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Yesterday’s announcement that the Government will conduct an “Audit of the EU” needs to give the UK people a clear choice and not just give the Government a platform to renegotiate with Brussels.
William Hague, announcing the plan to have a “comprehensive audit” in the Commons, stated that:
“This work will help inform decisions on Britain’s future path in Europe. It is not a consultation about disengaging or withdrawing from the EU. The coalition government’s policy on Europe has not changed. We remain committed to our membership of the EU and to a strong and stable Europe.”
Judging by this, the Government may use this audit as a strict platform for renegotiation and come back with a referendum that gives the choice of a new renegotiated position with the EU or the status quo.
This would not be a clear choice. On the contrary, it would be the choice of the current EU project and something that will be painted as “not quite as bad”.
It should be understood that no one under 55 in the UK has voted on the UK’s relationship with the EU and that 70% of British people want a referendum on the UK’s membership. It should also be noted that a recent online poll shows that 58% said that they would chose to leave if given a vote.
The point here is about legitimacy. Even if there was talk about a new relationship for the UK within the EU, the UK electorate has still not given its direct consent to a political union with the EU.
This audit should be seen as an opportunity that sets out a clear and accurate picture over the UK’s relationship with the EU. It should give people a clear choice over whether they wish to be In or Out.
It should also not be used as a political football where each department (whatever the political colour) can paint a confused picture to suit their own political whim.
This is a chance to set the facts straight. Using the EU Audit for renegotiation purposes would not just be an opportunity missed but it would also be missing the point.
- Freedom in the City on 22nd May with JP Floru on May 22, 2013 12:30 pm
- The Freedom Association’s Magna Carta Pimms and Politics Cruise on June 15, 2013 12:30 pm
- Conservative Renewal Conference on September 14, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on September 30, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on October 1, 2013
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