THE BLOG

We Have a Once in a Generation Opportunity to Negotiate a Better Future for Britain - We Must Make No Apologies for Setting the Bar High

10/06/2015 17:26 BST | Updated 10/06/2016 10:59 BST

Over the past few weeks, Conservatives from the UK and European parliaments have come together to form Conservatives for Britain (CfB), a new group who are united in their belief that the UK's present relationship with the EU is untenable.

I am delighted to co-Chair the group with Steve Baker, the Conservative MP for Wycombe. The group is committed to getting the best deal for Britain.

CfB is backing the Prime Minister and the Government in the challenging task of renegotiating a better deal for Britain.

Our group will serve to communicate what members of the parliamentary party want to see achieved from renegotiation, and to provide a policy forum to discuss issues around renegotiation.

We have a growing membership which provides a forum for MPs and MEPs to debate what the red lines are if Britain is to remain a member of the EU.

But we are also prepared to think the unthinkable. CfB is also discussing preparations for a possible campaign to leave the EU, should Brussels be unwilling to deliver fundamental change.

CfB have much work to do going forward. Purdah, the actual timing of the referendum, and debating what the red lines should be in the renegotiation will all feature heavily on our agenda in the coming weeks, both sides of the Channel.

The group shares an optimistic, globalist view of the UK's future, however I am sure that there will be a range of views on what satisfactory renegotiation looks like.

Personally I think there are three key red lines which both require the EU to relinquish their overbearing grip on our country.

First, Britain must be allowed to determine Britain's immigration policy. This means the right to impose restrictions on the freedom of movement of EU citizens through visa controls.

Second, sovereignty must lie with the democratically elected UK Parliament. This includes the right of the UK Parliament to veto EU law through a workable mechanism and for the UK to do its own trade deals again.

Third, to return more of the £20billion in contributions (£60million a day) we pay to the EU - to cut our deficit.

This chance to renegotiate our relationship with the EU is a once in a generation opportunity to deliver a better future for Britain.

So we will make no apologies for setting the bar high. For those who want to see the UK remain in the EU, the package had to be saleable to the British people, as they have the power now.

But the EU should be under no illusion: Unless they agree on radical reform, there is an ever growing number of Britons who will are prepared to campaign to free our country from remote, undemocratic EU rule.

David Campbell Bannerman is a Conservative MEP for the East of England, and co-chair of Conservatives for Britain