Mike Weatherley and Caroline Lucas will both be voting for a referendum on Europe

Mike Weatherley, the MP for Hove, is one of 66 MPs named in an article in the Times who are supporting a motion calling for a referendum on Europe. Mike is not quite a full-blown Eurosceptic. He said: “The vote on Monday, triggered by the people requesting a debate via the e-petition, will hopefully be the start of a long overdue debate. I have supported the call for an extended debate which will hopefully end up with us renegotiating our terms with Europe.”
 
The motion currently reads: “This House calls upon the Government to introduce a Bill in the next session of Parliament to provide for the holding of a national referendum on whether the UK should: (a) remain a member of the EU on the current terms; (b) leave the EU; (c) renegotiate the terms of its membership in order to create a new relationship based on trade and co-operation.”

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, has tabled her own amendment which gives a wider renegotiation of the UK’s membership of the EU as an option.

Her amendment seeks “to build support for radical reform of the EU, increasing its transparency and accountability, refocusing its objectives on co-operation and environmental sustainability rather than competition and free trade, and enabling member states to exercise greater control over their own economies.”

Ms Lucas said: “I support a referendum on our membership of the EU because I am pro-democracy, not because I’m anti-EU – and because I want to see a radical reform of the way Europe operates. The EU has the potential to spread peace and make our economies more sustainable, and to promote democracy and human rights, at home and throughout the world. But it must urgently change direction, away from an obsessive focus on competition and free trade and towards placing genuine co-operation and environmental sustainability at its heart.”

If Mike was able to support Caroline’s amendment it would be well received in Brighton and in Hove. Most people would agree that the current arrangement is bonkers and the on-going crisis in the Eurozone (a separate but related issue) shows that an arrangement based on free trade and competition is flawed. Europe has a choice: continue as we are and see our living standards continue to decline while bankers profit, or co-operation and sustainability.

It would be great if Laour MPs could also support Caroline’s amendment. Unfortunately, Ed Miliband is requiring his MPs to vote against a referendum and to line up alongside David Cameron. Could someone remind me, what is the point of an Opposition?

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25 Responses

  1. I disagree with whipping on this motion (on either side), and I agree that there should be a referendum (though I am pro-EU).

    However, I did think that Ed explained his position better than I had expected him to, in an interview yesterday in the Guardian:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/oct/21/miliband-eu-tories

    I genuinely believe that Ed is doing this as a matter of principle, that he believes a referendum at the present time would be a foolish move, not in the best interests of the country. I think he’s wrong, but it contrasts with other elements of the debate which clearly are self-motivated (i.e. Cameron’s position).

    But I do think that he’s at least partially wrong, on this one.

  2. Right on!

    Europe is an urgent topic and really does need talking about. Well done to both of those MP’s for agreeing.

    Personally I detest the EU – like the blogger has said its a bankers (capitalist) club that does not really care about individual states.

    EU would get much more support if it : stopped the huge flow of labour from country to country – adopted heavy regulation system on the trade of member states – gave more of a way for British courts to strike down EU legislation AT HOME.

    Best way would be to form a sort of western European Union with Germany,France Italy etc etc

  3. UKIP also want to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU – but to do so without being a member of the EU.

    As long as we are members of the EU, we have not power/authority to renegotiate – if we did, we would have done so already. What has stopped up? If parliament is still soverign as Hague insists, what is the hold up? Just euphillia by liblabcon (leaders if not MP’s)?

    Cameron (and others) say that the UK would renegotiate next time there is a major treaty change – why wait? There are major changes required for the Eurozone bailouts, but for some (bizarre) reason he says they are the ‘wrong type of treaty change’ so won’t be used as the basis of any renegotiation! Well what sort would?

    As it happens this turned up the other day…

    :38 in, Cameron admits that the EU can create new treaties or constitution all by itself with out reference to anyone…

    But I should be ‘perfectly happy in the conservative party if I didn’t hold such extreme on the EU’ eh BPB? ha ha!

