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Dorset MP's welcome government's referendum plans
DORSET’S MPs have welcomed the government’s announcement to hold a referendum on the European Union by the end of 2017.
In his speech on Europe, Prime Minister David Cameron promised the British people an in-out referendum if the Conserv-atives win the next election.
Mr Cameron said that the next Conservative manifesto in 2015 would ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative government to negotiate a new settlement with European partners in the next parliament.
He added that when the ‘new settlement’ was negotiated that the people would be given a referendum with a simple choice to stay in, or to go out of, the EU.
Mr Cameron said: “It is time for the British people to have their say.”
West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin welcomed Mr Cameron’s speech.
He said: “This is terrific.
“We need a different kind of Europe and a different relationship with the European Union and we need to put that to the British people in a proper in-out referendum.
“That is exactly what David Cameron has now said.”
South Dorset MP Richard Drax said he welcomed the announcement on the referendum and said it showed how far the Prime Minister has moved.
He said: “The language he is now using is more along the lines of what we and the country want.
“My concern is there are a few ‘ifs’– not least if we win the next election, with promises of looking at legislation for the referendum in this term.”
Mr Drax said that other ‘ifs’ included what would be renegotiated with Europe.
Mr Drax added that if he was given the choice of a referendum tomorrow that he would vote to leave the EU.
He said: “If I was offered the choice tomorrow I would vote out. I have not seen any arguments to stay in.”
He added that under European law that Europe would still have to trade with the UK.
He said: “We have nothing to fear being on our own. The legislation says that Europe has to trade with those outside.”
Mr Drax added that he believed the UK would ‘thrive’ out of the EU.