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Gloucestershire Tory MPs back David Cameron's EU referendum pledge

By citizenmike  |  Posted: January 23, 2013

Richard Graham MP

Richard Graham MP

Comments (12)

Prime Minister David Cameron's promise of an in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union has been backed by Gloucestershire's Tory MPs.

But the county's Lib Dem MP has warned pledging a public vote so far in advance on a yet-to-be-decided deal threatened investment and jobs.

Meanwhile Labour has accused Mr Cameron of "running scared" of the UK Independence Party (Ukip) and his own backbenchers.

In a high-profile speech in London, the PM said the Conservative manifesto for the 2015 general election will ask for a mandate to negotiate a "new settlement" for Britain in Europe, which will be put to voters in a referendum by the end of 2017.

And he said that he would campaign "with all my heart and soul" for Britain to stay within a reformed EU.

At Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, Labour leader Ed Miliband said that his party "do not want an in/out referendum".

And he demanded to know whether Mr Cameron would vote Yes in a referendum if he failed to achieve his negotiating goals.

Speaking after Mr Cameron's speech, Conservative MP for Gloucester Richard Graham said: "This is the right way forward - the PM shares Gloucester's frustrations with the cost of the EU, recognises the importance of the single market and our business with Europe and gives everyone the chance to have their say. And only the Conservatives can deliver that certainty of a referendum."

Hailing it as the most important speech made in recent decades, fellow Tory MP for Tewkesbury Laurence Robertson said: "For the first time since 1975, the British people are going to be given the opportunity to decide their destiny in an in-out referendum.

"This is what I and many others have been fighting for and campaigning in favour of for a very long time. The EU has changed beyond recognition from the EEC which people voted in favour of almost forty years ago, and it's right that people should be asked if they wish to remain members of it or not.

"Of course, all this depends on the Conservative Party winning an outright victory at the next General Election, because Labour and the LibDems are opposed to holding a referendum and are in favour of going deeper into Europe."

Initially striking a conciliatory tone Lib Dem MP for Cheltenham Martin Horwood said: "I think there was a lot in the speech Liberal Democrats wouldn't disagree with. We would say yes to a more flexible and competitive Europe.

"He made quite a strong case for Britain staying in the European Union."

But on the referendum the MP added: "By hyping it up so many years in advance it will pose an immediate risk to jobs and foreign investment in this country. It's going to be exploited by the eurosceptics.

"I think a referendum when we know what it's about is not a bad idea at all. We don't know what that deal is."

Mark Harper, Tory MP for Forest of Dean and Immigration Minister, said: "I support the Prime Minister's announcements today on the European Union.

"The current 'one-size-fits-all' approach taken in Brussels is not sustainable. The British public quite rightly feel that the EU has moved in a direction that we never wanted - we signed up to a Common Market, not a United States of Europe.

"The Prime Minister is right that we should reform the EU and our relationship with it and then campaign to stay in that reformed EU - that's in our national interest. We trust the British people to make the final decision."

Tory MP for the Cotswolds Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said: "It think it's a really positive way of taking this whole difficult European issue forward.

"I can see it from my constituency correspondence there's a lot of concern over Europe.

"He's given a real, impetus to our partners to try and negotiate something positive.

"I am one of those that wants to see an improved relationship with Europe."

Tory MP for Stroud Neil Carmichael hailed the 'powerful' speech by the PM.

Read the full speech by David Cameron here.

What did you think of the PM's speech? Should we stay in Europe under renegotiated terms or get out now? Let us know what you think below.

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

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  • Shireresident  |  January 24 2013, 11:46PM

    As I've said elsewhere on this site this dodge won't help British businesses trying to make inroads into the European market as we'll be in a state of limbo till the general election. This serves posh Daves party unity rather than our economic recovery and the man in the street will pay the price for all this hot air and pointless posturing.

    Rate   1
  • L804XDG  |  January 24 2013, 3:14PM

    dontyaknow UKIP or BNP

    Rate   -3
  • IsitJimKerr  |  January 24 2013, 1:22PM

    I really don't understand why Liebour voters have the memory span of a fish! It's two and a half years since the Treasury Minister told everyone we were basically bankrupt. They thought it was funny, especially as they knew that the austerity plans to put it right, might well cost Conservatives the 2015 election. And you know what, DC and his colleagues could have done what Liebour are saying now, however, two and half years ago, Millibland would have done 9 out of 10 of what DC has done. The Amercans tried spending their way out, and have now gone in deeper. Even the IMF said we were right then, but they have changed their tune today, said we shouldn't have gone QUITE so far. Hindsight's a brilliant thing. They were saying we were right not so long ago, pity the crystal balls weren't switched on then, eh IMF? What I really love, is that Liebour are now completely in a spin aboout Europe. They haven't got a damn clue. At least DC has said IF he wins the election, and IF EU don't give us back some powers, he WILL go for a referendum. He didn't promise us one before, he promised us a vote on the Lisbon Treaty, but Liebour agreed it before DC came to power, again an underhand piece of trickery that will backfire on anyone with slightly more intelligence than a fish.

    Rate   -3
  • Scorpio2010  |  January 23 2013, 8:33PM

    PS. That, of course, assumes that he has got any brains to blow out.

    Rate   1
  • Scorpio2010  |  January 23 2013, 8:17PM

    While I'm not a fan of Tony Blair I loved his comparison of Cameron to the sheriff in Blazing Saddles who says: "If you don't do what I want, I'll blow my brains out!"

    Rate   1
  • dontyaknow  |  January 23 2013, 6:58PM

    Who will you be voting for in 2015 then L804XDG? Because you do realise the extent of the damage that Blair, Brown & Co did? And you realise just how much damage Balls could do if ever he was Mr Beans Chancellor?

    Rate   4
  • L804XDG  |  January 23 2013, 6:13PM

    i very much doubt the tory scum are going to get in again anyhow, more chance of UKIP getting in, at least then we WILL get a referendum, not yet another empty promise from Cameron, he is bricking it because he knows he wont have a hope in hells chance. If Rotherham is owt to go by then the BNP have more chance than the Conservatives... I certainly wont be voting for Cameron, being brought up in South Yorkshire seeing the damage they have done in South Yorkshire by previous and present Conservative governments... If you draw a line across the country from Shrewsbury to Norwich, under that line is all they care about, above they dont give a flying toss! Im a great believer in money earnt by us being spent on us, not posh boys in europe...

    Rate   -6
  • QuedgeleyGuy  |  January 23 2013, 4:12PM

    More Wind and Water from the most evasive leader in Europe. Dodger Dave still doesn't get it. IsitJimKerr hits the nail on the head. On the matter of one law for all I say this is Our Country and Our Laws shoud not be subservient to whatever the EU thinks is right for us.Give us our freedom back! Now!

    Rate   1
  • BishopHooper  |  January 23 2013, 3:07PM

    A referendum... but only if they get elected as a majority Government... so its a pipe dream then. As for our current local MP, he won't be about then anyhow... ;)

    Rate   3
  • L804XDG  |  January 23 2013, 3:02PM

    Did Cameron not promise this before...

    Rate   5