Along with over 100 of his Conservative colleagues, Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has called, in a letter to the Prime Minister, for legislation to be enacted now to ensure that Britain holds a referendum on its relationship with the EU.
Mike was one of a number of signatories to a series of letters that urged the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, the Prime Minister, to commit to an in/out referendum on Europe. In a recent speech on the issue, the Prime Minister stated that the public should have a say, but has not yet introduced legislation. In the letter to the Prime Minister, over 100 Conservative MPs called for legislation to be introduced in the House of Commons. The full text of the letter is below.
Commenting Mike said, “I was delighted by the Prime Minister’s speech on Britain’s relationship with Europe and his promise for a referendum on the issue. However, my colleagues and I would like to see some kind of legislation introduced that will guarantee a date for a referendum, cementing public trust on our commitment to the vote.”
Full text of the letter is below:
The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA
11th March 2013
European Union Referendum – Legislation
Further to the two letters we sent you in June and November 2012 regarding the need for legislation in this Parliament for an in/out referendum in the next, we very much welcome your speech of 23rd January in which you set out Conservative proposals to hold such a referendum. The country has waited too long for the opportunity to express its view.
However, at present the referendum is dependent on our Party winning the next General Election. In our view, and further to our letters last year, there is a strong argument in favour of bringing forward the enabling legislation into this Parliament, for the following reasons:-
• It would address the fundamental lack of public trust when people hear politicians making promises about Europe – too many have been broken in the past. People remember Labour on the EU Constitution/Lisbon Treaty and Liberal Democrat manifesto promises. Legislation stands more chance of convincing the electorate than election promises.
• There is a good chance Labour will seek to ‘neutralise’ our referendum promise as we approach the next General Election by promising their own. In which case, it would be better to force their hand now for the good of the country – this important issue has been subject to cynical politics for too long.
• There would be no downside in trying to get legislation through. If it were voted down, it would be abundantly clear to the public which parties are with them on this issue – and which are not.
Bringing forward the enabling legislation is merely hastening your direction of travel – you have left yourself room for manoeuvre on this matter. We urge you to do so for the good of the country, and the Party.
As before, the signatories of this letter will remain known only to your office and mine.
May we suggest a meeting to discuss this matter further?
John Baron MP et al.