The Mandate referendum – link from article in Sunday Times

The Ancien regime of the EU is far from popular. Today we see the full extent of the UK electors protest over the EU’s actions. Voters are fed up with the UK having too little control over its own borders, annoyed that we have to pay benefits according to the whims of the European Court, angry that we cannot extradite whom we wish, livid at the EU’s dear energy policy and frustrated at the ever growing burden of regulation that hits motorists, small business people, savers and many others.

It follows large votes for non mainstream parties in Euroland, where the damage being done by the EU is considerably greater. There high and rising unemployment and endless tax rises and austerity packages courtesy of the EU are adding to the misery.

Some in the mainstream media and parties take comfort from phrases like “it is a protest vote”, it “wasn’t mainly about Europe”, “it’s what you expect mid term”. They would be wise to think again. It is a sign that European government now has too many tentacles. More voters now wish to express anger at just how much power was transferred from UK democracy to EU bureaucracy by the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties without a referendum, as they see the results of the UK not even being able to control its own borders, welfare and criminal justice system. That is why all the mainstream parties are suffering.

Labour lost votes to UKIP in South Shields, and the Lib Dems lost votes everywhere, as well as the Conservatives suffering substantial defections of their voters to UKIP. The first mainstream party to grasp the significance of this mood and to offer a solution to the complex web of issues that have upset so many people will do the nation a service and make itself more likely to win the 2015 General Election.

Mr Cameron has so far come the closest to understanding it, when he made his excellent Bloomberg speech. For the first time a UK Prime Minister has made it UK policy to negotiate a new relationship with the EU. For the first time since 1975 a PM has said we will need a referendum giving people the chance to vote to leave the EU if the new relationship secured is not to their liking. Welcome though this is, it does not however go far enough. The voters have passed their judgement on it and other matters and said they want more, faster.

So what can he do, given the constraints of Coalition? One thing UKIP supporters refuse to accept is that the UK voters chose an EU federalist inclined Parliament in 2010. It may well be the case that such thought was not uppermost in their mind when they voted, but that was the result of all the combined choices. It certainly means that in 2010 voters were not primarily concerned to change our relationship with the EU. It is only more recently that the extent of the EU’s powers and the damage of its policies has come to preoccupy more voters minds. It is because neither Labour nor the Lib Dems will vote for a referendum or for a renegotiation at the moment that Mr Cameron has had to promise to do all this if he wins the next General Election.

Today there is a new mood which will affect Labour as well as the Conservatives. Sensible Labour representatives have already said UKIP voting is an issue for them as well. I think in this new climate Parliament could approve an immediate referendum on the issue of whether the government should go to Brussels and negotiate a new much looser relationship where we are not governed by Europe. I would support a Bill which allowed us to ask the public “Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on free trade and political co-operation?”

It may be that the Lib Dems, a principled pro EU party, would wish to oppose even this. So be it. The Conservatives could launch it from the backbenches, as long as Conservative Ministers could vote for it, and vote for the time it needs to pass it. In this climate I would be amazed if the Labour party wished to oppose it, given the mood of the country and the urgency of the issues involved.

Some say, why do we need to do this? Isn’t it clear that the UK public want the government to do this. The answer is sadly “No”, it is not clear enough to politicians. That is why they have not done this so far. More importantly, assuming it is the will of the big majority of the UK voters that we need a different relationship with the EU, our Prime Minister armed with such a mandate would be taken much more seriously in Brussels when demanding change.

UKIP will doubtless complain that this is not the same as an IN/Out referendum now. They will say this is delay or obfuscation. On the contrary. It is a necessary process the country has to go on. In or out of the current EU, we need trade arrangements, pipeline agreements, interconnector deals, transport permissions, extradition treaties and the rest. It all takes negotiation.

They will also say that the EU will not negotiate a new deal for the UK. I say if the Prime Minister had the backing of the UK people for such a task, they would have to. If by any chance UKIP were right and they still would not negotiate, then it would presumably result in the UK voters voting to leave the EU in the subsequent referendum on the non deal negotiated.

This will not appeal to the purists in UKIP who just think Parliament should vote to leave the EU immediately. I have to tell them we are still a very long way off that day. After all, the bottom line in South Shields was another federalist MP was returned to this federalist Parliament. We need to settle the matter of Europe now, for the sake of our liberty and prosperity. The Mandate referendum harnesses the energy and anger of the UK electors positively to that task.


Published in conjunction with a shorter version of this piece in  The Sunday Times 3 Thomas More Square

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  1. Elliot Kane
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    “Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on free trade and political co-operation?”

    I think ‘political co-operation’ is a bit too open-ended honestly, John. If you were to ask a lot of the Europhiles, I’m sure they would say that’s what we have right now. I’d prefer something like:

    “Do you want Britain’s relationship with the EU to be free trade only?”

    That’s what I want – and I suspect that’s what the majority of other Brits want, too.

    Keeping it as simple as possible not only makes the will of the people clear, but also gives the Europhile leadership of the three main parties no wiggle room.

    Reply political co-operation is needed for things like Extradition agreements, overfly rights etc but is based on mutual consent, not on majority votes.

    • Ken Adams
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      But the question does not state what political co-operation means, it might be what you say, it could equally mean a continuation of the present arrangement.

      You really must begin to understand that we just do not trust our own government any more, we remember Heath`s essential sovereignty we remember Cameron`s Cast Iron Promise. When you have a leader who has nailed his colors to the mast beware of the weasel words, political co-operation can mean anything not just limited to your interpretation.

      Reply The current system is not one of political co-operation. It is one of common government with majority votes, under a rigid and Court enforced constitution.

      • zorro
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply- John, the question would have to be very clear what ‘political co-operation’ means, and what it does not mean, and how it radically differs from the present arrangements.


        Reply It would be defined in the referendum debate and the renegotiation. Then we all get to vote on whether we like the result or not, so don’t worry so much.

        • zorro
          Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:16 am | Permalink

          By the way, that ‘political cooperation’ sounds a bit like the position of a ‘Greater Switzerland’, and you know how the glorious leader is unable to deal/contemplate that issue……


          • JimF
            Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

            Ipso facto this negotiation to political co-operation won’t happen under Cameron’s leadership. Mr Redwood has written out a sequence which the bit players involved will be unable to contemplate undertaking.
            The obvious conclusion is that a change of leadership is needed, but that itself is a step too far for Eurosceptic Conservatives. Hence the only way is UKIP. Back to square 1.

      • Ken Adams
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        So you are saying the courts would decide later what political co-operation means. as we will still be in the EU would that not be the ECJ?

        Reply NO I AM NOT SAYING THAT. For heaven’s sake, try to udnerstand what I am seeking to do here. I reject the whole current Treaty and ECJ architecture for the UK, that is the whole point of the proposal. I want my democratic country back.

        • Ken Adams
          Posted May 5, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          Sorry but as I said we do not trust our government under Cameron, Political Co-operation can be taken to mean anything.

          I understand your position I just do not understand why someone holding you views would put something so lax in the question.

          Reply To win! The public have the lock on the door, as if the government negotiates a poor deal the public will vote out of the whole thing.

          • Graham C
            Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps if you spearheaded an educational programme to let the voters know just how much the EU interferes in daily life then the pro Europeans would not be able to get away with general misleading replies.

            This would also illustrate that you, and your 100 colleagues, were constructively working towards an ‘out’ decision.

            reply I do! I regularly point out here and in the Commons just how much power the EU now wields.

          • matthu
            Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps John, you could try to explain how “political cooperation” differs from the sort of cooperation we already have with, say, the USA and whether the mandate would mean the same if we simply asked “Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on free trade and co-operation?”

            reply I have no problem with that.It would get debated when Parliament considered the Bill.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      I would say that Britain’s massive trade deficit with the EU is a powerful bargaining chip. If they want to export to us, we want political cooperation where it suits us, where our own parliament is supreme, without the EU diktat. We don’t need it. We seemed to do ok for hundreds of years before accession, so it’s not as if we are totally new to self-government.


    • Elliot Kane
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink


      When we have been lied to so often, over so many generations, by our own politicians in support of their Europhilia; where they are prepared to take the blame for EU laws rather than pointing the finger at the true cause; where all three parties have promised referenda, then voted against having one on a three line whip – can you honestly blame us if we don’t trust them an inch and want a question that cannot possibly be reinterpreted to suit the Europhile agenda? Something with no wiggle room, no possibility of back sliding and no way out?

      If other politicians were as honest as you, I’d be happy with your question. But the number who are genuinely trustworthy when it comes to the EU is vanishingly small, and includes none of the leadership of any of the three main parties.

      Lies, half-truths and misinformation is the stock in trade of the Europhile politician, from Heath and his ‘this won’t affect sovereignty’ onwards. They always put the EU before Britain and they are not to be trusted.

      So the simpler the question the better.

      reply The aim of the qestion is to find something say 80% agree with to maximise the impact. The important vote for you comes later, when we vote on In/Out

      • Elliot Kane
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure two referenda are really needed, John, honestly.

        David Cameron has committed himself to re-negotiate Britain’s position in the EU regardless. He may consider a referendum such as you suggest to be too restricting of his options, though.

        Nick Clegg wants to stay in the EU on current terms (If not worse) and probably favours full political and economic union.

        Ed Miliband… well, no-one is quite sure, but his instinctive rejection of a referendum means he is almost certainly a Europhile, if perhaps not so committed as Clegg.

        If the Tories win the next election, Cameron will move to negotiate. Miliband, if he wins, will simply claim any referendum made in the last parliament is not binding on his new government. Clegg wll work to undermine the whole thing if he is part of a new coalition, whichever side he is in coalition with.

        It doesn’t seem to be very hard for many politicians to ignore the will of the people, after all. They’ve had a lot of practise, unfortunately…

        While there are most definitely good MPs, such as yourself, on all sides of the house who genuinely do try to represent the people rather than dictate to us, I fear you are in a minority, John.

    • Hope
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      First, if Labour and the Lib Dems voted against an in out EU referendum if put before parliament before 2015, what would happen to their vote in 2015 general election? Where could they go? Your point does not have credibility.

      Second, Heseltine is introducing the EU regionalisation plan by another name-LEP- and Osborne is introducing 81 of his 89 recommendations. Does this sound like the Tory party is listening to its voters or trying another EU con?

      Third, the UK has no control of its borders nor does the UK have the right to expel/deport terrorists or criminals if it wishes. The EU decides.

      Fourth, the EU is currently trying to wreck the UK’s most vital industry-the banking sector because of its jealously of London. The EU directives on energy is wrecking and going to wreck any other form of industry which relies on energy.

      Fifth, let the MSM take Ed Davey’s suggestion and scrutinise policy. Not UKIP, but DEC and the Lib Dem wrecking energy policy which will cause devastation to industry and cause fuel poverty across the social divide and across the country. Do it soon becaus entire is running out for the lights to keep burning. Cameron claimed he could do nothing about the social engineering of the UK’s university through the appointment of Prof Ebdon. If he is correct then there is no hope with anything else or he does not have the moral fortitude to hold the office of PM. He needs to be ditched ASAP along with his pro-Eiropean clones and. Advisers, present and past.

      Reply Labour and Lib Dems were whipped to vote against an In?out referendum when I and my colleagues proposed and voted for one in this Parliament.

    • Timaction
      Posted May 6, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      The big lie has been found out by the public and the politicians just don’t know it or refuse to recognise it. We want only trade and friendship. Nothing more. No EU membership for £53 million a day! We want our country and democracy back. I don’t want to ask foreign people if we can vet or allow Eastern Europeans to come here and have all our public services for free. I had a letter from the HMRC yesterday reminding me through fear of imprisonment that I had to submit my tax assessment by certain dates. So you can give my taxes away in EU and foreign aid at £23 billions and rising! I don’t want to ask foreign courts if we can deport terrorists or criminals. I don’t want to ask foreign people if we can have our fishing grounds back and how much more I should pay for my food to subsidise foreign farmers.
      All the mainstream parties are serial liars and wont change. UKIP are our saviours!!

