When stomping around the rugby fields of the North and Midlands, I developed a reputation for diving in front of the feet of a forwards rush to secure the ball. Led to my nickname, the 'Mad Welshman'. Could easily have stood back from the flailing boots, but couldn't resist the point of dangerous conflict. Which is why I'm keen to get involved in Monday's debate in the House of Commons about our relationship with the EU.taking a clear position on the motion before the House of Commons on Monday to put the option of the UK withdrawing from the EU to a referendum of the British people. Much the safest bet would be stand off and not be noticed, but I'm going in and making my position absolutely clear - and I'm hoping to be called to speak in the debate.
I have been a Euro-sceptic ever since Ted Heath took us in to the EEC in 1974. Became involved in the No campaign in the Wilson referendum in 1975 - first venture into public debate. I was also in favour of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, and much frustrated when Gordon Brown signed that opportunity away in early 2010. Also believe there will be a referendum at some stage - perhaps as a consequence of the problems in the Euro-zone. But not now - absolutely not now.
Its right to have the debate. I would have expected it to reflect MP's concerns about the excessive interference in matters that should be for a British Government. Such a debate would have been useful. But we have to vote on a motion which offers the people an option to withdraw from the EU altogether, which I do not believe the Coalition Gov't would or should consider at present. The debate will now be about the wisdom of this proposal to hold an In/Out referendum, which will not come to pass. Opening discussions with the EU about withdrawal would be the most enormous distraction from the Government's work to reduce the deficit, and retain international credibility in financial markets, and cause even more problems within the Euro-zone, any collapse of which would have a massive impact on the UK. Holding an In/Out referendum is far more dangerous than diving into the feet of rushing rugby forwards.