Tuesday, 30 October 2007

63% of Conservative Supporters Back "Renegotiation Referendum" … Britain Must "renegotiate back to the idea of a free trade area"

David Cameron has done well recently to generate such a huge level of support for the Conservative Party but a poll by ConservativeHome today shows the importance of getting his message right on Europe. Whilst 77% agree that the EU Treaty amounts to a significant surrender of British powers, there are 63% who support the idea that if the Treaty is ratified, they would support a referendum that mandated the incoming Conservative government to renegotiate back to the idea of a free trade area.

As long as David Cameron pledges a post-ratification referendum with conviction, the opportunity for the "renegotiation" of Britain's position within Europe remains possible. The leadership must begin by endorsing the Early Day Motion (EDM) laid down by William Cash MP, and signed by 47 Tory MPs, calling for a referendum "before or after ratification."

"Renegotiation" must be Cameron's long-term concern on Europe in order for the Party to create a credible agenda. This referendum must seek to renegotiate all the existing Treaties, since – as the EDM says – "the Reform Treaty is a consolidation of the existing treaties into a merger of the European Community into a European Union involving substantial, fundamental, constitutional and structural change by the Government's own criteria for a Referendum". The European Foundation has been campaigning for fourteen years on demanding the renegotiation of the binding European Treaties, and thereby the existing relationship which the country which has with the European Union. There is no other credible and diplomatic way out of our troubled relationship with Europe. As Conservative MP, Bernard Jenkin told ConservativeHome: "The question is not whether there should be renegotiation, but how it should be achieved."

James McConalogue of the European Foundation said:

"This means that the Party must debate the need for renegotiating on the Lisbon Treaty and the Treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam, and Nice. They must recognise that there is a need for free trade but not European government, and ought to propose, as Winston Churchill asserted, that Britain must be associated but not absorbed by Europe. What we need is a Europe based on an association of freely trading nation-states, not a Europe under one super state."

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