    • Duncan
      Posted May 8, 2013 at 5:13 am | Permalink

      Indeed – “political co-operation” obfuscates the issue and would allow “call-me-Dave” to do whatever he wants. Lets just vote on a free-trade agreement – out of the rest – and NO political union whatsoever – WHATSOEVER!

  2. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Yes, and the first thing to do is to get rid of Cameron. If that were done and the Conservatives were to appoint someone (You for instance) as leader whom UKIP and Nigel Farage could work with, the Gordian knot will have been cut. Mr Farage will not work with Cameron and I for one don’t blame him. Getting rid of Cameron, who deserves no sympathy for the enormous trouble he has single-handedly caused, is the immediate agendum, after which all rapidly becomes possible. Simply ignore the (1%, 7th place) Liberals who are plonkers and confused through and through–let them do their worst and with luck they will be permanently annihilated.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Agreed, his credibility is shattered and without his departure nothing meaningful will happen. Do the grey suits still exist?

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Nor will it happen with his departure.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted May 6, 2013 at 3:02 am | Permalink

          lifelogic–One must do what lies clearly at hand because cannot see dimly dimly at a distance to (mis)quote somebody or other and that means getting rid of Cameron voluntarily so to speak and now. His jam in five years’ time and highly conditional “promise” is a joke. No chance unless he is got rid of. From the knees down he was concrete, from the neck up he was space.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink


    • lifelogic
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Cameron is the big problem, he pretended to be an EU skeptic then ratted, gave the election away with his soft socialist, fake green, PC agenda, tax borrow and waste and now cannot be trusted on anything at all. He could not even his IHT promise even if elected with a majority. The only hope is that he is forced to see the light. A change of leader cannot really help now.

      • Duncan
        Posted May 8, 2013 at 5:19 am | Permalink

        “Call-me-Dave” is so blindly and single-mindedly married to the EU project that sometimes I wonder whether or not his strings are being controlled by some invisible – but very real – higher power ….. a banker perhaps?

    • Hope
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Spot on. Cameron needs to be ditched if the Tory party wants to survive in any form.

    • Bob
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      “But the Tory leaders have been disloyal to their rank and file, and that old, deep magic has finally failed. That is why the Tories are done for. Once loyalty is gone, it is all too easy to see that the party machine is wretched, decrepit, exhausted and broke; and to see that the party leadership is dishonest, cynical and careerist.

      I do not know how many elections it will take, but the chance will soon be here to build something much better. Let us hope we take it, for if we do not save ourselves, nobody else will do it for us.”

      Peter Hitchens

      • Duncan
        Posted May 8, 2013 at 5:22 am | Permalink

        Wise words indeed from Peter Hitchens. They might easily have come from his extra-ordinarily able brother, Christopher.

  3. Latimer Alder
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    Your article would read better with some formatting…like paragraphs.

  4. Paul
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    It’s a pity you think UKIP will automatically criticise attempts by genuine Eurosceptic MP’s like yourself to sort out our dismal relationship with the EU. As a UKIP supporter I fully support the idea of a Mandate referendum. It was good to see you on the BBC saying you hoped Cameron would say to UKIP voters we want you on board. This is what we need – eurosceptics to come together. However, don’t blame UKIP or use them as an excuse the lack of progress on the EU. It would help if the Conservative Party was led by a eurosceptic rather than a misguided college kid who believes we must be part of the EU in order to trade with it.

    • David Price
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Seems like you haven’t been reading the comments from many UKIP supporters on John’s blogs, automatic criticism alternating with wooing/abuse seems to be their stock in trade.

      I do wonder at Farage’s true motivation when he discounts any and all possibility of collaboration with Cameron, I would have thought he would be prepared to work with anyone to see an end to EU control, if that were the most important thing for UKIP. It would appear then that Farage’s leadership qualities are just as poor as Cameron’s in which case the country would be in a very bad place.

      If we do leave the EU our situation will likely be arduous for some time, we would need strong leadership that can carry the country through such a period of enconomic conflict. Farage clearly isn’t it, nor is Cameron. Or don’t you think the EU will do all it can to destroy this country if we abandon it?

      So instead of wooing/abusing our host how about explaining what you people believe should and could be done post-EU, what’s your plan? Instead of riding John’s coat tails for free exposure why not open up your own members-only forum for free debate of your post-EU plans. Demonstrate you have more than character assasination as a strategy.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        I don’t wonder about Nigel Farage’s “true motivation”.

        I often question his tactics and strategy, but not really his motivation; for over two decades he has played a leading role in a political party which is constitutionally committed to getting the UK out of the EU, and unlike one of the earlier UKIP leaders I don’t doubt that he is genuinely committed to that primary objective of the party.

        Meanwhile in contrast Cameron has spent those two decades in a party whose controlling elite still reckons that in general the EU is a jolly good thing, but it does need some “reforms”.

        Cameron may have learned something from his experience of standing behind Lamont on the pavement outside the Treasury on September 16th 1992, but he still has not learned anywhere near enough.

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          Cameron seems to have learned nothing from the ERM and the dreadful Major, Heath, Brown and Blair – nothing useful at all he just copies their follies and repeats their lunacies. With an even worse effect, than the disaster John Major, on the Tory party’s popularity.

          • Hope
            Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            To be more deceitful to keep those who John Major called “bastards” at bay perhaps.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted May 6, 2013 at 3:08 am | Permalink

            lifelogic–Yet you want to keep him as leader???

        • David Price
          Posted May 6, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

          It’s the strategy and tactics that concern me as well as the leadership ability, the willingness to work with people you might not agree with. As far as I can see it isn’t there and UKIP are intending to take us in to a storm they cannot cope with or lead us out of. There appears to be no plan or strategy, let alone tactics, to deal with the situation and the aftermath.

          You need all three plus experience in government or large corporates to manage the kind of conflict that’s coming and character assassination in the EP does not qualify.

          UKIP are proposing to take millions of people into conflict, you had better have a plan and what little I’ve seen of the UKIP manifesto gives me no confidence. Farage’s attitude that the CP no longer counts and his track record in not being able to work with people of dissimilar views suggest to me he would be a disasterous leader, just as much as Cameron has been.

      • zorro
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        I assume that Farage thinks that Cameron is a devious waste of space, so he thinks that it would be a waste of time and ultimately pointless trying to negotiate with him…. 🙂


        • Bob
          Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
          scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
          frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
          says, “Because you have my cast iron guarantee.”

          The frog says “do you think I am as stupid as you look”.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

            Afterwards, friends of the scorpion would try to explain that the frog had misunderstood him and clearly his “cast-iron guarantee” wouldn’t apply once they were in the water.

            I came across this link about Andrew Neill ripping David Lidington to shreds about that:


            “DL: No what David Cameron had said on Lisbon was that if it had not come into legal force by the General Election we would hold a referendum to decide whether the British people –

            AN: Actually his famous Sun articles where he said this he did not put that caveat in.

            DL: He had said very consistently –

            AN: He had not put the caveat in.

            DL: He and William Hague as Shadow Foreign Secretary had said very consistently that the referendum was linked to whether Lisbon has come into force or not, and when it did, when every country had ratified it and it came into force he and William Hague made very public statements to say that that matter was now closed and we would take things forwards on different –

            AN: No, we’ve been through the cuttings and nowhere did Mr Cameron make it clear that he was only talking about a situation where Lisbon hadn’t become law.”

          • zorro
            Posted May 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

            The Lidington link is a good one. I remember seeing it live on Sunday Politics……He looked extremely shifty when ‘explaining’ the position. The only bit I believed was when he said…..’Well, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I believe that Britain’s national interest lies in being a member of the EU’…..


        • David Price
          Posted May 6, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

          That may be but if the goal is important enough you at least try to work with people you disagree with. The issue is that Farage has now publically stated he doesn’t need to work with the CP at all.

          • zorro
            Posted May 6, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            He’s said that he doesn’t need to work with Cameron….He has not at all excluded negotiation with the Tory Party.


          • David Price
            Posted May 7, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

            according to a report in the Telegraph Farage has said if the CP get rid of Cameron and approach UKIP to cooperate UKIP “would consider it” as he is now more focused on building a political party which suggests his goal has shifted from getting UK out of the EU to getting in to power.

      • JimF
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Not character assassination at all, just objective arguments from a viewpoint outside the Westminster bubble. Democracy should work in this way, able to spring new ideas and new allegiances leading to new parties. We shouldn’t all be in a particular box banging on doors trying to move forward, when the way ahead is clearly blocked with more hurdles than springing free and starting again. Nobody would argue that IBM and Microsoft, say, should have a total duopoly on all computer technology as though the world stopped in 1985. Why do you argue that should be true in politics?

        • David Price
          Posted May 6, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          Farage’s experience in politics and government is the EP where most achievements appear to have been identifying corruption (full marks to him for that) but not much influence on the decisions that affect us most.

          It’s one thing to raise the alarm about a fire it’s quite another to deal with it.

      • JimF
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        Also you don’t seem to be the type to work with somebody who called you a fruitcake and closet racist. Not a recipe for a good start is it?

        • David Price
          Posted May 6, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

          I’m not and I agree purile statements from Cameron et al (backwoodsmen, turnip taliban etc) are further indications why they should not be in power., But it depends on whether they would be a means to an end and how important the end result was.

          Farage may be, is, good at alerting people to the corrupt nature of the EU and some of the reasons we should leave but he is not the right person to lead the country in the process of leaving or certainly the aftermath. Yet that is what he now appears to be wanting.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

            Well, you don’t really expect Cameron to do that, do you?

          • David Price
            Posted May 7, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

            No, I don’t think either are capable.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        ‘Or don’t you think the EU will do all it can to destroy this country if we abandon it?’

        And destroy all those EU jobs that depend on their trade with us? That mega trade deficit is a powerful lever and is worth a lot. The EU is already up **** creek with millions of people out of work. Even they might see the folly of making a bad situation worse.

        I wonder what we in the UK ever did for government before the saviour of the EU came along?

        Oh, I remember now, we had an empire the like of which the world had never seen, and gave the world much of the infrastructure to allow them to come out of the stone age. Perhaps then, we could actually teach them a thing or two about how to govern.

        I think there’s a peculiar mind-set at work here. One that hasn’t known anything other than the EU, and cannot contemplate a Britain free of it. One that is tuned to over-burdensome regulation and being told what to do by people we didn’t elect, and is frightened by the prospect of slimmer, more efficient home government without the expensive bureaucracy.

        Better out, than in I would say. Trust me.

        • David Price
          Posted May 7, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          The EU is doing it’s damndest to damage our finance sector, for example, now do you really think their would be any constraint on them if we left?

          I suspect you are misinterpreting my meaning. I was old enough to vote no in the 1975 referendum and have seen no reason to change my mind since.

          My perspective is that our civil servants and politicians have done a piss poor job of our relationship with the EU – if they had done a good job then many people in the UK probably would not want to get out. It now looks as if an equally piss poor job will also be done with our exit from the EU, unless at least a bit of planning and preparation is done, wouldn’t you say?

          My concern is that we would be setting ourselves against the EU and it’s favoured countries who have shown they are perfectly happy to break their own rules and make citizens in the weaker countries, whose governments they have broken, suffer. If we are going in to that situation we had better have a plan, we had better have leadership that stays the course and doesn’t cut and run or find an accomodation and leaves us to cope with the aftermath.

          If you have no plan how will you even deal with post article 50 negotiations? If UKIP et al can’t see that and simply continue with the “exit the EU” rhetoric, if they refuse to prepare seriously and assume things will just happen then we are going to end up in a very bad place.