  4. By the way – it seems the other Brighton and Hove MP (Simon Kirby, cons kemptown) – is backing the ‘Eustace’ amendment – to not have a referendum, but to have a whitepaper put together on the available options. i.e. – Kick into the long grass for another term…

    What is funny about this amendment, is that it seems to have been fed to Eustace by the government (conservative bit), but having put it up, cameron found that the lib dems wouldn’t support it, so the government couldn’t support it – leaving Eustace fronting an amendment that *no one* really wanted after all!!

    Ha ha – so embarrassing that eustace has said if the government won’t back his amendment then neither will he! He will vote for the referendum.

    But that is the one that SImon backs… Maybe he thought the government would be backing it?

  5. Why should Milliband give a victory to a bunch of right wing Tories? It’s all very well when you can only shout from the sidelines – but serious politics at this fragile time demands a more serious response.

    I’m anti-EU as it presently operates, but allowing a referendum at this time would merely be used by the right wing as a step towards nationalism and a further undermining of the rights of workers across the continent.

  6. I agree with the substance of the Lucas amendment, though it fails to acknowledge some of Europe’s strengths from a social democatic point of view, like the social chapter. As for ‘the potential to promote peace’, she could acknowledge the record so far: 66 years of no major conflict in western and central Europe – close economic ties have to have a role in that, don’t they?

    And as for promoting democracy, she might mention that the European Parliament is elected by PR, whereas Westminster isn’t. Therein lies one of the ironies of this situation – that UKIP would repatriate powers to a Parliament elected in such an undemocratic fashion that they could poll 10% of the national vote at the next election (as well they might) and get precisely no seats at all.

  7. I think it’s a question of the right time. These are dangerous times economically. We are beginning to see the inevitable lurch to the right. As Dr Faust says, I am against the E.U in its present form, but I’m not sure now is a good time for all this.

    • When any major changes happen you have to be wary of it being hijacked by small special interest groups (whether left, right, green or whatever) but you can’t let that prevent any change at all.

      There is nothing the EU does in the UK that Westminster couldn’t do itself, directly and accountably to UK voters. Human rights, ‘social chapter issues’, working time etc. EU/ECHR don’t have a monopoly on these issues.

  8. What happened to Mike Weatherleys vote, did he turn tail and back the government, i do not see his name on the list of MP’s who voted for the referendum, i will not be voting for him in my area where he is MP and i will do all i can to make sure others vote him out and sack him as our representative,

  9. Mike Weatherley abstained, going through both lobbies.

    So he’s securely sat on the fence. What does that say? That he’s planning to defect to the Lib Dems?

    • So having supported it, he bottled it – I can’t believe that was a result of the debate, which simply means he bowed to the whips instead of using his own judgement or the probable will of his electorate.

      Kirby isn’t shown as a rebel or ‘abstaining’ so presumably voted with the government.

      Looking forward to the next general election…

  10. In other news concerning the squatter-hating, heavy-metal loving MP for Hove, he’s written a piece in the Daily Express headlined ‘St Paul’s Campers: I Would Happily Boot Them Out Myself’, in which he writes that the Occupy LSX camp is ‘nothing more than litter that should be cleared up’.

    Those cuddly, friendly Tories eh?

    Funnily enough, this comes on the same day that the Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s (I don’t think he’d mind if we called him the vicar) Giles Fraser, has again expressed his support for the protesters, and threatened to resign if anyone takes any measures to evict them…

    Looks like a case of God versus Mammon, and it’s pretty clear which side Mike Weatherley’s on.

    Meanwhile Caroline Lucas and Green London mayoral candidate Jenny Jones have been visiting the camp to express support. (Which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re on God’s side, but does mean they’re anti-Mammon…)

  11. Mike Weatherley is after a Government job. The reason for his abstention is simple. His seat is still marginal, despite the proposed boundary changes and he knows he seriously has to up his profile and he’s climbing the greasy pole in the process..

