Conservative MP calls on Cameron to guarantee in-out EU referendum to combat UKIP threat

Adam Afriyie: "We need to understand that ignoring UKIP isn’t going to make them go away" Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Conservative MP Adam Afriyie has written about the local election results for ITV News

He says UK Independence Party are making gains at his party's expense because their key issues, Europe and immigration, are resonating with voters.

Here he calls on David Cameron to guarantee in legislation a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union, as one of the measures to combat the threat from UKIP.

No-one can deny that the Conservative party had a bad night in South Shields and as I write, it looks like we are also going to lose a substantial number of local council seats.

It’s clear that many Conservative voters have stayed at home or, in many cases, voted UKIP.

Either we are not yet effectively communicating our national policies or for whatever reason people are no longer hearing or believing what we have to say.

Sometimes nobody can help that – especially mid-term when we need to cut the deficit and take tough actions.

We also need to do more to allow our businesses to invest, create jobs and deliver economic growth because we will be judged on what we’ve actually done in office at the next election.

People are rightly concerned about things like Europe and immigration and that is reflected in the gains made by UKIP.

They are making gains because they only have two issues but they are the issues which chime in rough times – Europe and immigration.

But I am hopeful that we can turn things around and win a majority at the next general election.

But only if we acknowledge how people feel; recognise that they didn’t vote for us because mainstream political parties are failing them.

We need to understand that ignoring UKIP isn’t going to make them go away.

So how do we do this? First, I believe we must put in place the legislation that guarantees an in-out referendum right now.

And I want to see more action on immigration including ensuring that working immigrants are net contributors to Britain.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage arrives in Westminster after a successful night in the local council elections. Credit: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

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Secondly, we need to do more to boost the economy.

We need to learn to love our wealth creators; start celebrating their success and do everything we can to help new businesses start and existing companies expand so that they can hire more staff and contribute more tax to the economy.

It seems to me that things would be rather different at these elections if people knew that economic growth had restarted, Conservatives had put in place the legislation for an in-out referendum and immigration was already falling further because we had implemented bold but sensible solutions.

I know we can get there and continue to build a bright future for Britain as a world-leading nation once again.

Adam Afriyie is the Conservative MP for Windsor in Berkshire. His views do not necessarily reflect those of ITV News.