Coffee House

MPs pile in to EU referendum group

13 September 2012

As previewed on Coffee House last week, John Baron today launched his all-party group calling for an EU referendum. He has so far managed to bring more than 50 MPs on board, along with a good number of Labour MPs. DUP MPs will also attend. The first meeting will be on 16 October.

Yesterday José Manuel Barroso gave momentum to the group’s calls for a vote on Britain’s membership of the EU by pushing for greater political union. He said:

A deep and genuine economic and monetary union, a political union, with a coherent foreign and defence policy, means ultimately that the present European Union must evolve. Let’s not be afraid of the words: we will need to move towards a federation of nation states. This is what we need. This is our political horizon. This is what must guide our work in the years to come.

Today, I call for a federation of nation states. Not a superstate. A democratic federation of nation states that can tackle our common problems, through the sharing of sovereignty in a way that each country and each citizen are better equipped to control their own destiny. This is about the Union with the Member States, not against the Member States. In the age of globalisation pooled sovereignty means more power, not less.


Baron thinks that Barroso’s words suggest a clear case for a referendum sooner rather than later. But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman dodged questions this afternoon on whether these proposed changes could lead to a vote, saying that Barroso had been talking about measures ‘to restore stability to the eurozone’, adding that many of these measures were things that ‘we would encourage’. The first meeting of the APPG may well take a different view.

P.S. For those wondering what the Prime Minister’s response was to the question Baron tabled last week about his failure to reply to the letter on a referendum signed by more than 100 Tory backbenchers, here’s his reply:

‘I met my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron) on 9 July in order to discuss his letter and the issues it raised. A formal reply to the letter will be sent shortly.’

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  • Frank P

    Alexander delineates the hard facts of the European question and a possible referendum:

  • Alexsandr

    can anyone supply the list of MP’s in this group?

  • rubyduck

    Why are they asking for a referendum when they should simply be demanding that we leave ?

  • beat_the_bush


    An impersonation of a eurosceptic. Each one of the grunted sylabols is an argument in itself. I don’t need to know anything academic about the entity I supposedly dislike. I just need 20 years of fictional bendy bannana stories to come to my conclusions.

    • Hepworth

      Shameful mate, shameful.

    • woolfiesmiff

      Lick, drool, grovel, worship, brown nose. Each an action of an EUphile. Not needing to know anything about business, economy, freedom or democracy, 30 years of fictional stories about jobs depending on it, being the worlds biggest trading block and preventing wars ( despite the 27 that have happened since inception). You just need to shut your eyes tightly and wish and wish and wish and hey the Euro will work.

  • David Lindsay

    John Baron is one of the good ones. In the last two days, his stance as the only Conservative MP to vote against the invasion of Libya has been spectacularly, if horrifically, vindicated. But the provision for a referendum on EU membership, if there is to be such a thing at all and which has repeatedly been ruled out definitively by David Cameron and William Hague (though not by Ed Miliband), must be only the sixth clause of a six-clause Bill, the other five clauses of which would come into effect anyway.

    First, the restoration of the supremacy of British over EU law, and its use to repatriate agricultural policy and to restore our historic fishing rights (200 miles, or to the median line) in accordance with international law. Secondly, the requirement that, in order to have any effect in the United Kingdom, all EU law pass through both Houses of Parliament as if it had originated in one or other of them. Thirdly, the requirement that British Ministers adopt the show-stopping Empty Chair Policy until such time as the Council of Ministers meets in public and publishes an Official Report akin to Hansard. Fourthly, the disapplication in the United Kingdom of any ruling of the European Court of Justice or of the European Court of Human Rights unless confirmed by a resolution of the House of Commons, the High Court of Parliament.

    And fifthly, the disapplication in the United Kingdom of anything passed by the European Parliament but not by the majority of those MEPs certified as politically acceptable by one or more seat-taking members of the House of Commons. Thus, we would no longer subject to the legislative will of Stalinists and Trotskyists, neo-Fascists and neo-Nazis, members of Eastern Europe’s kleptomaniac nomenklatura, neoconservatives such as now run Germany and until lately ran France, people who believe the Provisional Army Council to be the sovereign body throughout Ireland, or Dutch ultra-Calvinists who will not
    have women candidates. Soon to be joined by Turkey’s Islamists, secular ultranationalists, and violent Kurdish Marxist separatists.

    Ed Miliband and Jon Cruddas, over to you. No one else is going to do it.

    • Martin Keegan

      This has better be in that bloody book of yours!

      • David Lindsay

        Oh, yes.

