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David Cameron should follow Lord Mandelson's lead and give the British people a vote on Europe

By Tim Montgomerie
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I wasn't expecting this but this morning's Sun reports that the former Deputy PM, Peter Mandelson, will today say that Britain should hold a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU:

“I believe a referendum on this will be necessary because parties can’t reconcile their own differences and come to a final conclusion. A referendum would be a healthy means of re-establishing a consensus among Britons about Britain’s place in the world and role Europe should play in that.”

There is no single bullet that will curtail the growth of UKIP. Nigel Farage's party is now about more than Europe. It has become a general protest party and many of its supporters are as motivated by immigration and crime as much as by Britain's relationship with Brussels.

A referendum on the EU would nonetheless reassure many Tory voters who are currently concerned that Cameron is too comfortable with Britain's membership with the European Union. As Tory MP Alun Cairns tweeted last night, Cameron enjoyed a burst of popularity when he vetoed the EU's Fiscal union plans. We need more of the same.

It would be a great shame if Ed Miliband followed Lord Mandelson's lead and became the first party leader to offer the British people a say.

What we certainly don't need is Sayeeda Warsi, the Tory Chairman, likening UKIP to the BNP as she did on last night's BBC elections coverage. The fracturing of the Right half of British politics is a grave threat to Tory chances of winning an election and the election of a Eurosceptic majority. Watch her remarks here.

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