Mixed reactions to Cameron’s speech on EU referendum

Have your say

Members of the European Parliament have given their reactions to the Prime Minister’s pledge to hold a referendum on Europe.

David Cameron promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union if the Conservatives win the next General Election in 2015.

Tory MEP for the East Midlands, Emma McClarkin, praised the speech. She said: “This is a call to Europe to match the rate of change of the outside world.

“Competitiveness will be the main challenge to the EU and regulation must change and allow industry to meet that challenge.

“The Prime Minister has made it clear that he is determined to review and, where necessary, repatriate a number of powers such as social and employment law - and I back that as a key step to increased competitiveness.”

Liberal Democrat MEP for the East Midlands, Bill Newton Dunn, said calling for competitiveness was “sensible”. But he criticised the Prime Minister for talking about Britain possibly leaving the EU.

He said: “(Mr Cameron) created utter confusion in recalling the current UK effort to pull out of EU policing and criminal justice measures in the same breath as - rightly - stressing the importance of European co-operation on crime and terrorism.

“He gratuitously insulted directly-elected Members of the European Parliament by ignorantly saying that only national parliaments are democratic.”

And Ukip MEP for the East Midlands, Derek Clark, said: “The whole concept of reforming the EU is very unlikely. It was built in to the original EU terms and conditions that they do not allow themselves ever, to return competencies to the member states.

“All Cameron can hope for are a few concessions around the edges of competencies and powers, mainly in order for him to claim that the British public has been listened to.

“A referendum after the next election - in 2018? - is to give him time for the pro EU propaganda machine to work up to full pitch.”

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, coun Martin Hill (Con), praised Mr Cameron’s speech.

He said: “We believe that it is time that the public were allowed a say about our future EU membership and the seemingly endless pressure for further integration.

“There are benefits to our membership but also many issues particularly the large influx of migrants into our county which is a cause of concern for many residents”.