Ottaway urges MPs to seize 'historic chance' to make EU referendum law
Richard Ottaway, Conservative MP for Croydon South, confirms he will be voting in support of a Bill to guarantee a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.
Richard welcomes David Cameron’s promise to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s relationship with the EU, and put a new deal to the electorate before 2017.
He has given his full backing to Conservative backbencher James Wharton’s Private Member’s Bill – the EU Referendum Bill – which is due to have its second reading on 5th July.
Richard, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee which recently published its inquiry into the Future of the EU, said:
‘It’s been nearly 40 years since the British electorate had a say on Europe.
'Too many political opportunists have promised to give the public a vote in the past but failed to deliver.
‘We now have a historic chance to enshrine our Conservative leader’s commitment in law.
‘I hope that MPs from all parties come out in support of a truly democratic way forward for one of Britain’s most important diplomatic and trade relationships.’
‘The last Labour Government promised us a referendum on the European constitution, which we never got.
‘Ed Miliband is adding insult to injury by telling his MPs to abstain from a vote on our EU Referendum Bill.
‘This proves that the Labour leadership has no intention of giving the public a say.’
Richard, a founding member of the MP-led pressure group European Mainstream, to support the Prime Minister’s policy on the EU, said he recognised an ‘urgent need for reform’.
‘The referendum is the icing on the cake. What comes before is the really tough business of re-shaping our relationship with Europe.
'No-one denies there is an urgent need for reform.
‘We are currently conducting a major review of every department to determine the impact of the EU on Britain.
'The result of this so-called Balance of Competencies Review will feed into proposals that a Conservative government would put to the people in a referendum by 2017.
‘I personally believe that Britain’s membership of the EU brings a lot of positives in the areas of diplomacy and trade.
'Within the EU, we will continue to thrive as a major player on the world stage.’