It's time to take back from EU what is rightfully ours
Britain's historic mission has been to maintain the balance of power in Europe.
Today the EU is the bogey man.
The current debate over Britain's relationship with the European continent is just another one of a long list of trade disputes which has led to Britain isolating itself from global markets.
Many from across the political divide want us to have a productive trading relationship with the Continent; they don't want the UK to be burdened by a whole mass of European-inspired employment regulations and being told what to do by the European Commission.
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We want to be masters in our own House and have the chance to decide who runs Britain.
At the end of January, the Prime Minister announced that he wants to renegotiate our relationship with the European Union. If the Conservatives gain an outright majority at the next General Election, by 2017 at the latest, we will all be given a referendum – the first one since 1975.
Over the next few years, if they continue to have a common currency, the euro-zone countries will need to get closer both politically and economically; those of us not in the eurozone will need to negotiate a looser and more pragmatic relationship with those core eurozone countries.
The UK must lead the non-eurozone countries in the negotiations for a freer and a more dynamic Europe.
When we joined in 1973, we liked to think that we had joined a Common Market. The truth is that the Treaty of Rome was a document with an ambition for an ever closer Europe and what amounts to a federal Europe. If Britain is to get the relationship it wants with Europe, that part of the treaty has to be fundamentally changed to create a pragmatic Europe that can accommodate Britain and other countries that think like us.
We have to remember that in 1973, Europe was a very different place. In those days the Conservative Party supported our membership of the Common Market.
These attitudes began to change in 1989 when, shortly before the collapse of the Berlin wall, the then President of the European Commission, Jaques Delors, spelt out his vision for a closer political union.
Britain's greatest peace-time Prime Minister since the Second World War– Margaret Thatcher – having negotiated a rebate on our contributions from the EU, voiced her real opposition to these proposals to create a federal Europe.
Her successor, John Major, campaigned to "strike the right balance between closer co-operation and a proper respect for national institutions and traditions".
During the Maastricht Treaty he was able to achieve Britain's opt-outs from the Social Chapter, the minimum wage and from joining the single European currency.
After winning the 1997 election, Tony Blair gave away these employment opt-outs, watered down Mrs Thatcher's EU rebate and would have joined the euro if Gordon Brown hadn't been opposed.
The Prime Minister realises that he needs to identify other countries within Europe who will sign up to his vision and to a looser relationship.
Initial signs are promising: Poland and Germany are willing to accommodate such proposals, while Holland and the Czech Republic very much support him.
Perhaps they understand that without Britain as a member of the EU, the better-off Northern European countries will have to contribute more money to those who are net receivers.
So my shopping list for the Prime Minister from Plymouth Sutton & Devonport is to:
Bring UK fishing waters back under UK control;
Bring back all the employment opt-outs that John Major achieved in the Maastricht treaty;
Restore our EU rebate;
For us to decide who comes into our country; and
For us to decide who should be charged and who should be prosecuted.
I hope that the Prime Minister will take note of this agenda: refuse any further European integration, not be Euro-suicidal but be willing, if necessary, to negotiate a series of inter-governmental treaties outside the EU. After all, our relationship with our continental neighbours must be based on trade and goodwill.
By Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport.