“I have spent my entire political life campaigning for a referendum on our relationship with the EU which is why I was thrilled when David Cameron committed to give the public a say.

I supported The Prime Minister’s efforts to secure a new, more flexible arrangement with the EU but it is now obvious we will never manage to agree a deal which would answer the fundamental questions of sovereignty and repatriation of powers to the UK Parliament.

There are those who want to remain in the EU regardless of a successful outcome to the Prime Minister’s renegotiation and they are entitled to hold that position. But I believe they are misguided and the time has come to have the confidence to chart our own course.

I hope we can have a good mannered debate on our future with the EU and a conclusive outcome which both sides will accept. It is in everyone’s interest to secure the very best outcome for the British people and I believe that will be best achieved in withdrawing from the overbearing EU structures while remaining good neighbours to our European friends.”