On June 23rd, we will have the opportunity to decide whether Britain should stay in the European Union or leave. Having considered the deal that the Prime Minister has negotiated, I believe our country would be better off outside the EU.
This is the first time in over 40 years that we have had a say on our country’s relationship with the European Union and David Cameron should be applauded for delivering a referendum and for attempting to get a better deal for Britain.
However, his negotiations with 27 other countries all with their own interests have proven that proper EU reform is undeliverable. The fundamental changes we were promised have not materialised.
I think Britain would be stronger outside the EU.
Over the last six years as an MP, I have on many occasions had meetings with ministers and civil servants to discuss a problem a local employer is having with policy that is threatening jobs and I too often hear the phrase ‘well, it’s EU law Mr Adams and there is nothing we can do about it’.
EU rules have sped up the closure of Kellingley Colliery and several power stations across the country and EU directives continue to threaten jobs right here in the Selby and Ainsty constituency.
Even when our government decides to support businesses like Drax Power Station by helping it convert to biomass, the EU can and does challenge the decision.
At the other end of the scale, I recently received many emails from constituents demanding that the government should scrap the so called ‘tampon tax’ as it discriminated unfairly against young women. What the vast majority of the people who emailed me were unaware of was that Britain has no control over the VAT rates it applies to goods. This power lies with the EU and even if we wanted to change it, we could not have done so.
I could go on but the main issue is: who makes the important decisions which affect everyone in this country? The reality is our laws are decided by politicians from other nations who we never voted for and we can’t even throw them out at election time.
The ‘Remain’ campaign will be a negative one where scaremongering will be commonplace.
Phrases like ‘fear of the unknown’ and a ‘leap into the dark’ will be trotted out regularly.
I am more positive about Britain and its place in the world.
We have the fifth largest economy in the world and I expect our economy will leapfrog over Germany and Japan to rise up the league table even further.
People cannot seriously argue that other countries will not want to trade with us.
We will be able to negotiate trade agreements around the world with nations and regions whose economies are actually growing as well as having our own trade deal with the EU.
Canada is completing a trade deal with the European Union and if Iceland can negotiate a trade deal with China, the world’s second largest economy, then I am sure Great Britain will be able to forge agreements and deals across the globe.
There is also the cost of EU membership.
Over £18 billion a year, that’s £50 million a day. This is an eye-watering sum which could be used to help new business start-ups, help firms break into new markets, and much more.
I want Britain to be able to decide who can and cannot come and live in our country and I want to continue to protect our national security interests which will involve working with the EU in addition to other international organisations.
Leaving the EU does not mean leaving Europe.
Our relationship with Europe is deep rooted and whilst we may not agree on every issue with our European neighbours, we can forge a new relationship based on free trade and cooperation which will be to all our benefits.
Ultimately, the decision will be down to the people of our country but I felt it only right to share my decision to vote to leave with my constituents.
I hope every voter in Selby and Ainsty will listen carefully to the debate on both sides and take part in this once in a generation opportunity to decide our place in the world.
Nigel Adams MP