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David Cameron called for ‘bonfire’ of EU red tape, new papers reveal

The papers were released under the 30-year rule Photo: David Mirzoeff/PA

A young David Cameron backed calls for a “bonfire” of EU regulations and denounced “Euro red tape” in briefings to MPs, newly-released archive files show.

Papers released by the Conservative Party under the 30-year rule show Mr Cameron’s Euroscepticism while working as a researcher for the Conservative Research Department in 1988, months after he left Oxford University

In a briefing paper on the deregulation of business, the 22-year-old graduate wrote that the efforts of Margaret Thatcher’s government would be “wasted”, if businesses in Britain were then “wrapped in Euro red tape”.

“The completion of the single market will require a substantial volume of new community legislation,” Mr Cameron wrote.

“It is essential that this should not add unnecessarily to the burden of regulation on business.”

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He continued: “Substantial deregulation in the UK is wasted if business is then wrapped in Euro red tape.

“The Government aims to ensure that EC markets continue to be opened up in a way which allows market forces to work and the community as a whole to become more competitive.

“The keynote must be liberalisation.”

Mr Cameron then quotes Sir Geoffrey Howe, then foreign secretary, saying: “We need to see a Europe free of regulations, quotas, licences and restrictions, a bonfire of controls on a European scale even bigger and better than what we have seen in this country.”

Mr Cameron’s briefing papers spanned the subjects of trade and industry and energy and privatisation.

His memoirs are expected to be published later this year.