmalph
    May 2, 2013

    First of John I thank you for your efforts over the years on the EU issue.

    Why no UKIP MP after 20 years – in my mind the simple answer is that the three main parties were successful in neutering UKIP by promising referendums on the Lisbon treaty, we thought we were going to have our say, only to be let down.

    This is why we are in the position we are today with it seems a fairly large chunk of the public distrustful of politicians and there “promises” on Europe.

    I can not see any reason for a referendum on “do we renegotiate” one because Mr Cameron has said he is going to renegotiate anyway, so why have a referendum, it may send a signal to the EU elite that the people of Britain want to renegotiate but public opinion polls and sending Eurosceptic MEPS to Brussels does that anyway.

    As highlighted by other posters the current state of affairs means that the EU elites have no interest in renegotiating with us. They will just stall and stall and stall and this means Mr Cameron (if re-elected) can delay and delay the proposed Referendun in 2017 because negotiations are moving forward and with just a bit more effort we will get what we want trust us people of the UK.

    This is why nothing you do apart from setting a date in stone for an in/out referendum, that is secured by legislation will be believed by the core vote of your party and the majority of the country.

    We know that the Cameron strategy to gain re-election is to dangle a you may get a referendum in 2017 depending on the negotiations, but we are not having it, we do not trust him.

    I would also go so far as to say that if you want to win the next referendum you need to invoke article 50. Say we want to trade with Europe so we are only going to pay pro rata whay CH pays. Close the borders to all Europeans and say they need visas to work and they can not access welfare for 5 years (including working tax credits, child benefit), refuse to implement any new EU regulations until negotiations are agreed and signed.

    At a stroke the position of power in the negotiations goes straight to the UK, the EU would have to negotiate and we could say Non, Non, Non and they would have to bend.

    It would kill the we would lose 50% of our trade overnight argument because nothing would change on trade.

    Lastly because the British people would see a party acting in their interests for once I would predict you would soar in the poles, regain peoples trust and support because you are on their side and win the next election.

    Will it happen, of course not.

  26. Gary
    May 2, 2013

    In/Out was always daft. It is not that simple. There are massive economic advantages being in a trade union and a currency union. Not least , the latter would mean an end to QE and that is a step in the right direction.

    1. Denis Cooper
      May 3, 2013

      Why makes you so sure that a currency union would mean an end to QE?

      The US has a currency union and has been openly practising QE, while there are questions about whether the ECB has also been practising QE on the sly.

      What we do know is that we joined the euro then we would have no veto and so we could end up with QE whether or not we wanted it.

      As some Germans are now belatedly realising, the ECB Governing Council takes its decisions by majority voting, so even if the Bundesbank representative opposes the proposal that the ECB should buy bonds issued by the governments of distressed eurozone states he has no veto and can be outvoted, potentially landing German taxpayers with a massive bill.

      This is from May 2010, just after the first illegal bailout of Greece had been agreed:


      “Trichet Indicates ECB Decision to Buy Bonds Wasn’t Backed by All Members”

      “European Central Bank President Jean- Claude Trichet indicated the bank’s decision to buy government and private bonds wasn’t supported by all 22 Governing Council members.

      “On some of the decisions there was unanimity, I won’t give details, and on some there was an overwhelming majority,” Trichet said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today in Basel, Switzerland. “On bond purchases we had an overwhelming majority.”

      So while:

      “ECB council member Axel Weber said today that purchases of sovereign debt pose “significant risks” and that he’s “critical” of that aspect of the central bank’s contribution.”

      there was nothing that he could do to stop it because the EU treaties including the ECB statute say that ECB decisions shall be taken by majority voting, and he was outvoted.

      Now the German constitutional court is looking into this, and in its submission to the court the Bundesbank has said that the ECB bond purchases contravene the German constitution:


      But so what?

      Even if the German court dares to agree that ECB bond purchases are illegal under the German constitution, the ECB is an EU institution, not a German institution under the jurisdiction of the German court; the final arbiter on the legality or illegality of ECB actions is the EU’s ECJ, not the German court; and if the ECJ declared that the ECB bond purchases were legal under the EU treaties and laws then it would probably end up with the Germans having to change their national constitution to make them legal under German law – “pacta sunt servanda”, as Schauble told the Greeks last year.

      1. margaret brandreth-j
        May 3, 2013

        and this potential ruling of the superiority of the European judicial system versus the national judicial system is worrying many here although when the truth here in the UK had been twisted against myself and one side of an argument whose main purpose was to score points by ‘ bringing me down’ was pushed through without my own voice in defence of the truth ,it was European ruling which helped greatly. I thank Europe that I wasn’t allowed to be steam rollered

  27. Kenneth
    May 2, 2013

    At the risk of teaching granny to suck eggs, it seems you that you need two main ingredients to give your initiative some support:

    1. Media coverage
    2. Some cross party support, including some that do not have MPs

    I’m sure your know this very well already, but, for what it’s worth, I wonder if one of your ports of call should be Bill Cash and the European Scrutiny Committee.