          You/UKIP/EUsceptics have accepted that there needs to be a change, you now have to convince people who have not reached that decision that it won’t involve jumping from one bad situation into one which may be worse.

          Or do you advocate the kind of blackadder mindset that running at trouble faster would reduce casualities?

  5. lifelogic
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:49 am | Permalink

    “Mr Cameron has so far come the closest to understanding it, when he made his excellent Bloomberg speech.”

    Well Cameron words are alas virtually worthless, we know where is heart and soul lies.

    Anyway even from this speech we have:-

    “There are some who suggest we could turn ourselves into Norway or Switzerland – with access to the single market but outside the EU. But would that really be in our best interests?

    I admire those countries and they are friends of ours – but they are very different from us. {Indeed they are much richer and far better governed} Norway sits on the biggest energy reserves in Europe, and has a sovereign wealth fund of over 500 billion euros. And while Norway is part of the single market – and pays for the principle – it has no say at all in setting its rules: it just has to implement its directives.

    The Swiss have to negotiate access to the Single Market sector by sector. Accepting EU rules – over which they have no say – or else not getting full access to the Single Market, including in key sectors like financial services.”

    “If we left the European Union, it would be a one-way ticket, not a return.

    So we will have time for a proper, reasoned debate.

    At the end of that debate you, the British people, will decide.” – Two year after he will surely have left office a worthless promise from the ratter. (one assume he is perhaps trying to wait until the “British Electorate” are mainly from other EU countries before he takes this referendum).

    “And when the referendum comes let me say now that if we can negotiate such an arrangement, I will campaign for it with all my heart and soul.” Well the referendum won’t come with Cameron as he has ratted more than once and will surely be history in May 2015 at the latest.

    He goes on:-

    “Because I believe something very deeply. That Britain’s national interest is best served in a flexible, adaptable and open European Union and that such a European Union is best with Britain in it.”

    Where on earth is this “flexible, adaptable and open European Union”? In the speech he fails even to mention his demands, he may be good a PR and spin be he will not negotiate
    anything like this. He cannot even let us fix our own banks, have sensible energy systems or let companies decide on insurance premiums.

    We need free trade and to control our own democracy, our own legal systems, control our own borders, our own civil liberties, our own employment laws and safely laws, our own energy systems ……… Clearly we can make agreements but we need to be able to change them when they no longer suit us. Not be bound for ever in the legal chains of the suffocating EU and he would wish.

    There was some sense in the speech but from Angela Merkel “if Europe today accounts for just over 7 per cent of the world’s population, produces around 25 per cent of global GDP and has to finance 50 per cent of global social spending, then it’s obvious that it will have to work very hard to maintain its prosperity and way of life.”

    He also talks of – the defeat of “Nazism” as all the schools do now for PC reasons – I though we had been fighting Germany and their National Socialist party, why not say so.

    Cameron will have great difficulty getting out of the from the huge zero credibility hole he has dug for himself. The serial ratter will not recover credibility with such a wet, indeed, rather a pro EU speech as this. This “flexible, adaptable and open European Union” simply does not exist we have a new undemocratic, uncontrolled, ungovernable, tax borrow and waste, over regulated, bureaucrat let, power hungry, socialist superstate in the making. “Flexible, adaptable and open” what planet is Cameron on?

    • zorro
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Indeed, his comments on ‘Greater Switzerland’ clearly do not resonate with any positively differing definition he might have about ‘political cooperation’ compared to the current EU arrangements…..


    • zorro
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Well Cast Elastic’s grasp of 20th century history has proved to be rather shaky over time. Let us hope that he does not think the EU defeated Nazism……. I wonder if he knows what the Nazis planned for European Economic Union…….–EU.html


      • zorro
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        It’s not that controversial a link John….


    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      Yes the quicker the Conservatives realise Cameron is ballot box poison the better. However he is telling the truth with regard to Norway and Switzerland (go to The Economist website for a special that they did before Xmas on the UK and the EU for further details, JR is quoted in it too)

      So if there is no chance of a deal why not think out of the box, either leave and after all the trade thing is hardly convincing when you consider it’s down to selling to Germany, the Scandinavians and Austria, the rest are basket cases. Or if you do not like some diktat or the other, like human rights court, tell them to stuff it. Is a British Prime Minister going to pushed around by the likes of Cathy Ashton? Behave like the French they were not exactly “good Europeans” when they nearly blew the whole thing part in the ’60s until they got their “Luxembourg compromise”

      • sjb
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        On 26 February you appeared to be praising Poland’s success. What on earth has turned them into a “basket case” is just ten weeks?

        • Nina Andreeva
          Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Yes a big success in comparison to what it was in 1989. However unfortunately all the fruits of its hard work will soon disappear as it cannot export its surplus labour to the western European basket cases such as France and a little later the UK. As the global economy slows down I do not think there will be many takers for its coal either. A shame really as they really deserved their success for what they had to put up with in the Twentieth century. If you wanted to score points you could have mentioned Estonia too.

      • uanime5
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        after all the trade thing is hardly convincing when you consider it’s down to selling to Germany, the Scandinavians and Austria, the rest are basket cases.

        50% of the UK’s exports go to the EU so it will be a major blow for UK companies if trade ceased. It would also be bad for these companies if the UK was subject to tariffs because we’re outside the EU.

        if you do not like some diktat or the other, like human rights court, tell them to stuff it.

        Being known as a country that abuses human rights isn’t a good way to attract investment to the UK. It will also make it harder for the UK to criticise other countries that violate human rights.

        Behave like the French they were not exactly “good Europeans” when they nearly blew the whole thing part in the ’60s until they got their “Luxembourg compromise”

        The “Luxembourg compromise” allowed member states to veto any proposed law that “threatened their national interests” and made integration harder. Unsure why you’re objecting to this.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          ‘50% of the UK’s exports go to the EU so it will be a major blow for UK companies if trade ceased. It would also be bad for these companies if the UK was subject to tariffs because we’re outside the EU.’

          Where does it say that would be likely scenario?

          I cannot count the number of times it has been said on these pages, that the EU will still want to export to us if we left, so trade would be reciprocal. I had hoped you and your ilk would be persuaded by the sound logic in that, but you still trot out the Clegg mantra, and it does you no favours.

          Another thing often quoted on these pages, is a quote from Winston Churchill – ‘He who doesn’t change his mind, doesn’t think’. What’s that saying about you then?

          And rather than just commenting on other people’s posts very late in the day, why not put your own ideas out there for scrutiny to see what a response you get?

        • Disaffected
          Posted May 6, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

          What a load of socialist scaremongering rubbish. Total drivel.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      The UK is not Norway, and nor is it Switzerland – we are:

      a) much bigger, and

      b) a net importer from other countries in the EU, not a net exporter.

      Of course the politicians in those other EU countries might say:

      “We won’t allow you to continue buying goods and services from us unless you agree to obey every detail of every rule that we decide among ourselves, even those rules which plainly have no connection at all to our trade with you, or at best have a very tenuous connection contrived by our eurofederalist supreme court.”

      They might say that, but they would be damn stupid to do so; if it is believed that they really are that stupid, why are we allowing them to decide our laws through a system of transnational majority voting in the EU institutions?

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink


        • Bazman
          Posted May 6, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          They have a large amount of their own ludicrous taxes and regulations how do you square that off with your free market no regulations fantasy? The answer is you do not.

      • uanime5
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        The leaders in other EU countries are more likely to say “you’re outside the EU so we’re going to put tariffs on your goods” and “if you don’t make your goods to EU standards you can’t sell them in the EU”.

        Also all putting tariffs on EU goods will do is cause the cost of living to rise because the UK cannot suddenly go from net importer to self-sufficient.

        • Bob
          Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          “The leaders in other EU countries are more likely to say “you’re outside the EU so we’re going to put tariffs on your goods”
          Cuts both ways.

          “if you don’t make your goods to EU standards you can’t sell them in the EU”

          Stop Press! It’s normal commercial practice to make goods that conform to the requirements of your target market.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

          Unrealistic nonsense and scaremongering! Trade is a two-way street. We have a massive trade deficit with the EU, so they need us more than we need them. A bar on our exports to the EU, would invite us to do the same to goods emanating from there, and that goes for tariff barriers too. If they introduced tariff barriers, so would we, and that wouldn’t benefit anyone. Not even the EU could be so stupid as to go down that road!

          But I’ll tell you what we COULD do! We would be free to establish trade deals with whomever we choose throughout the world, without the meddlesome EU, if we were out of it. For God’s sake stop reading that lefty bilge and get real!

          • Bazman
            Posted May 6, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

            In what ways does the EU stop us from setting up deals with the rest of the world?

          • Edward2
            Posted May 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

            Baz, I’m amazed you don’t know that we in the UK have to wait for the EU to make EU wide trade deals for us.
            We are not allowed to make our own trade deals any more.

    • Hope
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Excellent life logic, excellent. Coupled with 40 U turns and failed guarantees and JR might get the general gist of what we think about Cameron. He is beyond the Brown line of not being trusted or believed. Clegg beat him to the post first, but Cameron got there in the end.

    • Bazman
      Posted May 6, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      We have our own employment laws lifelogids, one of the most lax in the industrialised worlds. As you have failed to answer many times what employment laws you presume to change and why we do not already have easy hire and fire rules why do continue to write about this in BBC tosh type way are you some sort of PPE graduate with no understanding of f the real word?

  6. Nick
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    The Ancien regime of Westminster is far from popular. Today we see the full extent of the UK electors cri de coeur over Westminster’s calumnies. Voters are fed up with having too little control over their own MPs, annoyed that they have to pay benefits according to the whims of the MPs to people who haven’t paid in and are defrauding the system, angry that they cannot have prosecuted the 52% of MPs who paid back the proceeds of their expenses crime. livid at the Westminster’s dear energy policy[1] and frustrated at the ever growing burden of regulation that hits motorists, small business people, savers and many others.


    [1] Its higher than that in the EU zone, so its all Westminster and not the EU

    You sign these things into law.

    You agreed to the EU

    You take the blame.

    Reply I voted against staying the EU – did you do the same?

    • APL
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      JR: “did you do the same?”

      I didn’t get the opportunity to vote. I have lived under a foreign quisling government all my life.

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Me too, I was too young. But I remember thinking Heath was wrong, wrong, wrong, even aged 11 to 13. Why on earth have we had to suffer Major and Cameron since? I suppose thanks to the BBC agenda setting.

    • Epigenes
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood, I do understand your reply, ” I voted against staying the EU – did you do the same? ”

      Maybe, you missed the word [in] before EU. If so, this is a disingenuous question because the only people to have voted on this matter are MPs. The only vote that electors have had was in 1975 and it was to join the EEC, a free market and nothing to do with a political organisation, the EU.

      I am intrigued by your renegotiation – how long will this take, what are the UK’s demands, who negotiates? The list is endless. It is never going to be accepted by the EU anyway – they have said as much.

      Withdraw and stop all financial contributions. The EU is bankrupt and destined for failure. The fact that you are adopting this stance beggars belief.

      Reply Yes, I meant “in” and meant I voted No to staying in in 1975 when we did have a referendum. Any cursory reading of the Treaty of Rome told you what they had in mind – and it was n ot a common market.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Not having even seen the Treaty of Rome and being not only young and trusting but also very busy with more mundane matters, I accepted what was being said by most of our politicians and almost all of the mass media and rather reluctantly voted to stay in.

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          Certainly that was being said be all the parties. Only a few were against but one could see, even as a young teenager, that Powell, Foot, Castle and Benn was on the money (on this issue) and the rest were clearly lying.

