Statement on the formation of an Exploratory Committee for the EU Referendum

Satellite image of EuropeThis is the statement issued by the Exploratory Committee for the No Campaign in the EU Referendum:

Statement on the formation of an Exploratory Committee for the EU Referendum

The following have agreed to form an Exploratory Committee for the EU Referendum:

Steve Baker MP
Douglas Carswell MP
Kate Hoey MP
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Bernard Jenkin MP
Owen Paterson MP
Graham Stringer MP

The Government is committed to renegotiating the UK’s terms of membership of the EU and to a referendum on UK membership before the end of 2017.

There must be reform of the EU and fundamental change in our relationship with the EU. The Prime Minister set this objective when he described the renegotiation in his Commons statement of 23 March as “an opportunity to reform the EU and fundamentally change Britain’s relationship with it.” However, there is little if any indication that the government is even asking for significant reform or fundamental change.

In particular, there is no sign of any proposals either to end the supremacy of EU law over UK law on ever wider matters, or to resolve the question of what should be the relationship between the Eurozone and non-Eurozone states. This EU supremacy arises from the 1972 European Communities Act, which incorporates all the EU treaties from Rome to Lisbon. In order to match the Bloomberg commitment, that “it is national parliaments, which are, and will remain, the true source of real democratic legitimacy and accountability in the EU”, the UK’s national Parliament must be able to decide such vital matters as the level of UK taxpayer contributions to the EU budget, what regulations should apply to UK business, how to control immigration from the EU, and the UK’s trade relations with non-EU countries.

Without this, we believe that the best interests of the UK, Europe, the wider world, and the cause of peaceful international cooperation, would be advanced by the UK leaving the EU and pursuing a different relationship with our EU partners. We still hope, and urge, the government will listen to, and understand, these concerns.

The referendum will be a historic turning point. Both sides will require the creation of substantial organisations to provide voters with a real choice. There are therefore many issues that need urgent attention, including –

  • Legal issues arising from the Referendum Bill (eg. rules for ‘purdah’, the impartiality of EU and government institutions and broadcasters, funding limits, designation of IN and OUT campaigns, etc).
  • How an OUT campaign might best be formed and run to inform the public about the issues.

We are therefore forming a cross-party group to consider these questions. This is not the ‘OUT’ campaign, but we are seeking urgently to provide resources for crucial thinking and to promote cooperation amongst those who might contribute to an OUT campaign.

It continues to be my hope that the European Union will agree to adequate reforms. However, we cannot delay preparations for the No Campaign.

I have always made my views on the EU clear. Previous articles may be found here: they extend back to 2007.

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