In his speech today, David Cameron set out how Britain can remain in the European Union with a new settlement that better suits our country and our people.
With the ongoing Eurozone crisis, the EU is changing – raising questions about its future and Britain’s place within it. David Cameron said we need to be in the single market, not just selling goods to Europe, but with a say in what its rules are. But public disillusionment with the EU is at an all-time high and people feel that it is heading in a direction that they never signed up to.
We want a new settlement in Europe, focussed on competitiveness, fairness, respect for national democracies, and allowing powers to flow back to states.
We also want fresh consent for this settlement. The next Conservative Manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative Government to negotiate a new settlement in the next Parliament. We will then hold an in-out referendum – stay in the EU on these new terms; or come out. We will complete this negotiation and hold this referendum within the first half of the next parliament. That is the right policy for Britain, and unambiguously in our national interest.
Over the coming years we will work hard for a new settlement that delivers for Britain. And when the referendum comes, if we can negotiate such an arrangement, David Cameron says he will campaign for it with all his heart and soul.
If you wish, you can read the speech in full.