      • zorro
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply – We know that John, but it was deviously sold as a ‘common market’ and ‘pooling sovereignty’ etc etc….Hence my reticence about terms such as ‘political cooperation’ and making sure people of the ilk of Mandelson et al don’t fudge or misrepresent it. WE are on the same side, but I do not want the public conned again.


      • Bob
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        ” Any cursory reading of the Treaty of Rome told you what they had in mind – and it was not a common market. “

        Mr Redwood,
        Did the Tory Party make this absolutely clear to the electorate at the time?

        Answer: No – quite the opposite, they lied and lied and lied.

  7. Nick
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    One thing UKIP supporters refuse to accept is that the UK voters chose an EU federalist inclined Parliament in 2010. It may well be the case that such thought was not uppermost in their mind when they voted, but that was the result of all the combined choices


    And that is a major part of the problem.

    We have had no say on what laws.

    We have just had the say on which candidate selected by a handful in a selection committee propose.

    Until we get the vote on issues, you and your fellow MPs are to blame for the mess, not us.

    The EU isn’t responsible, its you. You make the law.

    Reply It’s n ot me – I voted against Nice, Amsterdam, Lisbon, and for an EU referendum.

    • Dan
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      How many times do you have to vote against your party on EU issues before you say ‘this party isn’t right for me nor my country’?

      I suspect that’s a step too far and it’s why I am beyond sceptical of all you supposed eurosceptics. Fine words don’t cut it any more!

      • Dan
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        That one too tricky to warrant a reply?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 6, 2013 at 3:15 am | Permalink

        Dan–Agreed–Nor do they butter any parsnips

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      You’ve forgotten to mention the Single European Act and Maastricht, JR.

  8. Kevin R. Lohse
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Bravo. Have you considered that 2 right-wing parties garnering over 50% of the vote would silence those who want a proportional voting system? After the initial shock, we should welcome the fact that there is another right-wing party which can appeal to those who would never vote Tory. That in-built socialist majority in the Country could disappear very quickly. Roll on 2014!

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted May 6, 2013 at 3:39 am | Permalink

      Kevin–You are absolutely spot on about some areas being unlikely ever to vote Tory (South Shields is not a bad example) whereas those same areas might well vote positively for UKIP once they take on board that their vote will not be wasted, and we must be close to that point if not already there. Those areas at present vote according to whom they hate least but with UKIP on the scene that might change. It is not rocket science to come up with a rapprochement of some kind of the right. Cameron is main obstacle to that. Do not the Conservative responses to the elections make you weep? For instance, Hague and his laughable, We are not going to change course, is particularly daft because that’s not what potential supporters want to hear and (equivocal not to say mendacious as usual) it is in any event not true and the Conservatives very certainly are trimming as we speak and will change further because they will be forced to. Of course no need to talk tendentially about “lurching” anywhere though.

  9. Ken Adams
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    I do not think you can read anything from the fact that Labour were returned in a solid labour area what should interest you is who came second.

    The problem Mr Redwood is nobody believes Cameron he can say anything he likes he has broken his promises to often to be given another chance. The reason why he cannot offer a referendum now is immaterial, in fact as you point out, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties were installed without a referendum why do we need a referendum to remove them? You also missed the Maastricht Treaty Single European Act, perhaps because these were forced through our parliament by conservatives.

    You say we chose an EU federalist inclined Parliament exactly what choice did we have you write as if there was some choice between the parties, in fact the three main parties were all EU federalist inclined.

    Actually the voters chose not to give anyone a mandate, in other words they voted a plague on all your houses. Considering the state the country was in due to Labour it beggars belief the Cameron managed not to win.

    The fact Mr Redwood that you are sitting on the Back benches make it clear Cameron dumped his core vote and began chasing the BBC, left, liberal, green gang, anyone could have told him that would not work and it has proved to be the case, time to change leaders and policies or you will be looking at another 10 years out of office and it matters not who sits in number 10 whilst we remain in the EU.

    Reply We opted out of the main point of Maastricht, the Euro. We did not opt out of the main centralising tendencies of Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      erm if I were Ed I would be very worried about the Shields result. The town itself has been gutted of its middle class and it appears most of its “respectable working class” too. Looking down from the splendid Edwardian town hall towards the main shopping area on King and Fowler streets, makes you think you are about to enter some sort of third world shanty town. The Conservatives are none existent there, the old Conservative Association building on Westoe Rd was sold off years ago. So if Ed and his millionaire brother have managed to alienate so many lumpen proletarians here to vote UKIP then there is absolutely no chance of him getting a sizeable majority.

  10. Acorn
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Not sure who your target audience is with this piece. The majority of my ward would have given up after the first sentence. They don’t use phrases like “cri de coeur over the EU’s calumnies”. Perhaps Wokingham voters all have A level English and French History. Points de néant on the C1; C2 doorsteps me thinks.

    Reply: Quite right, problem fixed.

    • forthurst
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      “Reply: Quite right, problem fixed.”

      Unfortunately, rather tepid. I don’t think JR should be discouraged from expressing his opinions using the language which most appropriately encapsulates both the literal and emotive sense of his meaning. At least he didn’t try to paraphrase ‘ancien regime’.

      According to Alexa, JR’s readership tends more toward the college educated and to both a young adult and older adult audience. I suspect that most of JR’s audience would have understood his original expression and those that did not would have been happy to use the copious free online resources available to extend their command of the English language whilst increasing their understanding of the existential threat posed by the EU to our way of life.

      • Acorn
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        If you are scripting text for political leafletting, you have to be aware of the probable reading age of your target audience. Sun readers at about (x -ed) years and Guardian readers would be nearer (y -ed) years, for instance.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      I am afraid that these tactics will not work anymore. Patronising or looking down on people would only get a like response e.g I can speak English, Urdu. Punjabi, Spanish , can You?

  11. Freeborn John
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    You cannot include the phrase ‘political co-operation’ in your referendum question. Federalists already say their superstate is only political co-operation and would take a yes vote as a mandate for ‘more Europe’. If the question is  “Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on free trade and political co-operation?” then I would vote No. The words “and political co-cooperation” must be removed.

    Reply Some people just do not want to win!

    • Duyfken
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      The same point has been made at the beginning of these comments by Elliot Kane and others (and by me in a previous thread when JR first mooted this proposal).

      One can see the need for agreements as desired on such matters as extradition, overfly rights and in countless other areas where reciprocal deals and the like can be beneficial and in many cases necessary.

      However “cooperation” can be so easily be interpreted by those of socialist and centralist persuasions to include virtually anything they wish it to mean, and you should not allow such loose terms in drafting your proposed Bill.

      How one can provide a tighter formulation I do not know but something along the lines of “… based on free trade and other ad hoc administrative agreements”.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      We don’t trust politicians with vague terms such as “political co-operation”. After all we have been told ad nauseam for 40 years that this was firstly not going to lead to a loss of sovereignty and then not going to be a United States of Europe. What happened was completely the opposite to what the politicians said and even worse they knew it was the case and continually lied to the British people.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      I think it’s a fair point, because the proposed question is too open to different interpretations of the meaning of “political co-operation” and its potential consequences, as I suspect the Electoral Commission would point out.

      For me “co-operation” would imply essentially voluntary participation, with the UK government having a veto on each and every proposal so that nothing could ever be imposed on the UK through transnational majority voting.

      Which is in fact what we were promised at the time of the 1975 referendum:

      “The Minister representing Britain can veto any proposal for a new law or a new tax if he considers it to be against British interests.”

      Which was not entirely true then, as inter alia the annual EEC budget was already decided by majority voting under the 1957 Treaty of Rome, and is rarely true now thanks to the surrender of vetoes through subsequent amending treaties starting with the Single European Act pushed by Thatcher.

      But I wouldn’t expect everybody to understand it that way, and there could be a lot of confusion about exactly what you were supporting if you voted “yes”.

      This is why I would prefer a clearer and more fundamental question about whether we want more EU integration or we’ve already had enough or more than enough; which I would state in terms of whether we want to continue with our present EU treaty commitment to a process of “ever closer union”.

      As indeed Cameron himself suggested, in his famous “Europe speech”:

      “The European Treaty commits the Member States to “lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” … We understand and respect the right of others to maintain their commitment to this goal. But for Britain – and perhaps for others – it is not the objective. And we would be much more comfortable if the Treaty specifically said so … ”

      But the last time the British people were graciously allowed to have their say through a referendum, in 1975, knowingly or not they did endorse the principle of “ever closer union” expressed in the very first line of the Common Market treaty; so before there are any attempts at negotiating a new relationship with the EU should there not be a referendum to establish whether or not they now agree with Cameron on that fundamental issue?

      In view of what he said in his speech I don’t see how Cameron could possibly object to an immediate referendum with this something like this on the ballot paper:

      “”Under the present treaties of the European Union the United Kingdom is committed to a process of “ever closer union” with the other countries in the European Union.

      Do you wish the United Kingdom to continue further with this process of “ever closer union”?”

      Wouldn’t you agree that this would be a better question?

    • forthurst
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      “The words “and political co-cooperation” must be removed.”

      Also, “free trade”; we do not want to trade freely with those who distort the market by subsidy, specifically in agricultural produce, but probably in other areas as well. Our agricultural land should be used to produce food for us without facing subsidised and unfair competition based on lower standards of animal welfare from the EU.

      As to “policial co-operation”, detente would be far enough until such time as the EU, like the Bolshevik empire before it, brought itself to economic ruin and disintegrated.

    • Chris
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: we at least want to be honest about what we want. Political cooperation is what the EU project is all about, and to opt for that to be continued is a non starter.

      After the new trading relations are established we can build up slowly areas of political cooperation of our own choosing, on our own terms, and in our own time with the individual countries in Europe that we wish to. Political cooperation should not be a central tenet of the original referendum otherwise we will get more of the same, and you certainly won’t attract any UKIP voters back to the fold.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      We feel that they should be cooperating with us and the EU believe the opposite. Some translate not listening as meaning not agreeing.

  12. MickC
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Cameron and his version of the Conservative party are now irrelevant.

    Labour will win the next election, because Cameron has alienated too much of his core vote-and it isn’t coming back.

    A Mandate referendum is meaningless, the popular mood has gone way beyond tolerating such niceties.

  13. Freeborn John
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    You voted for Cameron as leader of the Conservative party on the grounds he was “euro-sceptic” and look what he really is. If you seek a mandate for “political co-operation” then Brussels will interpret that as meaning a mandate for more Europe. Disengenious politicians like Hague will be delighted because they can sell anything as “political cooperation”. Maastricht & Lisbon were sold as mere political cooperation. Don’t expect euro-sceptics to vote for more of it. Brussels responded to the french and dutch referendum results of 2005 as the people really asking for more Europe so you be sure they would say the same thing again with your ambiguous wording. Your referendum question should explicitly ask for a mandate to “return political decision making powers from brussels” which cannot be interpreted as wanting “more Europe”.

    • Chris
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely correct, Freeborn John.

  14. colliemum
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I’m afraid there is one huge factor left out of your and any other analysis in regard to EU ‘negotiations’. Your colleague Douglas Carswell was the only one who described this on his blog a short while ago. This is the entrenched Europhile attitude across not just Whitehall but especially in Brussels which seems to be the default attitude of our top civil servants.

    It surely is one of the tasks of MPs to scrutinise Whitehall, and I am surprised that our elected representatives on local and national level seem to meekly accept the verdict of the mandarins that we can do nothing but follow EU diktats to the letter. Strangely enough, other EU countries seem to be perfectly able to disregard them, such as France when repatriating Roma immigrants living on benefits.

