As promised when I spoke ahead of tonight’s Freedom Association Quiz Evening here is a summary of some of the points I made:
1. A lot has changed since I first moved a motion on the floor of the House of Commons that there should be an In/Out referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. Back then in October 2011 all three main parties imposed a three line whip against the idea. Since then the Prime Minister has decided it is time the British people had their say and all credit to him for changing his position. Anyone who wants to leave the EU or indeed anyone who simply wants the right to have their say now knows the only way to achieve that is to ensure there is a Conservative majority Government in one years time.
2. The Prime Minister has made clear that his preferred option is to renegotiate the terms of our membership and then argue for us to stay in. The Prime Minister thinks it will be sufficient if a few powers are repatriated. Those of us who believe the UK would be better off outside the EU want to see all the powers we have lost brought back.
3. We have already seen in the last few days how it appears that power to control our own borders is not going to be recovered. I understand why those who want us to stay in do not want to set out any red lines: they would be used as a scorecard to judge the success of the re-negotiation. However, for many people who are very concerned about immigration ability to properly control our borders again is a red line issue and the fact that this has apparently already been given up on will have already persuaded them that they will need to vote to leave the EU when the time comes in 2017.
4. If a majority of voters are to be convinced to vote to leave the EU we must deal with the fears they have that somehow there will be job losses. More importantly we must also paint a positive picture of what life outside the EU would be like. A UK better able to compete once it is freed from having to comply with EU rules and regulations that the rest of the World are free from.
5. Finally, it is imperative that we build a broad-based coalition of voters including those who may generally support parties on the left of the political spectrum. There is no way we will have a majority with just Conservative and UKIP voters . This is above party politics. It is about the future of our Country