SCARBOROUGH MP and government whip Robert Goodwill has spoken of his disappointment surrounding the EU referendum vote, but says he understands his colleagues’ ‘“scepticism”.
This week saw the biggest ever Conservative revolt over Europe as more than 80 Tory MPs defied orders and backed a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.
Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill, who is the third highest ranking whip on the front bench’s team, was tasked with ensuring party members vote against the proposal.
He said the referendum, which would ask whether the UK should stay in the EU, leave it, or renegotiate it’s position, would be bad timing if passed.
“The problem we had with that situation is that the EU is currently renegotiating a treaty due to the crisis in the Eurozone. If they knew we were having a referendum we would have little say in the treaty negotiations,” he added.
“To negotiate and get a better deal for Britain is always the Government’s objective.”
However in Monday’s vote a total of 81 Conservative MP’s voted for a Commons motion calling for a referendum.
Speaking to the Evening News after the vote Mr Goodwill said: “It was disappointing that a number of colleagues didn’t see that situation. Particularly in the light that we have already passed legislation that would make it mandatory to have a referendum if there were any changes that meant power going from London to Brussels.
“I can understand exactly why they don’t support the position and their frustrations around the EU are as great as mine but my view is now is not the time for a referendum. However I am sure a time will come when we will have one.”
Mr Goodwill said being part of a single market is good for a number of Scarborough businesses exporting within the EU, however other aspects need renegotiating such as fishing quotas.