Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By SI­MON DEAN

CALLS this week grew louder for a ref­er­en­dum on Bri­tain’s con­tin­ued mem­ber­ship of the creak­ing Euro­pean Union.

Se­nior Tory Mark Pritchard, sec­re­tary of the in­flu­en­tial 1922 Com­mit­tee of back­bench MPs, said the EU had “en­slaved” our coun­try.

His com­ments re­flect the views of 120 Tory MPs — un­happy that the Coali­tion’s Euro­pean pol­icy is be­ing so heav­ily in­flu­enced by the fa­nat­i­cally pro-EU Lib­eral Demo­crat mi­nor part­ners.

Mr Pritchard wrote this week: “For many Bri­tons the EU has al­ready be­come a kind of oc­cu­py­ing force — set­ting un­fa­mil­iar rules, de­mand­ing levies, curb­ing free­doms, sub­vert­ing our cul­ture and im­pos­ing alien taxes.

“In less than four decades, and with­out a sin­gle shot be­ing fired, Bri­tain has be­come en­slaved to Europe — servi­tude that in­trudes and im­pinges on mil­lions of Bri­tish lives ev­ery day.

“Brus­sels has be­come a bur­den­some yoke, dis­fig­ur­ing Bri­tain’s in­de­pen­dence and di­lut­ing her sovereignty.”

Mr Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, added: “ The Coali­tion should agree to a ref­er­en­dum on Europe ask­ing whether Bri­tain should be part of a po­lit­i­cal union or of the trade-only re­la­tion­ship we thought we had signed up to.

Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron re­cently ruled out a ref­er­en­dum on the EU ask­ing whether Bri­tain should opt in or out.

Mr Pritchard be­lieves his “step­ping stone” ap­proach — mov­ing Bri­tain to a trade-only re­la­tion­ship with the EU — will pro­vide a com­pro­mise.


To­day, your Mid­week Sport BACKS calls for a pub­lic vote.

Bri­tain last voted on mem­ber­ship of what was then the EEC in 1975.

Since then, even though all other mem­ber na­tions have held ref­er­en­dums on ma­jor changes to the EU, the peo­ple of Bri­tain have NEVER been al­lowed a vote.

Calls for a ref­er­en­dum on Bri­tain’s con­tin­ued re­la­tion­ship with the EU have met with howls of out­rage from the Lib­eral Democrats.

Chief Sec­re­tary to the Trea­sury, Lib­Dem Danny Alexan­der, told the party’s an­nual con­fer­ence in Birm­ing­ham: “We will never let the anti-Euro­peans or na­tion­al­ists frus­trate our national in­ter­est. They are en­e­mies of growth.”

Scot­tish Sec­re­tary Michael Moore went fur­ther, ap­pear­ing to sug­gest that anti-EU dis­sent should be si­lenced by David Cameron.

Mr Moore told a fringe meet­ing of the Lib­Dem con­fer­ence that fur­ther in­te­gra­tion be­tween eu­ro­zone mem­bers was be­com­ing “in­evitable” and there was a dan­ger the UK could be ex­cluded if “in­ter­nal cliques” emerged.

He said: “We need to min­imise the noises off so no­body sees this as an op­por­tu­nity to widen the scope of the de­bate, and look at this as a way of get­ting in there to get a de­bate go­ing over pow­ers that might come back to the UK.

A spokesman for The Peo­ple’s Pledge, a cross-party cam­paign sup­port­ing a new vote on Bri­tain’s EU mem­ber­ship, told Mid­week Sport: “The EU is now plan­ning to give it­self new wide-rang­ing pow­ers in the form of yet an­other treaty in re­la­tion to the cri­sis in the eu­ro­zone.

“The choice con­cern­ing our re­la­tion­ship with the EU is now clear: Ei­ther we ac­cept be­ing pri­mar­ily and in­creas­ingly


gov­erned from Brus­sels or we de­cide to aban­don mem­ber­ship and ne­go­ti­ate a new re­la­tion­ship with the EU based on trade and, where this makes sense, vol­un­tary co-op­er­a­tion.”

The Peo­ple’s Pledge web­site al­lows vot­ers to sign up and de­mand a ref­er­en­dum on Bri­tain’s con­tin­ued re­la­tion­ship with the EU — and sup­ports MPs who back a vote.

By log­ging onto the site you can also see how YOUR MP votes on the is­sue of Europe.


MPs: Mark Pritchard ( left)

and Danny Alexan­der

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