COLUMN by Crawley MP Henry Smith: PM reflects public mood over Europe

Democratic justice has been served.  Our national sovereignty has been asserted.  Our slide towards joining the eurozone economic abyss has been halted. 

In the Prime Minister the British public has found its voice on the question of our membership of the European Union. In my role on the Commons European Scrutiny Committee, I see thousands of EU regulations swarming out of Brussels and often over-burdening our businesses with unnecessary reams of red tape. 

I have also seen attempt after attempt by EU officials to develop new ways to tax the United Kingdom so as to subsidise the bailout of failing eurozone countries like Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Previously, I reported on the shocking truth that, had the Prime Minister not blocked the EU-wide Financial Transactions Tax, British taxpayers would have footed £40 billion of the total £50 billion expected to be raised from all member state contributions from the tax. This money would then have been ploughed into the ever-growing financial black hole that is the eurozone.  

British business has been under constant attack by a European bureaucratic machine with an insatiable lust for closer political integration and centralisation of powers away from sovereign legislators and towards Brussels. 

I share the Prime Minister’s belief that this is the wrong focus for the EU at a time in which it is sliding down the global scales in terms of competitiveness and financial stability; simply put we are being out-invested and out-innovated.  The Prime Minister reflects the public mood when he calls for a repatriation of powers away from an EU political super-state – something which would benefit all member states and not just Great Britain - and for a re-doubling of efforts towards stabilising the single market, fostering a competitive financial environment which attracts business and investment and ensuring greater fairness.

We have endured years of betrayal in which Labour signed away our £7 billion rebate without anything in return; signed us up to the euro bailout mechanism fund; surrendered 61 of our national vetoes through the Lisbon Treaty; and welcomed the rocketing of business regulations by £76.8 billion since 1998, of which the EU accounted for 70 percent of that. 

I have campaigned tirelessly in Parliament in favour of an in/out referendum and have a strong voting and speaking record aimed at reducing its power and budget.  Following grassroots action by members of the public and Conservative colleagues and I, the People’s Pledge campaign for a referendum has found its voice in the Prime Minister who has pledged that the Conservative Party’s 2015 Manifesto will commit us to negotiating a new settlement in the next Parliament. Then an in-out referendum will be held – stay in the EU on these new terms; or leave. This referendum within the first half of the next Parliament, sadly because of the Lib Dem coalition this isn’t possible now. Labour’s stance remains unchanged: they don’t trust the British public with a referendum vote and indeed still want to abandon the pound in favour of adopting the euro!