Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie backs referendum on Europe
Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie has backed the Prime Minister's promise to hold a referendum on Europe if the Tories win the next General Election.
David Cameron said in a landmark speech that he wants to re-negotiate the terms of Britain's membership in Europe and then hold an in-out referendum on the issue.
If the Tories stay in Government after the next election in 2015, then a referendum is expected to be held before the end of 2017.
Ms Leslie said: "I am confident that we will be able to negotiate a better, more flexible deal for Britain within the EU, and it is absolutely right that the people will have their say on it."
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She has written in a report that Britain needs to regain control of European employment laws which are costing the country nearly £5 billion a year.
She said: "The time has come for Britain to say enough is enough and we will not accept ridiculous European laws which work against the best interests of the UK - and indeed, the whole of the EU."
She said that the biggest problem is the European Working Time Directive which is compromising patients' wellbeing in our hospitals because it limits the amount of time junior doctors can spend training on the wards.
She said: "These directives have imposed a rigid framework upon the UK's otherwise flexible labour model, in an attempt to harmonise our working practices with those of other EU countries – a 'one size fits all' approach is simply not practical and does not recognise the different circumstances in each nation.
"Indeed, this has caused particular damage in the NHS, where the directive has severely impacted on patient safety and the training of junior doctors, as well as imposing unnecessary costs.
"Too often, regulations are imposed to deal with the poor standards in one country but end up imposing unnecessary bureaucracy on countries like the UK with already tough regulations.
"We need to be able to make vital decisions on this here in the UK, rather than being subject to ill-judged laws made in Brussels."
In the report, she calls for member states to be given back control in social and employment law or, failing that, a full British opt-out in this area.
Ms Leslie has also called for an end to the so-called Strasbourg Circus – where 754 members of the European Parliament and their staff decamp 12 times a year from Brussels to Strasbourg at a cost of more than £1bn over the next 7 years.