Thursday, 20 October 2011

Open letter to my MP

Dear Mr Vaizey

I have been following the progress of the petition for a referendum on the UKs EU membership, and was extremely pleased to see it has resulted in a parliamentary debate. I am less pleased to see that the Conservative Party are considering use of a three line whip on this debate, something I would consider not only inappropriate, but also damaging to the reputation of both Parliament and the Conservative Party.

I notice from your voting record that you have never voted against the party line, may I strongly urge you to consider doing so on this occasion, or at the very least abstaining from the vote now scheduled for Monday.

There would be many advantages in allowing this call for a referendum to pass:

- Many people in this country have never had an opportunity to have their views on the EU represented by a major parliamentary party. The 1975 referendum on continued membership of the EEC was exactly a year before I was born. I am 35 years old.

- No voter has ever had a direct input into the huge transfer of power away from Westminster, as the previous referendum was over membership of a trading organisation, not a political one.

- The bill comes as a direct result of a call from a huge number of the voting public. To allow a three line whip to hold in this circumstance is a direct snub to the people on whom you rely for your continued position in parliament.

- The Conservative Party is currently in a coalition government simply because it did not garner sufficient votes. It will lose even more voters to UKIP if it blocks this chance for a referendum. UKIP would become redundant overnight in the event of a commitment from the Conservative Party to hold a referendum.

- There is an assumption that the public would vote for a withdrawal from the EU. This is not necessarily the case. If it can be shown before any referendum how our lives are improved by our continued membership, then it stands to reason that we would vote for continued membership; A vote to remain within the EU would close the debate down altogether for a generation and allow the UK to become unequivocally committed to the project.

Your back-bench colleague Mark Pritchard speaking on the Today Program this morning stated that “This is about country first, party second and career last". Please give this matter serious consideration before Monday.

Many Thanks,

Chris Brenchley

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