Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
MP to play central role in EU renegotiation process
7:10am Monday 28th January 2013 in News
A BUCKS MP is set to play a central role in the quest to renegotiate Britain's position with the European Union.
David Lidington will be part of a three man Coalition panel which will analyse a series of reports by departments across Whitehall looking at how the UK benefits or suffers from its role in the EU.
The Tory MP, whose Aylesbury constituency includes Stokenchurch and Radnage, will be heavily involved in the process in his role as Europe Minister.
He, a fellow Conservative and one Liberal Democrat, will form a group which will mull over the findings of civil servants.
It follows David Cameron's announcement that there will be a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU if the Conservatives win the next general election.
A process is now underway at Westminster to assess the detail in each departmental area, looking at what powers would be beneficial to be pulled back in any negotiation with Brussels.
It is called the review of the balance of competences.
Mr Lidington described it as a “an impartial evidence collecting exercise”.
He told the BFP: “There's a lot happening at Government level. The party side is early days and now the Prime Minister has made his announcement one of the things we've agreed as a coalition is to audit policy areas.
“There will be a series of reports to summarise evidence, the good side and the bad side of EU membership.
“With my party hat on I will be looking to see which are the changes we want to include in the 2015 manifesto.”
He said different parties will able to use the findings of the final report to make their own assessments.
Mr Lidington explained that negotiation in Europe is nothing new.
He said: “EU business is a constant process of renegotiation and that’s something I'm already involved in, with a list of British properties going into different meetings.
“I might go into one meeting where I have a list that George Osborne or Vince Cable want highlighted on a business front, for example.”
Various organisations, think tanks and interest groups will be consulted along the way, he said, with business leaders a key participant.
He said: “Obviously as a Conservative I will want to look very closely at what business says about the detail of European policy, what is important to protect and what they think should be changed - either to a directive or a treaty - and what language that should take.”
The MP agrees with Mr Cameron that Britain should not leave the EU – but make changes to the current deal.
“My view is I want us to be a fully committed member of a reformed EU having got a decisive public consent from a referendum.
“I'm confident we can get a settlement which is fair and makes the EU much more competitive to deal with the global challenges here today.”
Comments are closed on this article.