As this is the first Wales Office business since the election, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome new and returning Members, especially new Welsh Members. I look forward to working with them all over the next five years in the best interests of Wales.
On the EU referendum, I have been listening to what people and businesses across Wales have to say, and what they want is a less intrusive, less costly and less burdensome membership of the EU. We intend to secure that and deliver an in/out referendum by the end of 2017.
The Secretary of State will focus his reply on the Government’s position. A brief sentence will suffice.
Order. I was being very generous to the Secretary of State, but he must not abuse my generosity. I was trying to be kindly to a new Member.
The right hon. Lady makes an extremely useful and important point. We want the people of the UK to make an evidence-led decision. It is not for the Wales Office to commission such a report, but I suspect that many other independent organisations will be looking at such evidence, and we look forward to seeing the results.
The provisions of the European Union Referendum Bill that relate to the dilution of purdah would apply no less to the Welsh Assembly Government than to Her Majesty’s Government. Will the Secretary of State please undertake to mention that to his right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe so that the people of Wales can expect a fair referendum?
Given that more than 150,000 jobs in Wales depend on our membership of the EU, can the Secretary of State say whether any members of his ministerial team belong to or support the Conservatives for Britain group? What does he have to say to sceptical Government Members about the benefits of EU membership for Wales?
I am absolutely clear: I want to approach the EU referendum campaigning for Britain to stay in a reformed EU. We have huge support from people and businesses across Wales for the Prime Minister’s strategy of seeking a less costly and less intrusive membership of the EU, and one of the most useful things we can do in this House is give him our full-throated support in those renegotiations.