Lilico: With our EU membership probably drawing to an end, what should we consider instead?
The following article appeared on the Conservative Home blog and is presented with the permission of the author.
I've never advocated withdrawal from the EU. I've always hoped we could secure a relationship with our EU partners within the Single Market but outside the Single European State, a position that would require a significant renegotiation of our position within the EU. Unfortunately, I think that's now not going to happen. Probably our last realistic chance of renegotiating our position within the EU was in December 2010, at the time of the major revision to the Lisbon Treaty that occurred then. If we weren't going to ask for any repatriation of powers at that stage, with an incoming government led by a party that had run at the previous three General Elections promising to repatriate powers, and with the Eurozone totally dependent on our agreeing to the Lisbon Treaty being revised, we were never going to have any credibility in seeking to renegotiate. And so it transpired that when, in December 2011, we finally did ask to repatriate something – something very minor – our negotiating hand was much weaker (since it was a new Treaty, rather than a Treaty revision, that was under consideration and they didn't need our participation), and we were turned down. Public opinion in the UK is now turning decisively against EU membership and an in-out referendum seems increasingly inevitable. The full article may be accessed by visiting: http://www.conservativehome.com/thecolumnists/2012/06/andrew-lilico-with-our-eu-membership-probably-drawing-to-an-end-what-should-we-consider-instead.html