In-Out Referendum

This week David Cameron announced that a Conservative Government will negotiate a better deal for Britain in Europe and then give the British people the final say on our membership of the European Union in an in-out referendum. The negotiation will begin in 2015, if the Conservative Party wins the election, and the in-out referendum will take place by 2017.

This is a historic moment. The European Union has changed dramatically from the Common Market that we originally joined - but for 40 years the British people have been denied any opportunity to say whether they are happy with those changes. It makes me very proud to be in a party which is going to put that right.

Some people have argued that we should have a referendum right away. But, as I argued in the House of Commons on 24th October 2011, "we must hold the referendum at a time when it is most likely to help us get the deal from Europe that we want." It is only the threat of a referendum that will persuade our European partners to let us have some of our powers back. The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats say that they wouldn't give the British people a referendum at all. Why? Because they love riding the European gravy train and are scared that the public might take it away from them.

So at the next general election there is going to be a very clear choice. Between a Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, who will negotiate hard to get a better deal for Britain - and then trust you, the British people, to make the final decision. And a Labour Prime Minister, Ed Miliband, who will go on playing the people for fools, and denying them the chance to say what future they want for our country. It is a choice that the people of Grantham will have to make.