Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 5 December 2013


Last Friday the EU referendum bill passed through the Commons and is now headed for the Lords.

This is significant because, if their Lordships eventually agree, it will become the law of the land that we will have a referendum before 31st December 2017. I chaired this bill in committee so know it well. The question to be put to the people is very simple and will invite a clear yes/no answer.

This bill has been taken through the Commons as a private member's bill, because our coalition partners would not agree to it being a government bill, but nonetheless if passed by the Lords, it will become every bit as binding on us all as any law introduced into parliament by government.

The significance is that once this becomes the law of the land it means it will happen, unless a future government passes a new law to stop it. This tackles the concern that some people have that promises cannot be believed. If you don't believe us, you cannot really argue with the law.

Some people think we should have a referendum now. This is not possible because (a) our coalition partners oppose it and (b) we are about to renegotiate our country's relationship within the EU so it would be wise to wait until this process is complete before asking the people to pass judgement upon it. There is every hope that these negotiations will create real change as there must be a new settlement in any event to tackle the problems of the euro zone. Also, all of the main countries including Germany and France are looking to resolve the problems caused by mass migration from within the EU of much poorer people. We clearly cannot go on like this and there is more than a whiff of change in the air.

If we have a referendum, what is the outcome likely to be? This is hard to call. I would venture a guess that most of my constituents over 60 will vote to come out of the EU, largely because of concerns over immigration and sovereignty.

However, whenever I speak to sixth formers who will all have a vote in 2017, I always conduct a straw poll. Every time, they vote by a vast majority to stay in (last Friday by 148 to 2). I guess the issue will be settled by the age groups in between.

Sharpen your pencils, the referendum is coming.

Westminster Office Manager to Gary Streeter MP

Tel 0207 219 5033 | Mobile 07718 349853
Room 484, Portcullis House, House of Commons, London SW1A 2LW

posted by Gary @ 12:39