EU Referendum

Eurosceptics need to stop fighting and unite to win the EU referendum

Ukip must unite behind Nigel Farage, while those who want Britian to leave must come together for a far greater cause – our freedom

Nigel Farage speaks at Ukip's conference in Doncaster
Nigel Farage speaks at Ukip’s conference in Doncaster Photo: TELEGRAPH
 By Steven Woolfe MEP

This year, there is only one game in town. The referendum on our EU membership, widely expected to be held in the Summer or early Autumn, provides us with a once in a generation opportunity to reclaim our nation’s independence.

I left my job as general counsel to some of the UK’s biggest financial institutions in 2014 because I wanted my country to be free again – and now the time has come.

Ukip, with help from our Eurosceptic friends in other parties, has forced the political establishment to concede this vote. We must take our chance, for it is unlikely to come along again.

The Prime Minister’s renegotiation is clearly insignificant. It is not just that he won’t bring back freedom to control our borders, freedom to sign trade agreements with the rest of the world and freedom to protect our world beating City of London, it is the fact that he hasn’t even put these core requirements on the negotiating table.

 Cameron’s cosmetic changes won’t restore parliamentary sovereignty or allow us to run our own affairs.

But nevertheless, he will no doubt return from Brussels triumphant, proclaiming peace in our time. A great victory for Britain – and for him.

When he does, we must be ready to hit back. We must make the case that Britain is a great nation, strong enough to control our own affairs. We must persuade people that we can prosper as an independent nation, instead of being held back by a declining and suffocating European Union. We did it for hundreds of years before the EU. We can do it again.

To do this, the squabbling must stop. Petty personal jealousies must not be allowed to torpedo our hopes of restoring our national independence. We need a unified Leave campaign and a unified Ukip.

Ukip must unite behind Nigel Farage. The Leave campaign must unite as one, putting differences to one side for the greater cause. And the Eurosceptic big beasts in the Conservative Party must show some courage and back Brexit.

UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage (L) and UKIP's only MP Douglas Carswell (R) stand outside the Houses of Parliament as they attend a photocall asking for reform at the electoral process in Britain

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage and UKIP’s only MP Douglas Carswell stand outside the Houses of Parliament  Photo: EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Much has been said about who should lead the charge. Should it be Nigel? Should it be Boris? Should it be a business figure? The answer is simple – it should be all of them.

With Downing Street and the establishment on one side, we need our dream team on the pitch – Nigel, Boris Johnson, Theresa May, Iain Duncan Smith, a big business figure like James Dyson and Labour’s Kate Hoey.

“We need our dream team on the pitch – Nigel, Boris Johnson, Theresa May, Iain Duncan Smith, a big business figure like James Dyson and Labour’s Kate Hoey”

And Nigel, the man who secured us this referendum, the only one up to now to have the courage of his convictions, currently our only ace in the pack. With Nigel as part of that team, we can win.

I will be supporting him and whichever Leave campaign gets the Electoral Commission’s official designation. I will be making the case for a free and prosperous Britain, released from the shackles of the European Superstate, able to make our own laws, control our own borders and protect our economic interests.

My message to colleagues in Ukip and in the Brexit movement is simple. This is not about individuals. Not you, not me. This is about the future of our country. We cannot miss this once in a generation opportunity.

Whichever party you support or represent, whatever has gone before, now is the time to come together. For if we don’t – and we lose – we will never be forgiven.

Steven Woolfe MEP is Ukip’s migration and financial affairs spokesman

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