Latest Public Sector News

19.09.11

Calls for referendum on Britain’s membership to the EU

A senior Conservative MP has called for David Cameron to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin and one of two secretaries of the backbench 1922 committee, has proposed that the UK should review whether it should be part of a political union or have a trade-only relationship.

Pritchard wrote in the Daily Telegraph that EU membership was a “burdensome yoke, disfiguring Britain's independence”. He added: “For many Britons, the EU has already become a kind of occupying force, setting unfamiliar rules, demanding levies, curbing freedoms, subverting our culture, and imposing alien taxes.”

Many Conservative eurosceptics are frustrated that no move has been made to address this issue, as the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition oppose any such plans, while Cameron has mostly avoided being sucked into a row on Europe, which greatly damaged his party in the 1990s.

The Liberal Democrats have traditionally been the most pro-European major party in Britain and at the party’s conference, Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “Sadly, Eurosceptics on left and right fail to understand Winston Churchill’s central insight that sharing sovereignty strengthens influence and isolation weakens us.

“Scottish Nationalists make the same mistake. We will never let the anti-Europeans or nationalists frustrate our national interest. They are enemies of growth.”

The Coalition agreement drawn up after the 2010 general election states: “We will ensure that the British government is a positive participant in the European Union.”

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