On Monday 24th October 2011, the House of Commons voted on whether we should have a referendum on Europe. When I speak to people on the doorstep in Dover and Deal, they say they want to get out of Europe. When I ask does that mean no free trade either, they tell me "No, I want the Common Market we signed up for" rather than the all encompassing monster the whole thing has become.
And I have to say I agree with that. Free trade without the baggage. The baggage being all these laws, meddling, cost, corruption and general interference. Interference, like the social chapter, that is now holding us back from getting our country in shape to grow. It's as clear to me as it is to us all that we need to recast our whole relationship fundamentally.
This is the position I adopted at the election. A fundamental recasting to get free trade and lose the rest of it.
The referendum proposal had three options. One option to stay, two options for less Europe. It was clear to me that the less Europe vote would split. So I wasn't going to vote for a loaded motion like that. It was also clear to me we do not need a referendum to tell the politicians that we want the Common Market rather than the Euro monster. I was also very aware that there is no majority in Parliament for what we all want as Labour and the Lib Dems are pro European.
Like people in Dover and Deal I am clear on where we want to get to but also practical and hard headed. I want to see change, not just bang on about it.
In view of this I joined in tabling an amendment that said the Government should immediately renegotiate to get us less Europe and then put a clear, detailed plan to a referendum. The amendment was not given a chance to be debated. So I voted against the referendum motion as we need a clear choice, not a multi option choice that will basically favour pro Europeans.