I wanted to take the opportunity to write to you following the Prime Minister’s speech today.
The Prime Minister has committed to holding a straight ‘in-out’ referendum on British membership of the EU if the Conservative Party forms the government at the next election. Given the changes currently occurring in Europe, particularly the deeper integration of countries in the Euro which will require significant treaty changes in the coming years, the Prime Minister wants to use this opportunity to repatriate powers from Brussels whilst keeping Britain in the single market. Once the final details of Britain’s renegotiated relationship have been settled they will be placed before the British people who can either vote to accept them or reject them, and by doing the latter approving British withdrawal from the EU.
Legislation will be drafted to enable this process and the Conservative Party will seek a mandate for this course of action at the 2015 general election. If the Conservative Party gain a majority at the next election the legislation will be passed in Parliament within a year. The legislation will stipulate that a referendum will have to be held by 2017, which is within the first half of the next parliament.
Regardless of the outcome of this process of renegotiation and referendum the status quo in British-EU relations will end. This reflects the Prime Minister’s view that Britain is no longer comfortable with the state of its membership. This is a view I and no doubt many constituents agree with. As the Prime Minister stated the EU as it currently stands is becoming progressively less competitive in the global economy, it seeks to take too much power aware from national governments which are the real basis of democratic representation, and too often people feel as if the EU is something done to them as opposed to a genuinely representative body.
I trust you will welcome these developments. Whilst there will still be disagreement about the timing of a referendum and where the focus of repatriation should be, the sight of a Prime Minister committing for the first time since 1975 to a straight in-out referendum on which the British people can decide is a step in the right direction.