The airwaves are awash today with loyal Tories backing the PM and his speech. Though take a look at what they were saying on the 24 October 2011 when Cameron whipped his MPs against a non-binding motion urging the government to take up an In/Out Referendum:
Mrs Angie Bray:
Does my hon. Friend accept that although the country is undoubtedly interested in all matters EU, it is probably more interested in issues such as growth and jobs? Does he also accept that a referendum at this time would simply create uncertainty, which would hardly be conducive to attracting the foreign investors that we need to help with growth and jobs?
Mr Glyn Davies:
I think that to have a debate on a referendum would be a huge mistake while we in Britain must deal with huge financial and economic issues, along with another massive issue—the social dislocation felt by so many of our young people. A referendum on our future relationship
Mr Aidan Burley:
I must consider the impact that passing this motion would have on my constituents. That is the key point. Business men have told me that there are signs that give cause for optimism, but that the recovery is fragile. Those business men’s fear, and mine, is that the announcement of a referendum, involving the campaign extending to 2013 for which the motion calls, could have a devastating effect on business confidence and investment. This morning I spoke to a business man from my constituency who had come here to be given a tour of the House of Commons. He works for an international company in the private sector which has invested heavily in the United Kingdom and employs several hundred people in my constituency, and he has already been told by the members of his executive board in America that the potential further instability caused by a referendum could cause them to question future investment not just in Cannock Chase, but in the United Kingdom and the whole of Europe. At a time when business is crying out for stability, a referendum would move it in totally the opposite direction, creating yet more instability when what we need is foreign investment. While that business man would not oppose a referendum in principle, now is simply not the time for one.
Today: “Promise of an In/Out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU will be welcomed across Cannock Chase today.”
Mr Robert Walter:
The world has shrunk. More than ever, we travel, we trade and we live in each other’s countries. In 1972, this House voted not only to be part of that common European future but to be an architect of its destiny as a full member of the European Community. The European Union is not a perfect form of government, but neither are the British Government, any Department of State or any local government. If that were the case, we would not be here; we would all be wasting our time. Europe needs Britain and Britain needs Europe. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary struck the right note earlier. We are in Europe, our history is European and our destiny is European. As far as I am concerned, we are here to stay and I beg my colleagues to reject the motion
Mr Tony Baldry:
Will the Prime Minister confirm that, at the last general election, the Conservative manifesto committed us to seeking to return powers from Europe on economic and social policy, but that nowhere did it contain a commitment to seek an in/out referendum or to seek to renegotiate our terms of membership of the European Union?
Mr Jake Berry:
I take this opportunity to put on record the fact that we must have a fundamental renegotiation of our relationship with Europe, but we do not live in a bubble, and we must pay attention to the crisis in the eurozone and to politics in our own country. The crisis in the eurozone is like a spark in Pudding lane. If we do not continue to support member states in supporting the euro and in sorting out the Greek problem, the fire will rip through the City of London and our entire economy. A vote today to put in doubt our membership of the EU for up to 18 months would fuel market speculation, fatally wound the eurozone and its economies, and have exactly the same effect here in the UK.
Today: “Nick Clegg promised an in out referendum at the election. What’s changed mind? #UnitedConservativeParty”
Ms. Charlotte Leslie:
The motion is tragically timed, because it pits against each other the equally valid causes of ensuring that security and stability are maintained during a great euro crisis that will affect us here in the United Kingdom—even the discussion of a referendum on leaving the European Union will contribute to that instability—and giving the people the voice that they have been denied for so long in the determination of our role in Europe. It is a shame that that conflict has arisen today, but it makes our referendum lock and the conditions surrounding it all the more important.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind:
I say to the House that we cannot constrain the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister in the incredibly difficult negotiations that will take place. To have a debate that might lead to a referendum on whether Britain will remain in the European Union or leave it entirely is such a massive distraction from the real concerns that this country and the rest of Europe have to address. [ Interruption. ] I am sorry, but I am entitled to my view, just as all my hon. Friends are entitled to theirs.
Guido never forgets.