Europe: you decide

Greg Hands M.P. is backing the Prime Minister’s commitment to change the basis of Britain’s EU membership, followed by an in-out referendum.

The next Conservative Manifesto will commit the Government to negotiating a new settlement in Europe. With the ongoing Eurozone crisis, the European Union will need to change, and the UK is poised to take a leading role in the debate.

David Cameron will argue for a new settlement in Europe, focused on competitiveness, fairness, respect for national democracies, and allowing powers to flow back to states. He stressed the importance of the single market, but also the need for fresh consent from the public after too many years in which their view has been ignored.

A referendum will give people a clear choice: to stay in the EU on the new terms or to leave.

The negotiation of the new settlement will take place within the first half of the next Parliament and the referendum will be held by 2018 at the latest.

The Prime Minister said: “People feel that the EU is heading in a direction that they never signed up to. They resent the interference in our national life by what they see as unnecessary rules and regulation. And they wonder what the point of it all is.

“It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics.

“With courage and conviction I believe we can achieve a new settlement in which Britain can be comfortable and all our countries can thrive.”

Commenting, Greg Hands M.P. said: “This is great news. Already, we’ve passed a law that prevents more powers being handed over without a vote. This is the next step.

“The choice at the next election is now clear. Having given our powers away, Labour won’t try to get them back, and they don’t trust the public enough to have an in-out referendum. The LibDems are no better and UKIP can’t win.

“Only the Conservatives will give you your say.”

Click here to read the Prime Minister's speech.