‘MP should’ve quit over referendum’

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AN ANTI-EU campaigner says South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes should have taken the “nuclear option” and resigned from the Government over a proposed referendum on the country’s relationship with Europe.

AN ANTI-EU campaigner says South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes should have taken the “nuclear option” and resigned from the Government over a proposed referendum on the country’s relationship with Europe.

Richard Fairman, who stood for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) at last year’s General Election, demonstrated in favour of the referendum outside the Houses of Parliament last week and wrote to Mr Hayes in advance urging him to resign and support the motion.

Mr Hayes, a Government minister, would have had to quit his post if he backed a backbench motion for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU after his leader David Cameron ordered his party to vote against it.

The referendum was lost by 483 votes to 111 after all three main parties told MPs to oppose it.

Writing in today’s Lincolnshire Free Press Mr Hayes says last week’s motion “wasn’t Eurosceptic enough” and says he is convinced the country needs to rethink its relationship with Europe and “be in and not run by” it (see right).

He describes the EU as “suffocating, costly and ever more introspective”.

Mr Fairman (pictured right), who lives in Cowbit, said: “Don’t be too hard on John Hayes, he’s now a minister and although there’s an additional prestige to the constituency he’s bound to be less effective as a local MP as he’s hog-tied as to what he can say.”

He told Mr Hayes he could have “gone down in history” for resigning and feels constituents in South Holland will view their MP more cynically for siding with the Government.

Mr Fairman added: “Shall we say they would’ve taken him a lot less cynically if he had voted against the Government and resigned. It would have done him a lot of good.

“The Peterborough MP did resign over this and that bloke would get my vote even though he’s of a different party to me because he stuck to his principles.

“This matter is not going away and neither am I.”

Mr Cameron has said he hopes to win back powers from the EU as a fallout to the current Greek bail out negotiations.

Mr Fairman said: “It’s a smokescreen. We have got to get out of Europe, it is a millstone.”

• John Hayes’ letter in full:

IN 1975, when they voted to stay in the common market, the British people believed that they were giving their support to a trading association of sovereign nations; not a political union, nor a supranational judiciary and certainly not a European super state.

So, for those of us who want to repatriate the powers lost to the European Union, last week’s debate in the House of Commons was a useful opportunity to discuss ways that Britain can form a different, more wholesome relationship with Europe, but no more than that.

A procedural motion with an unworkable plan for a three option referendum is just not an effective way of establishing policy.

For me this motion simply wasn’t Euro sceptic enough – because, extraordinarily, a three choice referendum might result in a poll in which 34 per cent of voters triumphed over those who, like me, want to re-assert our national independence!

Throughout my political life I have argued that political authority should rest with nation states.

But from the Treaty of Rome onwards the idea of a super-state has been driven by a hardcore of foreign Euro federalists, given succour by misguided apologists in Britain largely (though not exclusively) drawn from the bourgeois left.

These are the same people who lacked the foresight to anticipate the structural flaws of a single European currency. Now the, predictable, resulting Euro zone crisis presents both the likelihood of a further push for fiscal union and the chance to separate our country from those who want it.

As a Government Minister I am bound, quite properly, by collective responsibility. This is the only way in which any Government can function because it would be wrong for those in the executive to enjoy the opportunity to lead and shape policy, whilst being able to pick and choose when and whether to support the Government they collectively form.

Nevertheless, I am a convinced Eurosceptic and given my personal view that Britain should be in Europe but not run by Europe, I believe we need an opportunity to rethink our relationship with the EU.

There is clearly a strong and pressing case for change. It is time to end the ambitions of those who seek to subsume our great nation in a suffocating, costly and ever more introspective political and economic union.

John Hayes MP