The issue of Britain’s continued membership of the European Union will be debated in Parliament tomorrow. In a rare step for Parliament, a Private Members Bill will be supported by the Conservative Party and will propose a referendum to be held by 2017. Should this Bill be passed, then a referendum will be held during the next Parliament on whether or not Britain should remain a member of the European Union.
It is likely that this Bill will be opposed by the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats. Ed Miliband has made clear that he does not support a referendum at any time on this subject. I feel though that people should have a say on this issue and if the Conservatives form the next Government then this referendum will take place. For this reason I will be voting in favour of this Bill when it comes before the House of Commons tomorrow.
In 1975, 67% of people voted to remain in what was then, the EEC. Since that time the EU has changed almost beyond recognition. Many people feel that we need either a substantial renegotiation of the terms of our membership or Britain needs to withdraw. There are of course people who want to remain fully committed to an increasingly centralised EU and whilst I don’t share their views, I do feel they should have a say in a referendum on this important issue.
Some people who oppose Britain’s membership of the EU support UKIP, yet we have seen numerous situations where that support has actually prevented Euro sceptical Conservatives from being elected. I would therefore argue that if Europe is important to the way you vote then this offer of a referendum should be very persuasive and voting UKIP is actually counter-productive.