Warnings over a country called Europe

Andrea Leadsom MP
Image caption The EU without Britain is like fish without chips says Andrea Leadsom MP

A country called Europe is emerging on our doorstep, according to Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom, and it has deep implications for our democracy.

The South Northamptonshire MP is on a mission to keep Great Britain sovereign.

A founding member of the Fresh Start Group, which wants to renegotiate a "better" relationship with Europe, she was speaking out at a Westminster event.

"The EU without Britain is like fish without chips," she declared.

She doesn't want Britain to leave the EU but believes that the status quo is fundamentally damaging: "there are too many laws decided in Brussels that would be better decided in our parliament."

She believes that the lack of accountability and the weakening of democratic consent must be addressed as soon as possible.

"There will never be a better time to change things. The Eurozone is forced to take the road of ever closer union but this is not a path the UK will take."

Ms Leadsom criticised the scrutiny of European legislation here in the UK, claiming "censorship by mass" by dint of the sheer volume of new rules.

The democratic deficit in Europe was growing, Ms Leadsom said.

"At each significant treaty change we have ceded power, yet EU wide turnout in polls has fallen at every election and a vote for an MEP does not deliver enough power over the EU."

Ms Leadsom was unmoved by the point that we do not call the USA undemocratic when votes there fall below 50% and sallied forth with the heart of her argument.

It lies in the assertion that non Eurozone countries, like us, run the risk of being disenfranchised over time by Eurozone members.

Changes in November 2014 mean we'll be outvoted and this must not be allowed to happen, says Ms Leadsom.

"Europe has got so bad that opinion polls show people want to leave. That would be a disaster. But even if we want to, we can't stand still, we will be disenfranchised by the end of next year.

"We need more flexibility and the ability to defend the national interest."

She was full of praise for the Prime Minister's promise of a referendum on Europe but was at pains to state that these were her personal views and not those of the party.

However, the Fresh Start group has the backing of 100 MPs and shows every sign of at least being accepted, if not endorsed, by the party leadership.