  • 700islands

    Apparently its not the right time to renegotiate with the EU. It would not be fair. But Germany has called for a new treaty. France has said there must be a new treaty. Barroso now says there must be a new treaty. What is a call for a new treaty but a call to renegotiate? Why is it unrealistic for Britain to call for a renegotiation but understandable and even mature for others to do so? Europeans seem to be perfectly capable for arguing for what they want from the EU, why are we so bad at it? Why do we tie ourselves in existential knots and wring our hands? We know what we want. We want free trade and want the Europeans to stay basically democratic so they don’t start wars and force us to come over there and sort them out. So we want a Free Trade Zone and multinational structures, like the WTO and NATO, in which we can make sure democracy rules. We are not getting these things in the EU. The economy has been seriously damaged by the madness that is the Euro and now in order to “save” the Euro the EU is involved in removing democratically elected PMs from Italy and Greece and replacing them with unelected appointees. This has to be very worrying. We need to understand that we are never going back to the “heart of Europe”, that we are now peripheral to their interests. In fact they can hardly hear us over the noise of their own chaos. Britain and our leaders need to face up to the future. In a way it is exciting. We have choices. An Anglosphere with a larger GDP than the EU, 450 million people, two continents, common law, common language and common culture (not to mention good rock music instead of bloody Eurovision). Or the Commonwealth, where GDP has also just overtaken the EU, with loads of people we know, who may be relatively poor but are hungry, growing and the markets of tomorrow. Then there are Brazil and China (India above) who again offer large populations and future growth. Europe will always be a very important trading partner. But that does not mean we have to be ruled by them. After all we traded with them before joining the EEC, we can trade with them afterwards too. Canada trades with the EU just fine. In fact it has a free trade deal. So does Mexico. If we want Britain to grow we have to trade where the growth is. Its time to get some vision and look to a future we want instead of following sadly in the wake of someone else’s dream.

    • Ron Todd

      It is unrealistic to expect our politicians to renogotiate for the type of changed many people in this country want when most of them want more centralization.

  • Augustus

    This ‘ pooled sovereignty’ idea is nothing more than a gigantic ponzi scheme, and it is in all of the relevant politician’s interests to keep it afloat as long as possible. But it won’t work. EU nations are too diverse for that. What’s needed is not a jungle of harmonised directives and laws but simply intergovernmental co-operation with no need for a European parliament at all. At the moment all you have is an economy built on lies and wealth transfe,r presided over by a bloated bureaucracy with a neo-colonial superiority complex.

  • james102

    I would like to know what happened to the question about a
    possible French agent in the Foreign Office leaking our negotiating position.
    How many more are there and are they restricted to the Civil Service?

    • Ron Todd

      Why do they need an agent. I am sure there are plenty of people in our ruling liberalocracy that would tell them all they want to know.

      • james102

        Which if they have signed the official Secrets’ Act, as this
        senior official would have; they are likely to be imprisoned.

        The problem is that our political class does not believe in
        the concept of nationality so would see no difference between their country’s
        interests and the rest of the EU statelets.

        I’m sure we could think of a couple of leading politicians
        who probably see their first loyalty is to the EU.The law, of course, does not
        allow for that.

    • Alan Eastwood

      James, They will never give us a reply to that, nor the one about Heath and others. Just remember that most of the establishment wanted peace with Hitler, as they agreed with eugenics. Look at the backgrounds of the two leading the conservatives….establishment figures through and through. Of course they are wedded to the EU. It is in their genes.

      • james102

        “Never” is a long time in politics. Fashions change, just as
        they did in the 1930s.

        My advice is they should start to tack; there could be a
        very nasty backlash if and when the EU implodes.

  • Archimedes

    “Let’s not be afraid of the words”

    I presume deluded rapists tell their victims something similar before tying them down, and covering their mouths so that they can only mumble their protestations: “You know you want to”. Oh, do we, do we really?

  • Vulture

    I think its pretty clear by now why Dave won’t give a straight answer to Baron. He’s a bought and paid-for EU stooge and has no intention whatever of giving the British people a say as their freedoms, rights and independence are signed away.
    We owe Mr Barroso a big one for letting the cat out of the bag so honestly.

    • Alan Eastwood

      Vulture. It was not honesty that let the cat out of the bag. The EUSSR does not do honesty. It was realisation that the Euro would crumble without this last gasp move. It has now driven Cameron into a corner. You can be assured he will be getting his instructions from Merkel and Obama and it will not be a referendum.
      I am afraid we are in the final act of the end of our independence. Betrayed by politicians of all parties, aided and abetted by civil servants and others.

      • telemachus

        Baron keeps strange bedfellows
        He was soft on Lybia
        He was the only Conservative MP to vote against the successful intervention to oust the murderous dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
        He is soft on Iran
        Hansard ” The Foreign Secretary is absolutely right to condemn the sacking of our embassy, which can only serve to inflame tensions generally. Given recent remarks by Israel, and the fact that there was no smoking gun from the recent International Atomic Energy Agency report, will he do what he can to restrain Israel from conducting any form of military strike, which would be catastrophic for the region? If Iran has set its mind on nuclear weapons, it will not be scared away, and if it has not, a military strike will encourage it.”
        He has no chance.
        His referendum group is dead in the water.

        • chudsmania

          ‘His referendum group is dead in the water’ . You’d like to think so , but as you are wrong on every subject you post on then the referendum group will grow and grow . On another point , who were your heroes then ? Scargill , Degsy , Red Robbo ? Thought i’d ask……

          • telemachus

            Now when Degsy faced off Kinnock…..

        • Hepworth

          “Lybia”?? And there goes my notion that the lefties were reasonably educated.
          Terrible Mr Mucus.

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