    The committee has recently been taking evidence from the BBC and David Keighley from Newswatch whose group has done some detailed study of coverage of European matters on the BBC. His evidence appears to show that proper scrutiny of eu matters has been woefully poor.

    I think the BBC owes coverage of your initiative to its listeners, viewers and readers as it may go some way to redress the historical bias.

    I also think that the Labour members of the European Scrutiny Committee may be supportive of your ideas as long as they concentrate on the lack of democracy and our loss of sovereignty rather than left-right issues. They may be able to muster other Labour supporters.

    You may also consider pulling in the support of political parties which have no MPs such as, dare I say, UKIP, and some other organisations; dare I say the leader of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers.

    It would be great if a broad base of politicians and activists could follow up with supportive comments. The BBC routinely ignores comments from the Right but will feel more obliged to cover the story if people from the Left are chiming in.

    Reply Mr Cash, the Chairman of the Committee, does support it and is making the case for it.

  28. Peter Davies
    May 2, 2013

    The ball has to start rolling and this would be a start. Politicians at the top of all parties need to e reminded that they have to act in accordance with the will of their constituents.

    This needs to go through the Commons and if the EU block this then it has to be Article 50.

    No point pussy footing around, they need to get on with it.

  29. Bob
    May 2, 2013

    Latest news on the United Kingdom Membership of the European Union (Referendum) Bill 2012-13
    The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress.


  30. Denis Cooper
    May 2, 2013

    JR, you and a few other Tories have indeed been pressing for a mandate referendum, and before the general election not afterwards, and you should be praised for that not unfairly criticised.

    However Cameron hasn’t been swayed by your arguments, and is now only 24 months to the general election; even if such a Bill was included in the Queen’s Speech on May 8th and somehow got through the Commons there is a high probability that the Labour and LibDem peers would then seek to block it in the Lords, whatever their party leaders said in public; then if Cameron insisted it would be the delay of about thirteen months before the Lords could be by-passed under the Parliament Acts, which would take us to the summer of 2014 at the very earliest, and guess what is happening in September 2014?

    A referendum in Scotland on whether the country should revert to being an independent sovereign state rather than a part of the United Kingdom; so given that, where would you see a UK-wide referendum on the EU fitting in?

    I’m afraid that I’m inclined to agree with this headline in the New Statesman today:


    “Losing an EU referendum vote in parliament is part of the Tory plan”

    and that would the same whether it was a Bill for a mandate referendum before the general election, or a Bill ostensibly to ensure that we had some kind of referendum after the general election.

    The latter being the poisoned bait that Cameron is holding out to voters today, in a desperate attempt to stem the rise of UKIP, while quietly ignoring the Bill for that very purpose which John Baron introduced on February 6th, and which Cameron allowed to die the death last Thursday without it having got beyond its first reading:


    “United Kingdom Membership of the European Union (Referendum) Bill”

    I recall that when Mr Baron introduced that Bill he named March 1st for the Second Reading:


    and indeed that date was initially put on Parliament’s website until it was changed to April 26th, a day when MPs were not expected to be sitting because Parliament was due to be prorogued the day before.

  31. Sue Doughty
    May 2, 2013

    UKIP are still saying on social media that you are a eurofederalist! I wish there was something you could do about that

  32. Elliot Kane
    May 2, 2013

    We know you and about 100 other Conservative MPs are Eurosceptics, John, don’t worry. You’ve always been very consistent on that point.

    The question mark, for me at least, lies over the other Tory MPs and what they will do.

  33. Chris
    May 2, 2013

    As one of your MPs memorably said in the H of C, MPs are way behind the curve of public opinion with regard to the EU, and I believe this is true with your idea of pushing for a mandate referendum to renegotiate. I think it has been abundantly clear for some time that a significant and growing proportion of the electorate want to dissociate themselves from the EU, replacing membership with a new trading arrangement (something that would require leaving the EU first). The problem is that MPs have chosen not to heed that call, and are denying us the offer of a new trading relationship in any proposed referendum. Instead Cameron has offered the possibility of a referendum on powers renegotiated, and now there is your offer of a mandate referendum.

    The Cameron option is an impossibility, as any significant renegotiation would threaten the very foundation of the EU and as such that will not be permitted by the other members of the EU. The first is also flawed option as it fundamentally misunderstands the very deep feeling in the electorate against simply attempting to tinker with some areas of EU control. I believe the electorate wants more than that, and has done for some time.