    I predict that as long as you all are incapable of reining in the bureaucrats, any negotiations will be long-drawn out with negligible results, leading to more and more people looking to UKIP to cut the knot, invoking § 50 of the Lisbon treaty and forcing the EU to negotiate with us rather than us going cap-in-hand to Brussels.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      France paid the Roma to leave the country, something the UK isn’t planning to do.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        Ooooooh now there’s a tempting idea! More is the pity! I can think of one group of people I would gladly see the back of, however much it costs, just as long as they don’t come back again!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        If paying certain EU citizens to leave the country is going to be effective then don’t you have to also stop them coming back to pass Go and collect another €100? And under which provision of EU law is a member state permitted to pay an EU citizen to partially surrender his fundamental right of free movement across state borders?

  15. matthu
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    What the mandate lacks is any requirement to put the result of any negotiation to the people within a specified period.

    Otherwise this simply gives the government a mandate to initiate a negotiation which could theoretically drag on for years.

  16. Duyfken
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Much as I am a supporter of your views and appreciate your good efforts as an MP in countering the EU protagonists, I am disappointed by your relentless denigration of UKIP.

    Take this example of what you have said in your article: “This will not appeal to the purists in UKIP who just think Parliament should vote to leave the EU immediately.”

    Fair comment you might say, but by including two words/items, you have slanted the statement as though UKIP members live only in an unreal ivory tower of their own (purists) and have no other thought (just) but immediate withdrawal from the EU.

    How refreshing were you to have opined: “This will not appeal to UKIP who think Parliament should vote to leave the EU immediately.”

    Would that you could be as careful in drafting a parliamentary Bill.

    Reply How absurd. My language is neutral.

    • Duyfken
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      JR, that sounds rather rude.

      • rose
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Don’t people who support UKIP like direct language, rather than euphemistic PC cliche?

        My serious question is what would UKIP do if by some chance they garnered as many votes as the Conservatives and found themselves actually governing in Coalition with an EU supporting party? Or are they expected to get an overall majority?

        Presumably they got out all their supporters on Thursday. In our ward there was a 17% turnout of the overall electorate. I would expect this figure to rise in a general election, with a great many more Liberal and Labour supporters coming out. Possibly even some Conservatives and Ecologists too.

    • Chris
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      I believe that your language is not considered to be neutral towards UKIP by some independent readers of this Diary, to whom I have flagged up your Diary. Even if you consider that it is, it is not perceived to be, and this is the problem in politics, the perception.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Being a” purist” does not carry with it associations of living in an unreal world , however “only thought” is suggestive of a people whose only purpose is to revolt against the EU membership with an extremely limited agenda. Satire will find a way though, but a purist will understand notions of ridicule and regard them as a power strike to either turn the other cheek to, or retaliate , but being objective , not feel injured.

  17. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I must admit that I immediately picked up on the looseness of the term cooperation. It is a term which solicitors and barristers love as it allows them a greater flexibility to argue for and against cases. Imagine this scenario. Should we get to a stage where not only does a referendum allow us to state our terms to the EU , but the EU accept our terms ,are we strong enough in voting power within the Eurozone to win further negotiations under the auspices of cooperation?

    Reply We would have a veto over any proposal, and would be negotiating outside the Treaties and ECJ structure.

  18. alan jutson
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    A very sensible post on many points, which reflect the views many of us have put forward in the past.

    The problem I have with all of this is Mr Cameron, who I think still does not get it.

    It was Mr Cameron who put a three line whip against the call for a referendum vote only last year.
    It is Mr Cameron who does not see the benefit of going into negotiations with the strength of a referendum behind him.
    It was Mr Cameron who thought UKIP supporters were fruitcakes.
    It is Mr Cameron who wants to delay any sort of referendum until he is NEXT in Parliament.

    Many of us have been expressing our feelings on here for years, and whilst you have agreed, and been consistant with your views on our membership, you have never in my view, been as straightforward or as open as you have today with your assessment of the mood of the Country.

    The fact is, The Conservatives, The LibDems, and The Labour Party are all in decline.
    Many other than the cast iron, never change their mindset of a lifetime voters, are rejecting their policies on almost everything.
    The new kid on the block is saying what we have all been thinking and wanting for years, and the support is growing, fast.

    If Mr Cameron is to survive, then he really does have to have a sea change of his views, and he needs to communicate them quickly.
    Only a vote in THIS PARLIAMENT, when he must publically support a referendum, is now likely to save him, and your Party.

    Talk is cheap, we need actions not words.

    But the words need to be simple, and the type of co-operation needs to be spelt out very clearly.
    You need to face facts, the people simply do not trust our politicians any more, too many weasle promises in the past, by too many of them.

    From my point of view whilst I have no problem with mutual co-operation, I would much prefer the referendum to be in or out, then Mr Cameron could really use that strength of feeling to his advantage in negotiations.
    Is Mr Cameron any good at negotiations ?
    The fact of the matter is he gave in far too quickly to the LibDems, and gave them far too much.
    He has alreadycommunicated that he wants us to remain in the EU to those he would have to negotiate with/against.

    What we really need is someone with an attitude of a successful hard nosed industrialist, who tells it like it is, and who is prepared to tough it out, and fight their corner, in short if necessary to get down and get dirty on behalf of our Country.

    Do we have anyone like this in the present Government ?

    • Bob
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      “What we really need is someone with an attitude of a successful hard nosed industrialist, who tells it like it is, and who is prepared to tough it out, and fight their corner, in short if necessary to get down and get dirty on behalf of our Country. “

      Do you think a hard nosed ex metals trader would fit the bill?

      • alan jutson
        Posted May 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink


        In simple terms yes, but he as yet does not have the power to do so. !

  19. Andyvan
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I cannot agree that Cameron is even remotely close to understanding the EU problem. He has said that he would vote to remain in the EU before he even knows what any negotiation would achieve. Agreed what he says and what he does do not usually coincide but that is even more reason not to trust him. A large part of the UKIP success is down to the fact that voters do not believe that mainstream parties will ever do what they promise and going by the last 40 years they have good cause to think that. Credibility is not achieved by talk by two faced politicos whose allegiance is never towards the country or it’s people, it is achieved by actions. If the Tory party wants to win back voters then act on what you say. Right now all we get is promises to act and excuses why it can’t be now. Not good enough.

  20. Roger Farmer
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    John, the first point I would make is that we got an EU federalist inclined parliament because two federalist inclined politicians, Cameron and Clegg, decided to get into bed together to achieve that end. The electorate were not asked or involved.
    Whatever the PM understands about Europe, the electorate see him as a closet europhile and no longer trust anything he says. They also see him as largely out of touch with their aspirations in many none european issues.
    We do not need a referendum to give the Government authority to renegotiate a new relationship with Europe. With a europhile prime minister, a euro fanatic deputy and a civil service dedicated to the euro federal project any negotiation would be a meaningless Cameron PR. exercise. They would have started months ago were they in the slightest serious.
    We want an IN/OUT referendum now, and assuming an out vote, an immediate presentation to Brussels of what we want. If you do not know what you want then leave the negotiation to Nigel who does. In my view this can only mean an EFTA type trade agreement and the promise of cooperation where it is mutually beneficial. Negotiate only when Brussels know the results of failing to negotiate. You negotiate from strength not as a humble supplicant. Margaret should have taught you that.

    • Chris
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Wholeheartedly agree with this, Roger.

  21. Electro-Kevin
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Without examining exactly how much of the votership participated in voting for a pro EU Parliament in 2010 or how (given that all parties are pro EU anyway) we were to avoid electing one I think you miss the point, Mr Redwood.

    We voted UKIP because we now know that the political establishment hates us and uses the EU as an excuse to do (or not to do) some very unpopular things. ‘Populism’ being a dirty word, in fact and Nigel Farage criticised for it.

    The EU has so much sway because the LibLabCon party want it to.

    Well done Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada. (Seriously) They have managed to highlight the truth about your party more than Nigel Farage ever could.

  22. NickW
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I cannot help feeling that UKIP and Mr Redwood actually have the same end in mind, and disagree only on how to achieve it. It is indisputable that if the UK left the EU, there would have to be bilateral discussions to establish a legal basis for trade and every other area where national co-operation between friendly countries is both desirable and essential.

    In an ideal world, it would be possible to negotiate this relationship without leaving the EU. Having renegotiation backed by a democratic mandate would certainly help this process and would help foster good relations with the European electorate and influence their voting behaviour in national elections in a favourable direction.

    There are however two very big “Buts”. There have been so many broken promises over European referendums that a Cameron promise will simply not be believed; that is a political reality. The Conservatives can only rescue themselves by immediate action.

    The second “But” is that we must never forget to include in our political calculations a detailed consideration of how our counterparties will react to our actions.

    An attempt at renegotiation will be met by a barrage of threats and propaganda and a maximum utilistaion of the EU’s “useful idiots” in this country, (Clegg and the BBC in particular; because Clegg needs a job after 2015). The EU will then offer us a few cosmetic concessions smothered in political tinsel; probably after a long delay, which many people in this country might be tempted to accept. The EU will NOT give up without a fight.

    My conclusion is that the only way of achieving our objectives is to announce our withdrawal and trigger the renegotiation process that way.

    In the meantime, we will have elections in Germany, and perhaps Italy (again) in the near future, which makes the situation fluid.

    • Chris
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Regarding ” It is indisputable that if the UK left the EU, there would have to be bilateral discussions to establish a legal basis for trade and every other area where national co-operation between friendly countries is both desirable and essential.”. You are right of course, and the establishment of new trading links is all part of the procedure apparently mapped out in Article 50, which covers leaving the EU.

  23. adams
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    lets have a referendum on whether the LibLabCon (EU) should be allowed to offer a referendum on a referendum . Alternatively vote UKIP .

  24. English Pensioner
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand why a mandate vote is necessary. Surely the Prime Minister, or whoever he delegates, can talk to any country about anything. He certainly talks with countries on other matters, why not the EU?

    Reply Not in a Coalition. We need to demonstrate to the other parties in the Commons the overwhelming popularity of this approach, and to the rest of the EU that they are dealing with the wish of a big majority of the Uk voters.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      As I understand the purpose of a mandate referendum would not be to authorise Cameron to re-negotiate, because as you say he doesn’t need that authorisation, but to set the parameters within which he must re-negotiate.

      On my preferred question about whether we wish to continue further with the process of “ever closer union”, a majority voting “no” would be equivalent to saying:

      “Go and re-negotiate, Mr Cameron, but don’t come back with any new treaty that still commits us to the unremitting, unlimited and largely uncontrollable process of “ever closer union” required by the present EU treaties.”

    • Roger Farmer
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Well there we have it. A referendum now to establish the overwhelming desire to get out of a federalist EU and establish a new relationship with them based mainly on trade. Nigel has I think demonstrated that desire in his success at the polls. Do you want the leadership approach or the focus group approach. If the coalition is an obstacle, call it’s bluff, ie. go with us or we call an election. The Lib /Dems and Labour are ignoring the desire of the people , we the Conservatives and our new partners UKIP are responding to your wishes. Were it to happen it would slaughter any opposition. One snag, not while Cameron is running the party, he has to go. All paths lead to him applying for sick leave. Unless you get a grip of events you are on the road to oblivion. It is up to you John and the other hundred or so conservative MPs to spell it out and take control.
      I want to see the Conservative party strong and leading the country out of the present dreadful mess. Nigel and those who follow him are traditional Conservatives, when you have rid yourselves of the disastrous element epitomised by Cameron you stand a fighting chance of taking the electorate with you.

    • Chris
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: I think you do not have the luxury of the time scale that is required, and the Cons will be defeated soundly in the 2014 elections, before anything is achieved in the way of deciding on a mandate referendum.

  25. Normandee
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    “UKIP will doubtless complain that this is not the same as an IN/Out referendum now. They will say this is delay or obfuscation. ”
    And they would be absolutely right, because a simple renegotiation mandate doesn’t cover the very likely event of a refusal to renegotiate, then Cameron comes back and says sorry, and we have to start all over again, demanding an in/out referendum which he will avoid and “obfuscate” about for another 5 years, then promise one after another election. Your complicity in this is disappointing.

