MP for Windsor
Working Hard For You
My amendment to the EU Referendum Bill

It has been a bit of a bumpy ride for me getting to today, to say the least — particularly among colleagues — but I rise to support a 2014 referendum. We Conservatives are completely united in wanting to give the British people a voice on Europe. We would have had a referendum by now if the Liberal Democrats had not held us back in the coalition. It is disgraceful that Labour Members want to gag British people and deny them a say on this incredibly important issue, even though eight out of 10 of our constituents want to have their voice heard on Europe.

It strikes me that, at a time when the majority of our constituents want a referendum before the next election, I have never known a period in British politics when the political establishment has been so disconnected from public opinion, and so remote from, opposed to and out of touch with it. Politicians have wilfully kicked the can further and further down the road, and we will be in danger of doing that again if neither my amendment 3 nor amendment 22 is supported.

We as politicians have kicked the can down the road for generation after generation, and we are in danger of doing so again today. I ask a simple question: if not in this Parliament, when else can we be sure to secure a referendum? My amendment and amendment 22 offer a way forward.

I say in all humility and kindness to my colleagues that, by chasing the EU referendum dream for 2017, we risk losing one in 2014 and throwing away the 2015 election. I urge every hon. Member to listen to their constituents and to try, through one of the amendments, to grant the British people a referendum in 2014.