Should we stay or should we go? Two views on the forthcoming referendum
Have you made up your mind on whether it will be better to remain in the EU, or leave it altogether? In the run-up to the referendum on 23 June, we asked Leave campaigner Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, and Remain supporter Julie Pörksen, Parliamentary spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats to share their views.
Why we should vote to leave the EU
On 23rd June we will be asked to make a once-in-a-generation choice about the future of our relationship with the EU.
I will be voting for us to leave, so that we can forge new links with the wider world, and take back control of our laws, our immigration policy and our spending from the EU political project which continues to flounder.
Instead of sending £350million per week to the EU, and then reacting with gratitude when it sends some of it back (with strict conditions attached), we can spend that money on farmers, universities, science, technology and public services, via decisions made by UK politicians who can be held to account.
In the case of farmers, the Conservative Government has already pledged that if we vote to leave the EU, UK farmers will receive at least the same level of funding they presently receive, via a system designed for their needs, not their French counterparts.
The UK would regain its seat at the table for crucial negotiations on North Sea quotas and would take back control of fisheries management.
Funding for vital services, whether it be farming or regional development funds, will continue regardless – it is better for Britain if that funding comes from our Government, and is spent in a way that is accountable to the British people.
By voting to leave we would take back control and set up systems that work for our public services and our people.
Without the constraints of EU red tape and without having to funnel huge sums of money through Brussels, we will have the capacity and resources to ensure our farmers are better supported, work up more favourable trade deals, and decide our own migration policy which would enable us to welcome the brightest and best from Europe and the wider world.
The safest option for our future is to vote to leave the EU’s political institutions, and to move forwards without their bureaucracy holding us back.
So many of our laws are decided in Brussels without any accountability to the British people.
We can take back control of our future if we vote to leave the EU. A future beyond the limitations of the EU’s political systems hold so much promise for a strong, outward-facing nation such as ours, and I look forward to campaigning for it in the weeks ahead.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP
Why we should vote to remain in the EU
Prosperity in Britain depends on businesses being able to access markets for products and inputs, capital, and human resources. Being a member of the European Union guarantees that access. Withdrawing from the European Union provides no guarantees on export markets – lengthy trade deals must be negotiated with trading blocs and exports may face tariffs, imports may be so cheap to make businesses unprofitable in some sectors.
In the North East much of our economic investment comes via the EU – with their more regional approach than Westminster, we also benefit by the investment the EU puts into agriculture and rural businesses and communities. Yes this is ‘our’ (British) money coming via the EU, but I very much doubt any Westminster Government would invest in the North East or rural areas to such a degree – risking our prosperity.
There is a tremendous knock-on effect on towns like Amble from being in a prosperous North East. Thanks to the hard work of many people, and the confidence to invest in new businesses, Amble is now a key destination for day-trippers – who want to spend money rather than picnic on the beach. Amble cannot risk a downturn in the spending power of its North East visitors.
European institutions are not perfect, evolving over time to try and respond to the challenges faced by our continent. Change can be slow too, yet appropriate as the long-term nature of some sectors from farming and fishing to energy supply and climate change means quick fixes favoured by Westminster Governments can be about immediate image not future impact.
The biggest challenges we face– climate change, security, financial crises, cyber-crime – can only be countered by working in partnership with other countries. For these threats, within a modern, globalised world, Britain is not an island.
A future of uncertainty, being dependent on the whim of changing Westminster governments for our basic human, working, animal and environmental rights is not healthy for people, businesses, animals or nature.
The future should be full of hope and opportunity – being able to live, work, study and go on holiday across Europe easily, and with full rights, is a great opportunity for the next generation that we should welcome as members of the European Union.
Maximising our future prosperity and opportunity can only be achieved by remaining in the EU.
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson