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Douglas Carswell's Blog

14 MAY 2013

Thank you, Prime Minister. That'll do

"What would David Cameron have to do in this Parliament" a journalist asked me "for you Eurosceptics to say "Yes, that'll do, thanks?"

For several years, I have been agitating for the Prime Minister to offer an In / Out referendum. He's now offering one. Cameron deserves much more credit for being the first Prime Minister in a generation to offer us the chance to vote to quit the EU. Not even Mrs Thatcher came anywhere close!

So, I can tick that off my list.

I have also been pressing for the legislation to be enacted in this Parliament. Yesterday the government published the EU referendum Bill. To be sure, the Bill cannot be brought in in government time without Mr Clegg's say so. But the chance to engineer a vote on it is now ours for the making.

Again, tick.

As a member of Better Off Out, who has been campaigning for an In / Out referendum, I feel I can now say "Yes. Thanks, Prime Minister. On matters Europe, that's what I wanted".  

Having woken up to the UKIP insurgency, many in SW1 want to respond by beefing up policy. I am happy to beef up all sorts of policy. I even wrote a book about it. But if we want to win back support outside Westminster, the thing that needs beefing up most of all is our plausibility – and not merely on matters European.   

I know that many colleagues in the Commons read this blog. Here's what we should do to beef up our plausibility on the Europe question:

  • Put your name in the Private Members Ballot today.
  • If you win, announce you will be taking up the government's own EU Referendum Bill. The whips will be helpful.
  • Throw all your energy into securing a second reading division of the House on it. The whips and all your colleagues will be behind you - as will the country.

Will Ed Miliband? That is the question.

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