Stuart Wheeler: Don't vote for Tories without a referendum promise

Share
Related Topics

Four years ago, two highly distinguished commentators – Patrick Minford, the well-known economist at Cardiff University, and Ian Milne of Global Britain and Global Vision – quite separately, and using different techniques, concluded that membership of the EU was at that time costing the people of this country about £40bn a year. That is about £3,000 a year for a family of four. And, if the Lisbon Treaty becomes law, that cost gets worse still.

By now, it is reckoned that the cost of regulation alone to the UK is £48bn, perhaps much more. And if Lisbon goes through there will be more integration, and regulation will get more and more expensive. So, we – or the British Government – have to withdraw our ratification of the treaty. This will only be possible if the Conservatives come to power before it is law. But it is highly likely that the European elections in June next year will take place before any new Irish referendum. So, we have to pin the Conservatives down to two highly specific promises they must make in their manifesto for the European elections. We must be sure that, when in power, they actually do call it. If, as I think very likely, there is a big majority against ratification that will have a huge effect on the political scene – including, of course, on the Irish.

Why? Because a year ago, the Conservatives were committed in their opposition to a referendum. But once Gordon was felled, I began to sense a certain wobbliness. So we kept up the pressure and the party has now said it will call a referendum if Lisbon has not been ratified when they come to power. But what if the treaty is already law?

All that the shadow Cabinet has been willing to say so far is that it will "not allow matters to rest there". That is nowhere near good enough. A number of my Eurosceptic friends and colleagues seem to think that the "grown-up" thing is to accept it. If that is grown-up I do not want to be a grown-up.

Tories should tell their MP, MEP or candidate that, unless two pledges are in the manifesto your support in the European elections will not go to the Tories and may well go elsewhere. Pledge one: a promise, with no weasel words, that if Lisbon is not law when they come to power, they will hold a referendum on whether to withdraw our ratification. Pledge two: a promise that if Lisbon is law when they come to power, there will be an immediate, massive renegotiation of our whole relationship with the EU, to be followed by a referendum on whether to accept the result.

It's that simple.

Stuart Wheeler, founder of the IG Index and a donor to the Conservative party, gave the James Goldsmith memorial lecture last night

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Michael Crabtreeof the San Francisco 49ers misses a catch during 2013's Super Bowl XLVII  

Super Bowl 2015: It's the most ridiculous sporting event of the year, but I absolutely love it

John Rentoul
 

If I were Prime Minister: I would halt the charitable status enjoyed by private schools

Rosie Millard
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links