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Major: EU referendum would be 'cleansing'

Major: EU referendum would be 'cleansing'
John Major has declared that a referendum on EU membership could have "a cleansing effect on politics".

In a speech at the Chatham House think tank today, the former prime minister said David Cameron should ignore MPs with "Tory heads and UKIP hearts" looking to leave the EU.

Instead, he said, the Prime Minister should appoint a Cabinet minister as his personal emissary and he should begin looking for allies now who share his ideas for EU reform.

Sir John suggested that a vote on membership could be cathartic for British politics.

"This referendum could heal many old sores and have a cleansing effect on politics," he said. "Some see the referendum as merely party political management, but it is much more than that, it can be cathartic."

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander described Sir John’s speech as a "blunt warning that if David Cameron goes it alone in Europe, then it will be Britain that will be left worse off."

Today also saw the launch of a pro-EU group of Conservative MPs, led by backbencher Laura Sandys.

The Mainstream Conservatives intend to campaign for Britain to stay as a member of the EU in the event of an 'in-out' referendum.

Speaking to the Daily Politics, Ms Sandys said Britain would be "at the bottom of the list" when it came to trade negotiations and international engagement if it left the EU.

Green Box: Major: EU referendum would be 'cleansing'Click to open

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