Tom Pursglove is Director of Together Against Wind, a councillor in the Croyland ward of Wellingborough, and PPC for Corby.
For the last two years, I have been running my Listening to Corby & East Northamptonshire Campaign. Every week, along with the help of my Listening Team, I have knocked on doors across this bell-weather constituency. The three things that come up on the doorstep, time and time again, are European immigration, the economy and our membership of the European Union.
Last May, I launched the North Northamptonshire EU Referendum along with my colleagues Peter Bone and Philip Hollobone. This is the biggest vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union since the 1975 nationwide referendum. The question on the ballot paper was: ‘Should the United Kingdom be a member of the European Union?’
Today, the three of us have delivered the result of the referendum to Number 10. Having delivered 100,000 ballot papers across the three constituencies, whilst 150 ballots were spoilt, the result was as follows:
|Staying in||2,725 votes||18.9%|
It is evident from the result of the ballot that there is now a clear majority of people in North Northamptonshire who want to leave the EU. It is also very clear that there is a real appetite for a national In/Out vote. All three of us are pledged to vote to leave the European Union superstate.
In our letter to the Prime Minister, we have made it clear to him that, if we are returned as Members of Parliament at the General Election in May, we will only support a government that promises an EU in/out referendum by the end of 2017 – indeed, this mirrors the words of David Cameron himself, who has said: “I will not become Prime Minster unless I can guarantee that we can hold that referendum”. In other words, if events demanded it and there was not an overall Conservative majority, we would not support a coalition agreement that did not include an EU Referendum, no later than by the end of 2017.
Of course, it is only the Conservative Party that guarantees an in/out vote and that is why the three of us are working flat-out to return Cameron as Prime Minister and the head of a Conservative majority government.
Prior to now, we have just had opinion polls, focus groups and pundits, guessing what people in Middle England think about the EU. Now, we have real hard, concrete evidence, through an actual vote, identifying how people feel – it is quite clear what Middle England thinks!