Sir Oliver Heald MP made contributions in last Friday’s House of Commons debate on the Second Reading of the EU Referendum Bill. The Bill would enshrine in law the Prime Minister’s commitment to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union by 2017, after time for renegotiation with the EU over the terms of British membership.
During the debate, Sir Oliver said that the Bill was a “straightforward, simple measure which involves a simple question”, and that, if the House of Commons did not offer the British people their say on the UK’s membership then Parliament would be “seen as remote and isolated. We shall be a class apart, and that is not what this place should be. We must listen to the people.”
Outside the chamber, Sir Oliver said, ‘The people of Britain have not been able to have a say on EU membership for forty years, and even when that happened, the EU is a very different creature now from what was approved in 1975. The terms of our membership, such as issues over our borders, need renegotiation, but after that process – whatever the result – the British people must be able to make the final decision. Labour and the Lib Dems won’t offer that and UKIP can’t. The only way to get a referendum on the EU is with the election of a Conservative majority government in May 2015.’