UKIP Leader Farage Throws Down the Challenge to Prime Minister Cameron

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By Nigel Farage

8:10PM BST 05 Jul 2012

 

I have had enough of being told that we will have an EU referendum “when the time is right”. The time has come for a real debate: I challenge the Prime Minister to debate with me why he will not give us a say on our relationship with the European Union.

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Anyone following David Cameron’s recent twists and turns on the EU could be forgiven for feeling dizzy. At one time, there was a “cast-iron guarantee” of a referendum. Then, last year, he three-line-whipped Conservative MPs to oppose the idea of holding one. Events last week did nothing to add clarity. On Friday in Brussels, with Angela Merkel looming over him, we were told that there would be no referendum. But 48 hours later, in an article in The Sunday Telegraph, he suggested that a referendum might be a possibility, though not just yet.

There is one note of total consistency. On at least half a dozen occasions, the Prime Minister has been clear that there will not be – must not be – a choice of whether we stay in or leave the EU.

The explanation is that it is in our interests to remain a member, so it does not matter what voters think. It’s a case of “I, David Cameron, have made up my mind.” This assertion, shared by almost the entire political class, must be questioned in an open debate. Those of us who have dared to challenge the consensus have been mocked and derided, but opinion polls now show that the British people do not want to be part of a political union.

The Prime Minister overstates the benefits of EU membership. I believe we would be better off out. My parents’ generation voted to remain a part of a Common Market which they believed to be a free-trade agreement that would not impinge on our rights of self-government. We were conned in 1975 and we must not allow that to be repeated today.

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