    The Redwood option does not meet the desire of so many in the electorate to establish a new trading relationship with the EU. It simply kicks the can down the road timewise and we do not have the luxury of time. You are simply asking the electorate to give their approval to a tiny step forward down a winding side road along which the electorate is not going. I would suggest that the electorate is ahead of you, and has taken the motorway route – straight and fast – towards a much more radical solution.

    I have no wish to be disrespectful in writing this, but I, like so very many, am very exasperated by the gulf between MPs and the electorate. As you yourself say, eurosceptics are in a minority in the H of C, and although you have commented that you believe that the majority of Cons MPs are Eurosceptic, that is not how the public perceives them, having viewed their actions rather than their words. I think the brutal fact is that the majority of Cons MPs are not what the public would call eurosceptic, and although they may criticise some aspects of the EU they are not prepared in any way to work towards a new trading relationship with the EU. In that, I think they are a long way behind the electorate, as Bernard Jenkin stated so bluntly.

    Reply The step I propose is a major one – the referendum asks the UK voters to say they want a new relationship based on trade and political co-operation, not on common government and Lisbon.

  34. Javin
    May 2, 2013

    Voted UKIP today. First time not conservative. Very simple. The EU is in an economic death spiral. You would have to be nutty as a fruitcake to not want out… And I’ve worked on trading floors for the past 25 years. The EU maths just doesn’t add up. It’s a death spiral. I honestly think the liblabcon politicians don’t see how bad it really is. There is no way out of their debts. The EU parallels the old soviet economic breakdown. Best to leave on our terms and don’t get dragged down to a watery grave.

  35. b
    May 2, 2013

    I suggest the prerequisite number of MPs should arrange a motion of ” No Confidence ” in David Cameron as the best approach . I cannot trust him and I don’t believe the majority of the members of the Conservative Party do . I have just read a copy of his letter of reply to Nirj Deva who had acquainted him with the outcome of his survey of 28,815 members stating that 91% agreed that EU policy damages the City of London , 88% said that our relationship with the EU was damaging British Trade and 74% said that our relationship with the EU was damaging to the Commonwealth ; 69% said they wished to leave the EU now . Cameron’s reply was ” bland ” according to a friend of mine . Need more be said ?

  36. Tony Houghton
    May 2, 2013

    I agree with those above who say there is little chance of Cameron getting any useful renegotiation so it may be difficult to get the mandate for a referendum on a non-deal. I understand what you want is a mandate on a deal with the EU to act as a lever for Cameron to deliver on his statement – rather than promise – of an in/out referendum in 2017. The mandate plan has to be viable to get the right vote numbers in the Commons, does it not?

  37. Bert Young
    May 2, 2013

    The above was posted by Bert Young .

  38. Paul
    May 2, 2013

    I’m in favour of any referendum that would allow the British people to show how much they loathe the EU. The idea of Cameron giving the people a Mandate referendum though is laughable. This is a man who will fight with ”all my heart and all my soul” for a vote to stay in the EU and had to be forced to offer an in-out referendum in the first place. I understand the difficulties MP’s like yourself JR who want out of the EU have in working with this overwhelmingly pro-EU parliament and appreciate your efforts. However, for me and a growing number of people it is UKIP that is the way forward, not just on the EU issue but also on virtually every other major issue. The problem is Cameron. We don’t believe a word he says, we want him out and a real Conservative leader to take over.

  39. zorro
    May 2, 2013

    John, Of course you are not jumping on the band wagon, that is Monsieur Cameron’s speciality…… I wonder if his latest pronouncement at this exact time has anything to do with potential UKIP voting intentions…..


  40. Monty
    May 2, 2013

    Thanks for your attention to the mandate referendum. Please keep going.

  41. adams
    May 2, 2013

    The Con party is dead and not worth resuscitation . Plan your retirement John .

    Reply Is that the same party as the one which has just won control of 5 out of the 7 Councils declared so far, and more seats than the other parties combined?

  42. Anthem
    May 2, 2013

    I really can’t see why we can’t get out of the EU and THEN negotiate a trade agreement.

    Are we to believe that the EU does not trade with countries outside the EU? Pull the other one.

    Reply Because we are way off a majority in Parliament to vote out of the EU, and the electorate in their wisdom have just elected another federalist in South Shields to replace the one we had before.

  43. Martyn G
    May 2, 2013

    I went to vote this evening and to my astonishment, noted that on the reverse of every ballot paper is a printer serial number that identifies who you are and, of course, subesequently how you voted.

