Gordon Henderson, Conservative MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, has written this exclusive article for Get Britain Out:
Gordon Henderson MP: Cameron’s Reforms Will Fail
I am a proud supporter of the Freedom Association’s Better Off Out (BOO) of the EU campaign and have been since 2007 when I was the only Conservative parliamentary candidate to refuse to remove my name from the BOO supporters listed, and in so doing ignored the public disapproval of BOO by the then Conservative Party hierarchy.
In 2010 I won my Sittingbourne and Sheppey seat with a 12,383 majority, so I think my Eurosceptic stance was justified!
But although I am a confirmed “outer”, I am also a pragmatist and a realist. I am also a great supporter of free market economics. I supported Britain’s entry into a Common Market where trade barriers were to be removed because I had every confidence Britain’s historic place as a major trading nation would ensure we more than held our own against foreign competitors.
I even accepted that a properly functioning European open market requires rules and regulations to ensure a level playing field. I also accepted such a market required a regulatory body to ensure all the members stick to the rules. I was happy to accept the European Commission as that regulatory body as long as the Commission was appointed and controlled by the nation states.
If that was where we were today then I would still be happy; but it’s not and I’m not.
Somewhere along the line the Euro-fanatics managed to transform the European Economic Community into the European Union and at the same time imposed on us a European Parliament, which has over the years removed increasing amounts of power from the British Parliament.
David Cameron has said he wants to renegotiate our relationship with the EU and return some of those powers to Britain. He has then promised to let the British People approve or reject those re-negotiations in an In/Out Referendum.
I think Mr Cameron genuinely believes he can repatriate some meaningful powers back to Britain and I am convinced he would not renege on his promise of a referendum if he is still Prime Minister after the General Election.
My own view is that Mr Cameron will not be able to renegotiate anything substantial (certainly nothing that would satisfy me), but that is not the point. The point is whatever Mr Cameron achieved he would put to a referendum and then it would be for the British People to decide.
If and when that referendum takes place; it will be up to all of us who want to leave the EU to pull together, whatever our political party.
We will be up against many vested interests, so it will be important that we do not let petty rivalry between different Eurosceptic groups, or party political posturing get in the way of putting forward a clear and cogent argument for withdrawal.
Gordon Henderson MP