Following days of turmoil in the Tory party on European issues, Conservative MP James Wharton has topped the private members bill ballot. He has confirmed that this will be used to introduce legislation for an EU referendum by 2017. Now this is firmly in the parliamentary timetable no party can ignore the increasing calls for the public to have a say on our future in Europe.
Pirate Party UK spokesperson Andy Halsall said:
"Our position on an EU referendum has not changed. As we clearly say in our Manifesto, the British people must have a say on our membership of the European Union. The Pirate Party and our members believe firmly in self determination, there is no reason to fear the opinion of the British public."
"It is clear to me that criticism of the EU is not only valid but it is important for the health of Europe. The EU isn't sufficiently open, transparent or accountable, there are significant failings within its institutions and even the most ardent supporters of the European project cannot pretend that it has brought the people of Europe along with it. That has to change."
"There is a discussion that must be had. We all need to decide what we want from our relationship with Europe and those issues that have an impact, good or bad, on our country, economy and lives. I hope we can escape the ugly tone that has made the issue as divisive as it has been hollow for so long."
"But let me be clear, it is not about empty patriotism or nitpicking, treaties will always contain an element of give and take, it's about making sure that we build an alternative vision of a properly democratic and inclusive union in Europe, one that Britain can take pride in being a member of."