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The referendum Britain really wants is on leaving the EU

By Tim Montgomerie

In today's Daily Telegraph Dan Hannan MEP and Ruth Lea launch a campaign to win a referendum for the British people on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union.

Noting that "the decision to hold a referendum on the voting system has surely killed off, once and for all, any notion that plebiscites are alien to the British constitution," the two campaigners write that their EU Referendum Campaign will bring together businesses, trade unions and members of all parties "who want a vote".

They say that a referendum is necessary because MPs are out of touch with public opinion. Only 1% of MPs support leaving the EU, they write, but "opinion polls consistently show that between 40 and 55 per cent of voters want to withdraw from the EU". Their basic point is right but I know of a good number of Tory MPs who are 'out-ers' but are in the closet, as it were.

Hannan and Lea continue:

"No one under the age of 54 has been asked about Britain's relationship with the EU. Yet there have been gargantuan transfers of power to Brussels since 1975. Then, the EEC was a trading association. Today, it is a proto-state, with a foreign minister and diplomatic corps, a police agency and criminal justice system, a parliament and government, a currency, driving licence, passport and flag. If ever there was a proper subject for a plebiscite, this is it."

Screen shot 2010-09-08 at 08.40.10 The EU Referendum campaign's website is here.

I 'came out' as someone who thinks Britain would be 'better off out' last May. When I read reports like that of yesterday from Open Europe - where the EU is taking regulatory control of the City of London - I can only hope that this new campaign is successful. We cannot leave the EU soon enough.


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