    Reply I deeply resent the way some of you make false allegations about me and my views and conduct. I voted No in 1975. I voted for a referendum this Parliament. I am pressing for a referendum this Parliament. If part of a majority Conservative Parliament after 2015 I assure you I and my colleagues will insist on delivery of the In/Out referendum whatever the results of the renegotiaiton.

    • Normandee
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      I am, for a change , not haranguing you over this, I mean I am disappointed you don’t see this for what it is, and that is merely another delaying tactic, the “doing something without actually doing anything” syndrome too common in politics.

    • Chris
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      82 MPs are not enough. The others, if there are some, seem unwilling/not able to take the action (which is the only visible pointer to the electorate) to back up any assurances they might have given to you.

  26. Edward.
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The pro EU machine that is called the Westminster coalition – will only ever get the attention of the Brussels’ syndicate not by footling half baked Dave initiatives but through a very clear ultimatum.

    There is a way, you know this John – Britain must invoke article 50 of the Lisbon constitution treaty.

    Use the ensuing two years to force the Brussels commissars to allow for Britain to make a trade only agreement with the EU.

    Then, pose this question on the referendum ballot paper:

    IN or OUT?

    Reply We tried to secure that in this Parliament, and it does not have a majority. That is why we are trying another approach. It’s no good hectoring me about what some of you want,when it cannot be delivered by the current Parliament.

    • Ken Adams
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      As usual Mr Redwood is looking at what might be achieved politically,unfortunately from the perspective of those who want out, what might be political possible is simply not good enough.

  27. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    As someone who voted ‘No’ in the 1975 referendum you must realise that what Cameron is proposing is, far from an attempt to take the UK out of the EU, but the same cynical ruse as used by Wilson to keep us in it. Cameron said in the speech you so admire: “Because I believe something very deeply. That Britain’s national interest is best served in a flexible, adaptable and open European Union and that such a European Union is best with Britain in it. ” The Conservative party has always been a pro-EU party and still is. You know that the EU was always intended to be a political union. Frau Merkel and others continually say there must be an ever closer union. What is your answer to that? Perhaps you think that the coup d’etat has gone so far that you can do nothing but to acquiesce into a role of subvervient state to our unelected masters? I also voted ‘No’ in 1975 and don’t want to be governed by a foreign organisation called the EU. I believe that we should become an independent, self-governing country trading with the world.

    Reply I too want us to be an independent democracy with trade and other agreements with the EU that we are happy with. Getting a PM to say we need a new relationship with the EU is I think substantial progress, but as you have seen I am wanting more so the UK voters can vote for an independently governed UK. Today’s press states that Mr Cameron realises that offering us a few powers back would not persuade a majority of the UK people to vote for continued memebrship.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      “Today’s press states that Mr Cameron realises that offering us a few powers back would not persuade a majority of the UK people to vote for continued memebrship.”
      Just where in today’s press can I read that? Even if it is in there I am sorry but I don’t believe a word that Mr Cameron says except that he will do all he can to keep us in the EU whatever powers are given to Brussels.

      Reply See B Anderson in Sunday Times

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 6, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        That’s the article headlined:

        “A crisis is coming in the EU and the Tories can exploit it”

        inviting my comment that I’d heard that one before, and the crisis came and the Tories did not exploit it, and in fact some Tories said it would be wrong to try to exploit it.

  28. APL
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    JR: Voters are fed up with the UK having

    too little control over its own borders
    annoyed that we have to pay benefits according to the whims of the European Court
    angry that we cannot extradite whom we wish
    livid at the EU’s dear energy policy

    Yet, the EU doesn’t play on the doorstep.

  29. behindthefrogs
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    It seems that there are a large number of people across Europevoting for parties that have similar objectives of reducing the power of the EU. Instead of the UK doing its usual thing of putting its head in the sand and then unilaterally voting for some sort of opt out, why doesn’t it take the lead and ensure that in next years elections these parties stand in all countries with a similar manifesto.

    Instead of trying to get out, let’s form a democratic majority that can obtain the changes that we want from within the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      No EU demos, therefore no EU democracy, and I will never accept that my country should be ruled by transnational majority voting.

  30. Vanessa
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    First – the EU will not renegotiate any of its “competencies”. It is politicians pulling the wool over our eyes. All treaties go in one direction; once taken never given back. We do not have the euro because it came in once we were already a member and could have a choice.

    Second – the fact that the British people were never asked except to be lied to in 1975 about what being a member actually meant.

    Third – our ancient Constitutional Documents (Magna Carta, Bill of Rights etc.) clearly state that the British people’s freedoms and democracy should never be given away to a foreign power and all cabinet ministers swear an Oath to say they will keep our laws and freedoms under the Crown safeguarded while in office.

    Our membership and our loss of control and the EU’s ability to take Britons to a foreign court with no evidence (European Arrest Warrant) is illegal and against our ancient laws and freedoms which made this country great and why so many people want to come and live here.

    Cameron is lying because what he says to the British public about the EU to appease us is the opposite to what he is telling the EU commissioners etc. if you read the european press.

    We must leave.

    Reply And how do you intend to achieve that?

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      You seem to be confusing the European Court of Human Rights with the EU.

      We could in theory leave the ECHR which is responsible things like the European Arrest Warrant and stay in the EU.

      • Chris
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Not many people realise that the Lisbon Treaty requires that we undertake to follow the rulings of the European Court, so you can’t be a member of the EU and ignore/refuse to adopt the rulings, other than by defying terms of the Lisbon Treaty. Thus the people who say the two are not linked are, I believe, wrong.

      • uanime5
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Actually the European Arrest Warrant was created by the EU, not the ECHR. It was created so one member state could extradite someone from another member state who was accused of committing a crime.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          Because the backward nations of Europe has never got around to agreeing any extradition treaties before the EU came up with this idea, thank goodness for the EU …

          Actually you’ve missed out some crucial words, I’ll add them on for you:

          “It was created so one member state could extradite someone from another member state who was accused of committing a crime, without the previous nuisance of having to present prima facie evidence of their guilt”.

      • Ken Adams
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        We could not leave the ECHR whilst we are in the EU. The EU is responsible for the EU arrest warrant not the ECHR.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          There might be a political row if we withdrew from the jurisdiction of the Strasbourg court, but then there are all kinds of political rows to be confronted if we are to ever reassert our national sovereignty and restore our national democracy.

    • Vanessa
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Reply to JR
      I would have thought that you, as a politician, should be able to work out some way of doing that ! After all, it was politicians who made this country a member without any consent from the public.

      As you know there are those who think we need to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, although if we were to do that we are then, as a consequence, barred from all discussions and negotiations on the terms of our leaving – not an ideal situation. The EU could make its terms extremely onerous to us, although the UK as a member of WTO it would be illegal to cease trade with us.

      The other option is to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 which, if everything after this Act is illegal, maybe a cleaner way. I have no doubt it will be horrendously messy whichever way we do it and I do appreciate that there have been thousands of Treaties signed on our behalf on air space, etc. which would need to be renegotiated. Perhaps Greenland can give us some help?!!

    • uanime5
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      the fact that the British people were never asked except to be lied to in 1975 about what being a member actually meant.

      The fact that you disliked the result of this vote doesn’t make it invalid.

      our ancient Constitutional Documents (Magna Carta, Bill of Rights etc.) clearly state that the British people’s freedoms and democracy should never be given away to a foreign power and all cabinet ministers swear an Oath to say they will keep our laws and freedoms under the Crown safeguarded while in office.

      By your logic the UK would be able to join any international organisation.

      Also most of the Magna Carta and Bill of Rights are no longer in force.

      the EU’s ability to take Britons to a foreign court with no evidence (European Arrest Warrant) is illegal

      You need evidence to issue an EAW. Also it’s not illegal under EU law.

      against our ancient laws and freedoms which made this country great and why so many people want to come and live here.

      Our ancient laws sentenced people to death for stealing £10. Also if you were a serf you didn’t have many freedoms.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        ‘Also most of the Magna Carta and Bill of Rights are no longer in force.’

        Being as you lefties know so much, tell us when it was repealed, and by whom. Google it if you like. It might surprise you!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        The core of the 1688 English Bill of Rights is still on the statute book:

        It’s still the foundation of our national parliamentary democracy, not that you will care about that.

  31. NickW
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    The parameters of success or failure in renegotiation need to be cast in stone before the process is begun and enshrined in any referendum question.

    There must be no scope whatever for deception or obfuscation, either on the part of the EU or our own Europhile politicians.

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    For once uanime5 has written something which is potentially useful, suggesting on an earlier thread that Cameron could overcome opposition in the Lords by appointing more peers who would vote as he wished.

    It was that threat which induced the Lords to allow the passage of the Parliament Act in 1911, but I’m not sure that the Prime Minister still has the same degree of power to do that, and if so whether doing that would be quicker than waiting thirteen months so that a referendum Bill could be enacted without the consent of the Lords.

    Knowing how sneaky and underhand these men are it’s perfectly conceivable that Clegg and Miliband would tell their MPs not to block the referendum Bill in the Commons – “See, we are not defying the will of the people” – but at the same time quietly encourage their peers to block it in the Lords; and if that happened there would be no chance of the referendum being held as early as next May, as some Tory MPs are suggesting.

    After a delay of about thirteen months, as explained here:

    at the very earliest it would then be running straight up against the Scottish referendum on September 18th 2014.

    It would be ridiculous to have UK citizens in Scotland simultaneously voting on whether Scotland should leave the present UK and re-establish its own sovereign Parliament and government, and also on whether the government of the present UK should seek to negotiate a new treaty between the present UK and the other countries in the EU, while in the rest of the present UK the citizens would only be voting on the second question but without knowing whether Scotland would still remain a part of the UK – how confusing would that be for everyone, and especially for those voting in Scotland?

    And if it was thought that an EU mandate referendum could possibly be squeezed in after the Scottish referendum and before the onset of winter and then the start of the campaign for the general election on May 7th 2015, wouldn’t it be necessary to have two sets of provisions in the EU referendum Bill, depending on whether the vote in Scotland had been for or against independence?

    Because although Scotland would still be a part of the UK at that time even if the vote had been for independence, and so the UK citizens in Scotland would still be eligible to vote in UK-wide elections and referendums, would it not be absurd to have people who were set to leave the UK in just a few years being allowed to vote on whether the government of the rest of the UK should seek to negotiate a new treaty between the rest of the UK and other EU countries?

    • uanime5
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      For once uanime5 has written something which is potentially useful, suggesting on an earlier thread that Cameron could overcome opposition in the Lords by appointing more peers who would vote as he wished.

      Cameron appointed 122 Lords when he became Prime Minister. So the other political parties may be critical of him if he appoints too many more.

      It was that threat which induced the Lords to allow the passage of the Parliament Act in 1911, but I’m not sure that the Prime Minister still has the same degree of power to do that

      The original threat was made by King George V, back when the King appointed peers directly rather than on the advice of the Prime Minister.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        It’s a hypothetical situation, but if two parties:

        a) Agreed to allow a Bill for the people to have a say in a referendum to be passed by the elected Commons, even though they didn’t like it;

        but then

        b) Set out to block that Bill in the unelected Lords so that the people would be denied the say in a referendum that had been agreed in the Commons;

        I suggest that the people would have very little sympathy for those two parties if the Prime Minister reacted by neutralising their blocking power in the Lords through the creation more unelected peers; unfortunately it could also reinforce calls for the abolition of the Lords, a second chamber which at present is filled with unelected and unaccountable legislators-for-life.

        Read your own reference: Asquith made public that George V had been asked whether he would be willing to resolve the impasse by creating new peers and he had agreed that if necessary he would.

