By Matthew Barrett
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Appearing on the BBC News channel this morning, John Baron MP – who authored the letter urging David Cameron to place a commitment to hold an EU referendum on the Statute Book before the next general election – expressed his mixed feelings about this morning's article in the Sunday Telegraph from Cameron:
"I sent a personal letter to the Prime Minister signed by 100 colleagues, and I look forward to getting that response in time. But what I am slightly saddened about, whilst pleased the Prime Minister is now talking about a referendum, he hasn’t actually promised one and in justification for that he’s suggesting that our position in the letter, is that we want an in out referendum now, which is not the case."
Mr Baron explained the aims of the letter:
"What the letter clearly says is that we want him to put on the state book in this Parliament, a promise, a commitment to a referendum in the next Parliament. This would give us time to have an informed debate as to what the question should be, but would also allow the eurozone crisis to play out. But it would address the credibility gap that does exist when the public hear politicians promising or even talking about referendums."
Mr Baron also warned David Cameron about what the public might think of him if a referendum does not come about in due course:
"I’m pleased he’s now talking about it and I’m pleased he is in a way reacting to our letter. But I’m looking forward to a proper response. The bottom line is the British public have had heard a lot of politicians talking about the need for reform, the need to claw back powers, the need for referendums. We remember Tony Blair and Lisbon and the EU constitution, that was a broken promise. People are getting increasingly frustrated that we seem to be ever increasingly heading towards a closer union, and people are not being allowed to express their say."