Euro-sceptic Conservative politicians including South Northants MP Andrea Leadsom will unveil a Christmas wish list of powers they want to seize back from Europe.
Fresh Start, a 12-strong group of Tories looking at changing Britain’s relationship with the European Union, will reveal its catalogue in December as the continent struggles with the eurozone debt crisis.
Speaking in Westminster today, the Mrs Leadsom said: “By Christmas we will have produced a short and punchy manifesto for change which will be a shopping list of reforms across EU policy areas, including business, immigration, justice, agriculture, energy and many others.”
She said the group spent more than a year examining rules and regulations which could be returned to UK sovereignty.
Opening a Westminster Hall debate, she said Britain needed a new deal with Europe and should exploit the chance offered by negotiations to end the currency union’s financial woes.
She said a shake-up of the relationship was “absolutely essential” but dismissed claims the UK should withdraw from the EU: “I personally favour the idea of reform followed by referendum,. The key advantage of Britain’s membership of the EU is as a trade area.”
She added: “There is no doubt that it isn’t just that we have the opportunity but we have the absolute need to get in there, to make British interests very, very clear long before the next European parliamentary elections in 2014.
“As a non-eurozone member, we will not be subjected to the same calls for ever grater union. The absolute burden is for us to define what we want that renegotiation to look like. If we do nothing because we are afraid they won’t listen to us, then we will get nothing, and we will end up with a position where it’s either in or out.”
Conservative MP for Wellingborough, Peter Bone, said: “The way the Prime Minister can unite the Conservative Party on this and the way we could have a huge leap in the polls, how we get Ukip members coming back to vote Conservative, is quite simple - have a renegotiation then put it to the British people with two options: You accept the renegotiation or if you don’t accept it you come out of the EU.”
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Weather for Buckingham
Friday 24 May 2013
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