  33. DennisA
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    “…PM has said we will need a referendum giving people the chance to vote to leave the EU if the new relationship secured is not to their liking. ”

    The whole premise is smoke and mirrors. There will be no new unilateral relationship secured, because the others will not agree. After several years of wasted and expensive hand waving, it will be too late and the objective of political union by the EU will have been achieved. They play a very long game.

    Although the Treaty of Rome was in 1957, it was in 1943 that Jean Monnet (1888-1979) who laid the foundation for the European Economic Community, (pre-cursor of the EU), was saying, “The nations of Europe … will need larger markets … Prosperity and vital social progress will remain elusive until the nations of Europe form a federation or a ‘European entity’ which will force them into a single economic unit.”

    He had been deputy secretary general of the League of Nations in 1919, which went on to become the UN. In the 1930’s he was an investment banker with the US firm of Blair and Company, (no relation I think). The first Monnet plan, known as the Schuman Plan, produced the European Iron and Steel Community in 1951, of which he became President.

    The second Monnet plan was for a single European army, something else which never went away. Monnet believed the states of Europe should give up national self-determination and that economic integration would lead to political integration, a United States of Europe.

    That mission is as strong now as ever and year on year, more and more pieces of the jigsaw are added.

    In 1990 the EU created the Jean Monnet Project, which encourages European integration courses at universities throughout Europe. According to, (the EU online), “the term European integration studies is taken to mean the construction of the European Community and its related institutional, legal, political, economic and social developments.”

    We will not be allowed to to have our own jigsaw pieces as they will distort the final vision. There can be no modified image, therefore we have to create our own new jigsaw, the puzzle being, what picture do we want and how do we make the pieces and put them together.

  34. Major Frustration
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Given the shortcomings mentioned in the first paragraph surely they need to be resolved pdq not at the usual political pace. I suspect the voters have had enough talk and want real action now.
    Given that DC has failed over the last two three years to take account of voters feelings and has exercised such a degree of arrogance, the savage kick up the backside delivered last week by the voters, suggest that he has lost his sense of political awareness and as a PM is dead in the water – would you trust him? Well not when he has to take such a beating to prompt a response. Stand by for more weasel words by the bucket load.

  35. Douglas Carter
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, I fully support the notion of a mandate referendum, but whilst it’s early hours into that proposal, I see in newspaper reports the nature of it seems to have been fairly poorly represented by the respective press outlets, leading to a misunderstanding of its significance. Hopefully that message within the notional suggestion will be made clearer and more manifest soon.

    I’m a little suspicious of the LibDems in particular, but also with a large part of Labour’s approach to the matter of EU referendums since in the case of both parties, nacent referendums were proposed to avoid debate and push those inconvenient facets of their respective manifestoes beyond the threshold of a General Election. In the case of the AV referendum, when it became clear the vote had become lost to the ‘Yes’ faction, the senior figures behind it abandoned it frantically before the end of the campaign.

    Being that the main parties have become entitled to some limited funding via the taxpayer for some purposes, I would hope your motion towards a mandate referendum takes into account that it’s a fully legitimate parliamentary political matter, and that the opposing parties to it are effectively under an obligation to campaign on it. Thus far, Labour (mainly) and the LibDems to a lesser extent have utilised non-parliamentary figures – or non-front bench figures – to (mis)represent their respective policies on the main broadcast media. I talk of, for example, Richard Branson, or Lord Mandelson, Denis MacShane or even Tony Blair (post-Westminster) himself.

    Naturally, EU membership is resolutely a political matter and must be scrutinised by the contemporary political host. That part of that host which you find yourself in opposition to have shown, thus far, little appetite to enjoin the debate in a sincere, open manner. I would recommend, if I may, your mandate referendum proposal brings an obligation to those opposition figures to stand and fight their corner. Given wriggle room, they will attempt to escape the debate yet again.

    • Douglas Carter
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Apologies – as a post-script – with regard to some of the comments above on the matter of the term ‘Political co-operation’, I too would see this as open to abuse unless it was tightly defined. Whilst I’m aware you have replied on the matter that it will be subject to proper parliamentary debate, I just wished to associate myself with those earlier comments. It’s a matter for genuine concern.

  36. Bernard Juby
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Well argued, John – as ever BUT,
    “One thing UKIP supporters refuse to accept is that the UK voters chose an EU federalist inclined Parliament in 2010.”
    In 2010 many voted for a Conservative Candidate in the belief that they were truly eurosceptic only to find that they toed the Party line as soon as they were settled on the green leather.
    This is the back-lash that you are now facing.
    I argued this long ago and got the bum’s rush from the Tory Grandees.
    The UKIP results were even reported in our local French newspaper – even though they did mistake ” anti EU” for “anti Europe” – but then so do many in the UK.

    • Chris
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes, you are right, I believe, Bernard J. There are many Cons MPs who profess to be eurosceptic, but are in reality no such thing and who, when their bluff is called, will not back up their words with action.

  37. Anthem
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    What a mess. What an absolute god-awful mess.

    And who delivered us into this mess? Politicians.

    And now those same people expect us to believe them when they say that they can get us out of this mess?

    You will understand, Mr Redwood, when people are sceptical and now wish to take matters into their own hands and just say “Get us OUT!”

    No agreements with the EU. Trade or otherwise. The EU is just a bloated middleman who is neither needed nor wanted.

    A French business is perfectly capable of agreeing a trade deal with a British business. We don’t need the EU to help other than to stay out of it.

    Import/export tariffs, you say? Political inventions. Remove them.

    Subsidies which will make us uncompetitive? Government inventions. Remove them.

    I wish politicians would stop trying to make all of this sound more difficult than it really is. They are the cause, not the solution.

  38. David Saunders
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    As a life long Tory having served the Party in a number of elected and organisational positions, I no longer believe that voting Conservative leads to Conservative outcomes. You always mention the constraints of Coalition but the root cause of that Coalition (entered into over the heads of MPs and the Party) is the poor 2010 election campaign, TV debating and unfocussed leadership presided over by Cameron. Is this the man to lead the Party into another debacle in 2015? I intend to vote UKIP regardless of Cameron’s Europe promises because I do not trust him to deliver.

  39. Sean O'Hare
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    If Cameron were serious then instead of all this faffing around with an enabling referendum followed by years of fruitless re-negotiation followed by an in/out referendum, he would simply invoke Article 50 now signalling our intention to leave. That would give 2 years during which he can negotiate our exit terms with regard to trade with the EU. He could then put the question the other way around, i.e. Do we leave on the terms negotiated or stay in on existing terms?

  40. Collamore
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    This proposed “mandate” referendum will cost millions of pounds. And for what?
    To persuade the LibDems? Ain’t gonna happen. To induce the EU to negotiate its own breakup? Don’t make me laugh. To give Cameron negotiating powers he already possesses? Then why bother.
    All it will do is kick the can down the road. And be used to postpone actual, and needed, decisions regarding the UK and the EU.

  41. muddyman
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The problems that beset the EU are reflections of those that have beset Europe over the centuries, their result – War. Don’t think that War is out of favour, recent history alone should show that it’s all too easy to be drawn into conflict. If the current politician induced crisis is not resolved then standby for another.

  42. oldtimer
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I have no problem with the idea of securing a mandate from the electorate to attempt to renegotiate a new relationship. I believe that an appropriate Bill should be tabled during this Parliament and put to a HoC vote and, if passed, made the subject of a referendum before this Parliament ends. This means it should be tables asap.

    If the Bill is defeated (by a coalition of LibDems and others – presumably Labour) then it should form part of the Conservative manifesto for the next Parliament.

    The problem, evident from the foregoing comments on this subject, will be who will conduct the renegotiation. It is evident that very many people no longer trust Mr Cameron to do what he says he will do – any more than they trust Messrs Miliband and Clegg, who have form on the subject of referenda. From his past comments, Mr Cameron wants to stay in the EU. This suggests he will not be a hard bargainer; he will not convince the many who will consider him to be a soft touch when it comes to the EU. It is difficult to see how he can deliver what needs to be done. The Conservatives need a new Leader to carry conviction. With just two years to the next general election, that is the Conservative dilemma.

  43. Bert Young
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Dr JR , I commend you and David Davis et al for the action you have taken ( reported in today’s press ) to get the action started to remove us sufficiently from the EU . The challenge you have made to David Cameron is clear enough ; it identifies with the emotions evoked with voters in the last few days and , rightly , makes it abundantly clear ” that we want our country back ” . Nigel Farage has portrayed the views of the country in a language we all liked and has offered a liaison with the Conservative Party that makes a great deal of sense . David Cameron has to be sacrificed for the sake of us all . Your blog today has a real punch to it – hopefully it is the forerunner to a knock-out blow .

  44. Barbara
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Well Mr R, promises won’t be enough this time round, we’ve had those and been ignored. Why do we have to have parliament decide and agree by bill to have a referendum, its silly, we should have one whatever they think. I think we, the public, know you put far too much emphasis on parliament making decisions, when the public clearly wants to do that for the whole nation. Its like they are granting their permission to hold what is our democratic right, how stupid is that?
    If this is how things are done, well it’s about time it was stopped and more faith in the public’s decisions, Cameron should announce a referendum now and be done with it, and stop using parliament as an excuse to delay. If you lead this country you lead, not hide behind old laws that are outdated by modern standards. If the Lib Dems refuse and Labour they will show themselves up for what they are, losers. The country needs to do this, and we cannot move forward on promises that might not happen. What if the Conservatives don’t win the next election, which it looks like they may not, what then? We won’t get a referendum at all under the two losers. No we need concrete action, and if Cameron cannot see his way forward to give it to us he should step aside and let someone in who will. We cannot afford another five years of Labour, and coupled with Clegg its an impossible situation, Conservatives will never be forgiven.

    Reply If Parliament does not matter, why doesn’t UKIP organise a referendum now then?

    • Chris
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: the general public mustered 100,000+ signatures for a EU referendum debate, on which Cameron promptly ordered a 3line whip, in order to block it. An utter disgrace.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 6, 2013 at 3:53 am | Permalink

        Chris–Agree and puzzled by John’s question. I was under the impression (though I admit not all that sure why, in this day and age) that a referendum (ask the Referendum Party even with Goldsmith’s money) is simply too expensive unless organised by the State.

  45. Smithersjones
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Reposted from Conservative Home and based on that article:

    So lets get this right. Now the Tories want to waste even more millions on a referendum to which the answer is already known (we want lots of powers back). Well I suppose it will at least fill the political column inches of the newspapers with all the stories of discontent between the coalition partners but where does it get us? What real value has it got. Brussels already is well aware of the level of discontent with Europe in this country. Eurostat tells them that time and again. Its yet more meaningless gesture politics meant to buy time and patronage. It another feint, a distraction, an irrelevence, a con.

    When are the Tories going to stop trying to treat people as fools. When are they going to learn ? It seems the Tories are ‘not for learning’? Time and again they come out with this drivel but this drivel is not effective action. It achieves nothing. Brussels has spoken. It isn’t going to throw agreements with 26 nations up in the air just because another one has got doubts.

    If Cameron is to do anything he and his party should stop prevaricating and invoke article 50 and negotiate a new treaty with Brussels. Else just stop the pathetic transparent delaying tactics. It will win the Tories no votes at all. Tories need to stop playing this dishonest duplicitous two faced game. It just makes them more unpopular.

    Based on this Article:

    RIP Tory Party you days are numbered……

  46. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I see that Philip Hammond is wanting it to be diluted down to the Tory party just drafting a Bill before the general election, and then saying “Look, here’s the referendum Bill we will introduce if you vote for us and give us a Commons majority”.

    That won’t work for most people because even if they took any notice of it they’d be left wondering what it really meant and suspecting that it was just another Tory trick, and it won’t work for a smaller number of other people who vaguely recall that the Tory party drafted some other Bill some time before the last general election … which Bill never got as far as being introduced into Parliament, did it?

