A Hampshire MP has called on a referendum on whether the UK stays in the European Union.
Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes has backed Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU in 2017.
Ms Nokes said: “It is right the referendum is held to establish democratic legitimacy for our in-going membership. It is also right the referendum is held in 2017, as this gives time for the renegotiation of certain aspects of our relationship before the referendum takes place.”
The Tory MP added: “Even if the outcome is to remain in the EU, it cannot be on the current terms, and we must seek to renegotiate, and then seek a mandate for this new relationship with Europe. That takes time to achieve and an issue as important as this cannot be rushed".
Ms Nokes said she has put forward three proposals which she hoped the Prime Minister would incorporate into future renegotiations.
“I want to see no new powers transferred to the European Union, and I want to see law making powers over social and employment policies brought back to Westminster, and ultimate control over our borders repatriated, and then I want to see a referendum on membership of a new Europe," said Ms Nokes.
She added: “It is unacceptable that social and employment policy impacting the UK is decided by a group of unelected officials seeking to legislate for an area stretching from the southern parts of Greece to Northern Finland, and from Portugal in the west and Romania in the east.
“There are areas where EU wide co-operation is essential – the environment, immigration, standardization and harmonization of goods for example. But our Parliament, not Brussels, must be where our social and employment law is made, and control of our borders exercised from”
Pointing out that she has always supported a referendum on Britain’s membership of Europe, Ms Nokes concluded: “The EU is an important body. It accounts for a huge percentage of our trade, and withdrawal will impact our ability to influence decisions which affect our economy.
“Therefore, on the question of membership, we need to be pragmatic and realistic about the drawbacks and benefits of membership. We need a calm and reasonable debate which does not polarise opinion, trade insults and exaggerate problems.
“The debate must establish what is genuinely in the national interest, and then gives the people an opportunity to make the final decision - but after a new relationship has been renegotiated.
“It is fundamentally wrong that the people of the United Kingdom have not had an opportunity to give their consent to membership of what has become the European Union.
“This lack of consent is one of the main reasons all UK membership should be decided by the people, who should not be patronised, but entrusted to make the right decision.”