Way back in 1993 in the House of Commons staff canteen I met Dan Hannan, both of us fresh out of university. He persuaded me Britain needed to quit the EU. Up until that moment, I had thought European unification was a historic mistake, bound to generate stagnation and resentments, but we should try to change it from within. Over that fateful lunch, I became convinced Britain had to leave - and that I had a responsibility to help make it happen.
By the time I was elected as a Tory MP in 2005, I was clear a referendum was needed. But not many MPs agreed.
It was thanks to outside pressure - from the Daily Express and of course Nigel Farage and Ukip - that MPs started to change their minds.
For me, the toughest thing was having to undergo endless sneering TV interviews by broadcasters intent of vilifying