  47. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I have enjoyed the past three days watching pro E.U. Conservatives walking about looking forlorn, puzzled and wondering what on earth happened last Thursday. None more so than Mr Cameron, whose countenance was akin to a Prime Minister walking out of No 10 only to discover that his car had left without him.

  48. uanime5
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Voters are fed up with the UK having too little control over its own borders

    I take it you’re referring to EU citizens having the right to work in other EU countries since the UK still has control over which non-EU citizens can enter the UK.

    annoyed that we have to pay benefits according to the whims of the European Court

    The law states that the UK cannot treat other EU citizens differently from UK citizens. So it’s not like they’re getting special treatments.

    angry that we cannot extradite whom we wish

    This is mainly due to English law and the ECHR, not the EU.

    livid at the EU’s dear energy policy

    Something that doesn’t seem to be effecting any other EU member state. Maybe it’s something to do with the UK privatising all our energy companies.

    frustrated at the ever growing burden of regulation that hits motorists, small business people, savers and many others.

    Many of these regulations come from the UK Parliament, not the EU.

    There high and rising unemployment and endless tax rises and austerity packages courtesy of the EU are adding to the misery.

    The UK also has higher unemployment than before the 2008 financial crisis, there have been several tax rises, and the Government keeps coming up with austerity packages. So it’s not just happening in Euroland.

    Labour lost votes to UKIP in South Shields, and the Lib Dems lost votes everywhere, as well as the Conservatives suffering substantial defections of their voters to UKIP.

    In South Shields Labour lost 1.51% of their votes, the Conservatives lost 10.04%, and the Lib Dems lost 12.79%. So it’s possible that the eurosceptics are shifting from one anti-EU party to another more anti-EU party.

    I think in this new climate Parliament could approve an immediate referendum on the issue of whether the government should go to Brussels and negotiate a new much looser relationship where we are not governed by Europe.

    More likely these parties will abstain so that when the EU says again that the UK cannot pick and chose which parts it wants to obey these parties will not be blamed for supporting this referendum.

    Also the chancellor is spending large amounts of money building roads that are unlikely to have any economic benefit:

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 5, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      No wonder you get ridiculed, and people don’t take your seriously when you keep spouting bilge. You just can’t see it can you? I have witnessed the perverted logic of brain-washed lefties before. They have a totally different sense of reality. We’re talking about a Europhile parliament, which incidentally, fewer and fewer voters have any resonance with, hence the strong showing for a new party with an alternative, so is it any wonder that parliament passes Europhile acts? You’re looking at it from another perspective entirely.

      I know you people can’t help it, but please try to keep up.

  49. Remington Norman
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    What is not acknowledged is that Mr Cameron appears to act from political expediency – saying what he considers voters want to hear – and that only when he is pushed into a corner. The impression he gives is that he wants the UK to remain in the EU, with some negotiation, when it is clear to many that our membership confers little by way of benefits and much by way of burdensome legislation.

    In so much there is the feeling that political advantage rather than the good of the country drives policy making. People can see this and are tired of excuses for inaction. It would help if the Tories explained in detail the benefits they see flowing from unrestricted immigration, welfare dependency, an increased overseas aid budget, ringfencing NHS spending, and above all, EU membership. At least we might then be able to understand their thinking and have an informed debate.

  50. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    We don’t want the ‘political co-operation’ to be any more or less than we have ‘political co-operation’ with Brazil, Russia, China and so on. It is necessary to be extremely careful with using words which may seem superficially to be innocuous or friendly, within the political Establishment and the bureaucracy, but which can and probably will be misused by those who wish to turn our words against us.

    If the present leadership wishes to reflect a significant portion of public opinion, how about the government ‘showing willing’ by refusing to implement new Directives, and ‘undo’ some already in practice. I dare say anyone with a backbone can handle the threats which may follow.

  51. Tad Davison
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m just wondering how long it will be before even the most ‘Eurosceptic’ Tory MP recognises that Cameron is a busted flush?

    I can’t find anyone other than the most blinkered loyal Tory, who has any confidence in the man. And it is mainly down to his past record.

    People didn’t entirely trust him as long ago as 2010, which is why we have the present carve-up coalition government, rather than a proper Tory majority. Cameron couldn’t even beat the most unpopular Gordon Brown outright.

    Of course, part of that was down to his predecessors. Major presided over a disastrous election in 1997 that the party has never recovered from, so the writing was on the wall for the Europhile wing of the Tory party even then, but what do they do? Instead of listening and doing the right thing by the British people, they keep choosing Europhile leaders, and ignore the calls of the voting public!

    So let’s compare the performance of the Europhiles with the three election victories under Mrs. T. and I think the penny might drop. If it doesn’t, even at this eleventh hour, and the Tories continue with this procession of Europhile leaders, they deserve never to hold office ever again, because what they have delivered thus far, amounts to nothing less than treachery.

    How much clearer does the message have to be? The Tories cannot win under Cameron. They couldn’t win outright last time even though the circumstances were favourable. The circumstances of 2015 won’t have the anti-Brown factor.

    Still, the Europhile wing will argue this isn’t the time to ditch the Europhile Cameron. How many more disasters do they want? How many more victories do the Tories want to hand to Labour?

    We really cannot afford a Labour victory in 2015 at any price, and the replacement of the present Tory leader would be a prerequisite and a small price to pay for saving the country from the spendthrift wreckers.

    Go to it!

    Tad Davison


    Tad Davison


  52. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Having just read today’s Torygraph I am starting to feel sorry for the Conservatives. Hague’s “We are not going to change course” is about as inappropriate as can be. Schapps’s (Sorry if I have spelt his name wrong but I had never heard of him) says he is going to listen which is just wonderful and I have yet to see somebody say vis-a-vis a “lurch to the Right” that there is no “lurch” anywhere but there is going to be a considerable and unashamed movement to the Right and about time too.

  53. Chris S
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    We know that a majority of the population want a referendum on Europe but this is not enough of an issue on it’s own to decide the outcome of the General Election.

    Even if UKIP was not there to take votes from the Conservatives, it is very unlikely that the party can win a working majority. After all, David Cameron couldn’t even win against Gordon Brown. I believe that this is because of the toxicity of the Tory Party name in many parts of the country.

    In 2015 it will be harder still because in some crucial previously-winnable seats, the right wing vote will be split, even though under the FPTP system we all know that UKIP will be lucky to pick up more than one or two seats if they are opposed by Conservative candidates.

    As the only way to secure a referendum is to ensure that the Conservatives lead the next government, a deal simply has to be done with UKIP to maximise the number of seats won by right of centre candidates.

    That is the only way we are going to get the In/Out referendum we all want and if UKIP is in coalition with the Conservatives, there will be no doubt it will take place.

  54. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 6, 2013 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    “The Conservatives could launch it from the backbenches”.

    If it feels good, do it.

  55. David Langley
    Posted May 6, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    You can see where all this is going can’t you John? Getting a new relationship with the EU will be impossible for the present Tory party. When you have sold your soul etc, and there are many in the Tory party who are looking forward to a very profitable relationship (personally) in the future with their lords and masters in Brussels I suspect.
    Regarding your mandate for a mandate to get a mandate asking for a mandate and all that. I am one of those who would walk when faced with this ridiculous proposal. The whole point of being English is that we are free, and free to vote for what we want. It may be irksome at times but I do not hide behind some weasel words and stumbling uncertain relationships. You need to consider your position John and take your mates over the gap. We have a further two years to cement our gains and move forward. Jump ship now and save yourself.

  56. Collamore
    Posted May 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    The Alternative Vote referendum in 2011 cost the taxpayers 75 million pounds.
    This meaningless “mandate” referendum would cost at least as much.
    I have a modest proposal–have Cameron take the 75 million that would be spent on the referendum, and use it to bribe the EU politicians he negotiates with.
    The money will have more effect this way.

  57. matthu
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Bernard Jenkins MP, in The Telegraph May 04, 2013, claims that “All the polls show voters overwhelmingly want trade and political cooperation with our EU partners, not government by the EU.”

    I assume that this claim has the same source as the referendum question proposed by yourself, John, so it is interesting that your proposal drops the last clause. And why would we continue to refer to other EU countries as “partners”?

    Are you aware what polls are being relied on here and what exact questions have been posed to justify Bernard Jenkins’ claim?

    I would like to have seen a question phrased along the lines of “Would you like any future co-operation with EU countries always to be open and transparent, scrutinised and debated on the floor of the House of Commons and of such a nature that UK politicians can be held properly accountable for it.”

    Reply The aim is to win this referendum by a landslide – why do none of you wish to do anything to build bridges with the majority who still do not agree with you?

  58. Derek Emery
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    There’s no way the EU will allow any form of halfway house like Cameron is pretending will be on offer. Dream on.

    Even if the UK does not extricate itself from the tentacles of the EU the EU is irresistibly heading towards economic obscurity from its own decision taking which always puts politics and the formation of full union ahead of everything else and especially of economic growth.

    EU decisions are always anti-growth as they are politically based. The creation of the Eurozone is crucifying the PIIGS and the EU is added the FTT to this option to create a further downside effect in parallel.
    The Bundesbank chief reckons the Euro-crisis will last another ten years which sounds optimistic. Wolfgang Münchau of the FT reckons the crisis will last 20 years.

    There will be massive future poverty in the PIIGS where 50%+ long term unemployment translates to a a workforce where only half will have the work-skills that employers need. The other half will will have to suffer a combination of long term unemployment with periods of low paid work. Add to this heady mix the aging demographics and you have a perfect recipe for long term poverty.
    Inevitably the UK private sector will be forced to trade increasingly with the rest of the world. In a couple of decades trade with the EU will be inconsequential.

  59. Chris F
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    There needs to be a referendum now . A bill may or may not be passed in the HOuse but if ot fails to go through it will expose labour and The Liberals as weak on immigration and on the national sovereignty etc. UKIP [ and many other voters] are regard cameron [ and the other main parties ] as untrustworthy so a promise of jam tomorrow via post election referendum will be unlikely to persuade enough of them to vote Conservative to propel Cameron to victory.

    If he and the party doesn’t win it is quite likely there will be no referendum or if there is a Lab/Lib alliance will ensure very half hearted attempt to renegotiate our relationship.Result no real change in our terms of membership .

    There is also some doubt as how serious the Conservative leadership are about renegotiation. Irrespective of whether there isa referendum before the election i doubt [ even with the best will in the world]negotiations by Cameron with the EU will achieve very much. The suspicion therefore must be that the referendum pledge is simlya ploy a la Harold Wilson who retuned from Europe trying to sell the old EU soap powder as being “new its renegotiated” when in fact it was the same old soap. This approach will no longer wash – the issues are for too important for that and trust in mainstream politicians [ and David Cameron on Europe] is now so low that the promise of a 2017 referendum will simply not be believed and UKIP supporters wont return to the fold.

    Whilst having a referendum now will strengthen Cameron’s hands in any negotiations it is very unlikely the EU will want rewrite the rules just for theUK since it would open the floodgates for others. Moreover all 27 would have to agree and the record of France to throw spanners in the UK/EU works is nota good one. That being the case the only option is to leave and retain a trade agreement. The case therefore for a referendum NOW is clear. It will wrong foot Labour and the Liberals or force them to show their hand, satisfy UKIP and attract back support to the Conservatives. Given that the EU are unlikely to give much ground if any [ and there are suspicions , including mine, about how serious Cameron is ], maybe the choice should be for an in/out one . We all know that renegotiating wont achieve much [ no one in the EU sounds very sympathetic] ; it is also is likely to be seen by many voters as a smokescreen and a delaying tactic more fudge and manipulation by the main parties who don’t want to listen to the public who are losing patience with politicians . The Wilson approach to the EU wont wash

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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