Speaking at a 1975 EU referendum debate at the Oxford Union, Peter Shore MP:
“I say to you this is not a treaty which in any way is a fair and equal treaty. It was not negotiated, it was accepted. Not one word, not a comma, let alone a clause, let alone a paragraph of the Rome Treaty – not one comma has been altered in order to meet the perfectly legitimate and serious differences that exist between Britain and the Common Market.
And now the experience itself – three and a half years ago, when they were urging us to go in. Oh, what a campaign it was.
“You’ve got to get in to get on” was the slogan of that day.
Five or six pounds a week better off for Britain, if we could only get in to the common market. All the goodies were read out – Donald Stokes of Leyland buying one-page advertisements saying all we need is a great domestic market of 250 million, and we will sweep Europe!
[..] When you add to that the burdens I mentioned a moment ago, and we are under great threat, we are in peril at the present time, and the country must know it.
Therefore now what do they say? What is the message that comes now? No longer to tell the British people about the goodies that lie there. No longer that – that won’t wash, will it? Because the evidence will no longer support it. So the message, the message that comes up is fear, fear, fear.
Fear because you won’t have any food. Fear of unemployment. Fear that we’ve somehow been so reduced as a country that we can no longer, as it were, totter about in the world independent as a nation. And a constant attrition of our morale, a constant attempt to tell us that what we have – and what we have is not only our own achievement but what generations of Englishmen have helped us to achieve – is not worth a damn, the kind of laughter that greeted the early references that I made that what was involved was the transfer of the whole of our democratic system to others. Not a damn.
Well I tell you what we now have to face in Britain, what the whole argument is about now that the fraud and the promise has been exposed.
What it’s about is basically the morale and the self-confidence of our people. We can shape our future. We are 55 million people.
If you look around the world today – I listened to Gough Whitlam and his 14 million Australians, and he trades heavily with Japan, I’m very fond of the Australians – but do you think he’s going to enter into a relationship with Japan where he gives Japan the right to make the laws in Australia? Do you think Canada, 22 million of them, and to the south a great and friendly nation, yes they are, but do you think Canada is going to allow its laws to be written by the 200 million people in some union in America? No, no, of course not. The whole thing is an absurdity.
And therefore I urge you, I urge you to reject it, I urge you to say no to this motion, and I urge the whole British country to say no on Thursday in the referendum.”