The controversy over an in out referendum on the EU has been dominating the national headlines. Now as I am running for MP in Solihull I thought it right for me to put my own views out there clearly and honestly. I have long believed that the people of Solihull have the right to have a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. It is forty years since the last referendum and frankly people voted for a common market not for the European super state which the EU has become. Successive generations of politicians – from all political parties – have in my view dragged the British people by the nose into ever deeper union with Europe, this cannot go on, we deserve to have a say on this issue, each and every one of us. But I firmly believe that a prelude to any such vote must be a renegotiation of our treaties with the EU, as the British people can then be presented with the best possible deal we can get and then they can decide.
While out on the doorsteps of Solihull the issue that people have spoken to me about the most is immigration. The issues of Europe and immigration are two sides of the same coin. Now we have made real strides as a government to control immigration but the job can only ever be half done – and everyone treated fairly and the same - while we still have a completely open border with the EU. We must renegotiate our EU treaties in this area as we are a very crowded island and have the magnificent NHS to protect. Now we are the only party that is offering the twin track route of a proper treaty renegotiation – focusing I trust on stronger borders - followed by an in-out referendum. I’m sure the Conservative leadership would have liked to have acted sooner – and I believe it should have done – but they are in coalition with the Liberal Democrats who are against giving the British people a say on this crucial issue and believe in adopting the Euro. Regardless, though, it is good to see the referendum right at the top of the political agenda, as an in out vote is long overdue.