    UKIP might take enough of the hard-right, Europhobic vote to lose Weatherley his seat to a Green or Labour challenger.

  12. It was no surprise to see him abstain as yesterday Ken Clarke announced he wanted to make squatting illegal in residential buildings. Mike Weatherley has been lobbying the Government on this since he took office last year and will surely hope that a junior Government minister role will open up in the coming months.

    Homelessness charity Crisis have criticised the plans as it targets vulnerable homeless people but once again we see “liberal” Clarke cave to populism and typical Tory attacks on the poor.

    • Luke, would you be happy for ‘homeless, vulnerable’ people to take up residence in your home whilst you were away?

      Surely it’s right that these people should wait their turn on the housing list, like everyone else, The most vulnerable people in our society are usually given housing or live in sheltered accommodation.

      • Linda, are you seriously doubting the research done by people who work with homeless individuals on a daily basis? Most buildings squatted are empty properties and have been empty for many years.

        The previous B&H Tory administration said they did not have enough money to bring up to grade the 216 empty council properties in the city. 50 Kensington Place, a large council-owned property, was left empty for three years by the previous Tory administration and was squatted on numerous occasions.

        Until the Government allow councils to keep rents from council properties (rather than send to the Treasury and to then be redistributed), we are likely to see more properties fall into disrepair without the funds to bring them up to grade.

        In addition, councils should be allowed to keep 100% of the money from sold council properties to improve homes for current tenants and to build new homes to reduce waiting lists.

        Until we see these changes from central Government, councils will be strapped for cash. Homeless people should not be prosecuted for trying to have a roof over their heads.

  13. Well if he was going to sit on the fence then he should not have been so up front trying to get his face and name in the papers, I would have had more respect if he carried out what he said he would do, now i have no respect for a politician that changes his mind at the crucial point.

  14. The EU exercises some people like no other…Greece and bailouts are obvious reasons. Zenophobia is another. I am surprised at at Socialist like H Fitch criticising inter EU migration. Surely socialists want one world. It seems to to me the free movement of labour is a good step in this direction. He would see a bloc against states like Poland, whose very hardworking citizens have surely entriched us by their residence here?

    UK governments haven’t exactly made a fist of solving our problems, perhaps a supra-national EU governement would be best- as long as democratically elected? I look forward to the day when there is only a single Europe, with a single language(bring back Latin).

    • Ok You don’t rate UK governments, but the Eurozone haven’t done so well have they?

      Infact Eurozone is run so badly they are asking China to help them out.

      When do you stop passing sovereignty to someone else rather than take responsibility and demand Westminster do the best job they can, and are accountable for it rather than just passing the buck ever further away for the UK public?

  15. Still no word on Mike Weatherley’s website as to why he took this course of action. I can’t see that what he’s done is going to help either his prospects for promotion or re-election.

    I agree with much of Zombie’s post, except for the bit about bringing back Latin. There are fair reasons why some people oppose the EU, or certain aspects of it – I’m not fond of compulsory marketisation, for example – but a lot of the negative stuff does indeed spring from simple xenophobia, mixed with a good portion of envy and resentment of German success.

    And yet many of the same people have no problem about tugging the forelock to overrated public schoolboys (as long as they’re English) and have no problem about British foriegn policy being run from Washington. I don’t get it.

  16. Politicians – just can’t trust them eh?

    Anti-Squatting: Weatherly and co misleading on squatters, citing issues *already* covered by existing law:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/sep/25/squatting-law-media-politicians

    Pro-Squatting: Brighton Greens – cite house empty for 30 YEARS to support confiscating properties empty for 6 MONTHS.
    http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2011/10/brighton-house-stood-empty-for-32-years/

    As Weatherly has also said he would happily remove protesters from St Pauls himself, I assume he prefers protest by riot to peaceful occupation…

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