At the last General Election I made promises to constituents which I am now keeping.
First I pledged that a Conservative Government would hold a referendum on our country's membership of the EU. Parliament has now confirmed that the referendum will be held on June 23rd.
Second I promised that unless our borders could be controlled I would vote to leave the EU. However the Prime Minister's deal is dressed up it does not restore control of EU migration. Many constituents have made it clear to me that they do not have a problem with immigration. We should welcome the skills we need and provide refuge to those that need sanctuary. However they do have a problem with the lack of control over EU migration which impacts on public services like housing, schools and our local health service. I want our country to take back control and have a new relationship with Europe based on trade and co-operation. So I am campaigning with those from all parties and none to Vote Leave.
My position should not be a surprise because I have been a Euro-sceptic throughout my political life. Although I prefer to call myself an EU-sceptic. I embrace many aspects of the European ideal – the prevention of war amongst our nations, advancing peaceful solutions in our broken and troubled world, and even finding the all elusive solution to the migrant catastrophe at our borders and within. But today's EU is not fit to promote these noble ideals. The euro has created economic misery for Europe’s poorest people. European Union regulation has entrenched mass unemployment.
The harsh reality is that the EU is ill equipped to deal with the divergent challenges of economic growth, recession, terrorism and migration. The plight of hundreds of thousands of refugees struggling across Southern Europe can testify to a EU which is not fit for purpose. Far from providing security in an uncertain world, the EU’s policies have become a source of instability and insecurity. The former head of Interpol says the EU’s internal borders policy is “like hanging a sign welcoming terrorists to Europe”.
The EU is an institution rooted in the past and is proving incapable of reforming to meet the big technological, demographic and economic challenges of our time. It was developed in the 1950s and 1960s and is now hopelessly out of date. The EU tries to standardise and regulate rather than encourage diversity and innovation. It has been described as an analogue union in a digital age.
Since Britain signed up to the free trade agreement in 1973, with the help of Maastricht and Lisbon treaties, our membership has snowballed into Britain’s policy on areas as diverse as health, welfare, energy, fisheries, and justice. The costs of our membership has also spiralled amounting to £50 million per day. The EU has become less accountable, more interfering, more damaging to our national well-being, and more eroding of our national sovereignty.
My EU-scepticism is defined not just by what I am against but what I am for. I am for a freer, fairer and better country outside the EU. Great Britain is a global nation – our economy is more dynamic than the Eurozone, we have the most attractive capital city on the globe, the greatest “soft power” and global influence of any state and a leadership role in NATO and the UN. Our nation needs to be a more open free trading nation not just to Europe but the world. Great Britain could play a greater role in the world today unfettered from the burden of our membership of the EU. We can shape an optimistic, forward-looking and genuinely internationalist alternative to the path the EU is going down.
I believe independence would instil a new confidence. We would be in charge of our own destiny again, leading instead of following, thriving rather than surviving.
I believe this referendum is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to choose a brighter, better, and fairer future for our families and our country. For these reasons I will be voting to leave the European Union for an Independent Britain on 23rd June.
David Burrowes MP
Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate
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