    I know not whom, how or when that information might or will be used but in my view, the secret vote is dead in the water. How you vote is now known to ‘the system’.

    Previously, on getting one’s ballot paper, the clerk would pencil in a number to identify one which, for those like me suspicious of the reasons for doing so, could be erased if so prepared to do so. Now, however, the ballot paper identifies one and that, my friends, is the end of the secret vote. Which raises the question, why?

  44. Chris S
    May 3, 2013

    John, I know you have suggested this before and it is a clever and subtle idea and you are also in a better position than me to judge that this is the only referendum vote that you could get through the Commons.

    Unfortunately it won’t be understood in the country and it will likely be counter-productive as UKIP will use it to “prove” that David Cameron is ducking and diving because he really doesn’t want an In/Out referendum.

    It would be better to call the bluff of the LibDems and Labour ( and a few of your fellow Conservatives) by tabling a bill for the In/Out referendum, even if it’s ultimately voted down.

    It needs to be a proper Government bill as well. UKIP will use the same argument if it’s introduced via the private member’s route.

    As a result of this exercise, It’s possible that some local Conservative Associations will de-select current MPs who vote against the bill and replace them with a Eurosceptic before 2015.

    Given the 26% achieved by UKIP introducing a proper enabling referendum bill is the only chance, however slim, of halting the march of UKIP before 2015 and avoiding the need to do a deal with the party. Grant Shapps at least appears to be acknowledging that changes are going to be needed. Not before time.

    In my view the Euro elections are already lost : UKIP will sweep the board. I only hope that our outstanding Conservative MEPS like Dan Hannan can survive the onslaught.

    1. Denis Cooper
      May 3, 2013

      There would nothing wrong with it being a Private Members’ Bill, for whichever purpose, provided that somehow it could be given Parliamentary time to progress through all stages in both Houses rather than being given a first reading in the Commons and then being left to wither and die, which is what happened with the Bill introduced by John Baron on February 6th.

      A small proportion of Private Members’ Bills are allowed the time to progress and become Acts, sometimes very important Acts.

      The wikipedia entry:


      makes the interesting point that the concept of a Private Members’ Bill only applies in countries with a parliamentary system, where most members of the government are drawn from parliament and they start almost all of the Bills that get passed, whereas in the US the executive is separated from the legislature, and so members of the government cannot start Bills and they must all be started by members of the legislature.

  45. David Langley
    May 3, 2013

    I thought you would be keen to see what Hague is coming up with regarding his review of competencies and then his plan to ask the EU if we could opt out of those that we dont like?
    Based on that Cameron was going to decide when he won the next election if we should get cracking on a referendum to decide on an in/out vote. This seems to conflict somewhat with the first point.
    Lets face it John you are screwed by Cameron and his wild and woolly procrastination.
    We will never ever get a mandate for anything out of Cameron until he is truly on his last legs and then it will be too late.
    UKIP have exactly the right policies and with our will to maintain and grow our ability to fight elections local and national and particularily EU there are some exciting times ahead.
    It is probably too late for you John to affect the UKIP race to the top now and it is possible that in a few years time you will be saying to Cameron et al, “I told you so”.
    There will be some hiccups no doubt with a young party, but if we stick to our last and ensure control and discipline in our dealings private and public, show mercy to those coming out of the dark places, there is no doubt we can have a confident future for our children. Hurrah for UKIP.

  46. Lindsay McDougall
    May 3, 2013

    ” ……………………… if all Conservatives vote for it ………………”. There’s the rub. If it’s something that pro-European MPs will vote for, it is of little use. If it specifies the need to repeal our Acts of Accession to the Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties, the pro-European Conservatives won’t vote for it. These four treaties are federal treaties; as far as the UK is concerned, they’ve got to go.

  47. Eddie Allen
    May 3, 2013

    I’d just like to wish you well Mr Redwood.

    You have a battle on your hands within the party but I hope you manage to pull it off for the sake of the country.

    I’d just like to add that I find many of the comments here to be most unfair to you. As far as I’m aware you have remained consistent in your views that Britain remains a sovereign country with a parliament passing laws with mandate from the electorate here and not from Brussels.

  48. barry lewis
    May 19, 2013

    I am still waiting for a member of the “get out of Europe brigade” to say what, realisitic , alternatives they propose. Oh yes get out of the EU and renegotiate new markets with the European countries, be real. Out Of Europe and what influence we have is gone, particularly with those world wide countries not in the EU. The commonwealth doesn’t want us out nor does the US.
    Why jump ship and renegotiate, better to stay on board and do it while we still have some influence.
    We must really think this through and cut out the knee jerk reaction of the blind leading the blind over a cliff, with no parachute..

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