07:13 Tuesday 13rd December 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridge
PAUL STAINTON: Have you seen Nick Clegg?
STEWART JACKSON: No. I did see a rather unflattering picture of him in his shorts yesterday in the London Evening Standard, which quite put me off my tea.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. That was a bit odd yesterday, not turning up in the House of Commons, wasn’t it?
STEWART JACKSON: Well it was a bit ridiculous. I think he should have sat down next to the Prime Minister and kept a stiff upper lip, and kept his chin out, and just taken the brickbats. But that’s for Nick Clegg to make a decision on. Obviously I wouldn’t have done it. I think it’s a bit of a PR mistake, not to turn up to a very important statement by the Prime Minister. But I sadly am not responsible for Nick Clegg’s actions.
PAUL STAINTON: No. But it’s a very important few days for the Prime Minister, isn’t it? Were you calling to pull us out of Europe yesterday in the House of Commons? Were you shouting “out out out”.?
STEWART JACKSON: No. There was no-one shouting “out out out” Paul. What we did say was that a number of things. We thought that the …
PAUL STAINTON: You were all shouting “where’s Clegg?”, weren’t you?
STEWART JACKSON: Well no, Labour were shouting “where’s Clegg?”. Because Clegg is a bit of a hate figure for the Labour Party. No, I think we were all very supportive of what the Prime Minister did last week. We all thought it was the right decision. We think, most people I think in the House of Commons and most of the voters think he didn’t really have much of a choice, other than to exercise a veto, because we could see the European Union becoming what many people always wanted it to become, which was effectively one country.
PAUL STAINTON: Is this in your opinion, hopefully, the beginning of the end, the start of a pullout?
STEWART JACKSON: It’s certainly the beginning of a more measured and reasonable debate, which will involve the people of this country. For far too long the political elite have considered it inappropriate that the people of this country have a say on the future of the UK and the European Union.
PAUL STAINTON: This is the problem though, isn’t it, that we all know it’s a fake debate, because if we put it to the country tomorrow, there’d be a vote to come out of the European Union, wouldn’t there?
STEWART JACKSON: Well I made it clear over the last few weeks since the vote on the EU referendum, which cost me my job on October 24th, that ultimately we cannot stop people having a choice. And it may be that it will be in a year’s time. It may be it will be in four years’ time. But inevitably a referendum is coming down the line, and the people will have their opportunity to speak. It’s not for us to decide in Parliament alone such a massive constitutional issue about the whole future of our country. It’s for the people. Personally I think we need to develop a much more optimistic and forward-looking vision of Britain as a trading nation in the world. There’s a big world out there, Latin America, South Asia, the Far East, Africa. What we’re stuck with is this backward looking bureaucratic politically corrupt customs union.
PAUL STAINTON: Would you vote to come out of the European Union?
STEWART JACKSON: At the moment, I am genuinely undecided. But I’m leaning towards it. Yes.
PAUL STAINTON: Stewart, thank you for that this morning. Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, who would lean towards pulling out of the European Union.