Speaking on Channel 4 News, Mark Reckless highlights the “extraordinarily impressive” national manifesto launched today.
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Since being elected in 2010 I have worked hard to represent all of the people in my Rochester and Strood constituency, irrespective of who they backed at the election, and notwithstanding how party whips may have wanted me to vote. I have consistently campaigned for an In/Out EU referendum, and was delighted when my constituency referendum – the first anywhere in the country – saw nearly 80% agree with me that Britain should be an independent country, trading with Europe, but governing ourselves and controlling our borders. I am delighted that other Conservative MPs have followed this initiative, showing that only Conservatives will give the people a say on our membership of the European Union.
The news that Conservative MP Bob Neill had placed high enough in the Private Members ballot of MPs last week and was determined to introduce a bill in this parliament legislating for an EU referendum, came as welcome news. As someone who has long campaigned for a vote on our membership I relish every opportunity to reaffirm that in the voting lobbies in Parliament. Though my Conservative colleague James Wharton MP was thwarted in his attempt to put an EU referendum on the statue books by unelected Lib Dem and Labour peers, I believe this time we may get our way.
Only a few weeks on from the European Union elections where a majority of those votes cast were for pro-referendum parties, many in SW1 have learnt that taking the voters for granted has a cost. With the news today that the Liberal Democrats could be about to U-turn in favour of matching the Prime Minister’s In/Out EU referendum pledge, and may even support Bob Neill MP’s Private Members ballot, it will leave the Labour party as the only party denying the British public and a majority of their voters a say. It is now surely a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ the British people get an In/Out vote and I am delighted, as with all major decisions affecting our lives, it is the Conservative party which is leading the way.
Locally the Conservatives in Medway have a history of standing up to the EU. In 2011 whilst still a councillor I brought a resolution to the chamber – which successfully passed – calling upon the three Conservative Medway MPs to not support an increase in the EU budget. How can it be right that whilst Medway receives a reduction in its financial settlement, our contribution to the EU increases by 60% over two years? It was this local vote which paved the way a year later for my amendment in Parliament calling for a real-terms cut in the 2014-2020 EU budget. This was the first time the coalition government had been defeated and delivered the first ever cut in the EU budget.
Supported by my local Conservative councillors we, for the first time anywhere in the country, gave our voters a say on our membership of the European Union. I am delighted that the nearly 80% of the thousands of people who took part in my Rochester and Strood In/Out EU referendum believe as I do, that Britain can have a positive future for Britain outside of the EU. Only Conservatives can and will deliver a referendum on our membership of the EU and myself and my local councillor colleagues will fight for you to have that say.
Lively debate as politicians from our region discuss the fall-out from the recent elections. And where does Nigel Farage want to stand as an MP? Guests include John Denham (Lab) Mark Reckless (Con) Diane James (UKIP) and Jasper Gerard (Lib Dem). Apologies in advance for the poor quality.
Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, debates prison sentencing with former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy and calls on the government to ignore the European Court and maintain whole-life sentencing for the most heinous crimes, saying life should mean life.
Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, joins Charles Kennedy and UKIP’s Tim Akers to discuss immigration on BBC’s Daily Politics.
It will be enormously welcome if George Osborne ends overseas residents’ exemption from capital gains tax in the Autumn Statement. It is, however, preposterous to describe this as “Mr Clegg’s plan” as the Daily Telegraph does on its front page today.
I first publicly pressed the issue of this disgraceful tax loophole left by Labourtwo years ago, and had the Today programme pick it up and interview me on it. This interview was heard by the Prime Minister, who later that morning highlighted the case I had made at a meeting of the Conservative Parliamentary party.
I followed up again at PMQs last month and I know that in the intervening period Treasury officials have been working to iron out some of the technical difficulties involved in applying capital gains tax to non-residents.
Success has many parents, and of course Nick Clegg claims to have sown his oats widely, but his paternity claim here is simply false. Indeed, one reason I have continued to campaign on this issue is that I thought I might be pushing on an open door, because it is something I have discussed with George Osborne long before the last election and formation of the Coalition.
Clegg claiming credit for others’ work to close tax loopholes now rather reminds me of his performance this time last year on the EU Budget.
While I was garnering support from enough MPs to vote a motion through Parliament to cut the EU Budget, Nick Clegg opined that there was “absolutely no prospect” of a cut in the EU Budget. When the Prime Minister successfully followed through and cut the EU Budget Nick Clegg then claimed this reflected his personal diplomacy and EU network.
Can we believe anything this man says?
It has been nearly 40 years since the British people last had their say on Europe. In that time, so much has changed. People feel that the EU is heading in a direction they never signed up to.
We need a better deal for Britain, including putting the key question to the British people through an In/Out referendum by the end of 2017 at the latest. Currently, only one of the main three political parties are supporting this: the Conservatives.
That’s why the party has launched a new campaign website, www.LetBritainDecide.com, which makes it simple for people to back the Bill, help build public pressure, give people a voice, and urge MPs from other parties to listen to their constituents.
Please visit www.LetBritainDecide.com if you would like to get involved.