Earlier this week, David Cameron published a draft bill that would legislate for an In-Out referendum on our membership of the European Union by 2017. He would have liked to include this bill in the Queen's Speech as a piece of government legislation but unfortunately the Liberal Democrats wouldn't allow it. Because we Conservatives are in coalition and do not have a majority of votes in the House of Commons, we can only do things as a government with Liberal Democrat support. But I am confident that a Conservative backbencher will take up the Prime Minister's draft bill and introduce it as a Private Member's Bill in the next session of Parliament.
I look forward to joining my Conservative colleagues in supporting this important bill and in challenging Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs to support it too - or explain why they are determined to deny the British people a say on our membership of the European Union. At the next election voters will face a clear choice: between a Conservative Government that will renegotiate the terms of our membership of the European Union and then let the people decide in a referendum in 2017; and a Labour Government that would do nothing to stop the EU from interfering in our lives and undermining our independence.
I have the greatest respect for those, many of them Conservative supporters, who expressed their frustration with all the mainstream political parties by voting UKIP in the county council elections earlier this month. But I would ask them to reflect on this inescapable if uncomfortable truth. If you vote for UKIP at the general election, you will put Ed Miliband in Downing Street as surely as if you had voted Labour. And that will simply ensure that you will never get to have your say in a referendum about our membership of the EU.
Nick Boles MP