Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Conservative MP for Surrey Heath
I believe our country would be freer, fairer and better off outside the EU. And if, at this moment of decision, I didn’t say what I believe, I would not be true to my convictions or my country.
By leaving the EU we can take control. Indeed, we can show the rest of Europe the way to flourish.
Instead of grumbling and complaining about the things we can’t change and growing resentful and bitter, we can shape an optimistic, forward-looking and genuinely internationalist alternative to the path the EU is going down.
Political Correspondent at GQ
Why I’m undecided, and fearful that this referendum is going to be ugly
It’s the establishment versus a group of ideologically-motivated career politicians. Colossal egos fighting for our vote to decide whether to remain in, or to leave the European Union. It’s a pity they can’t all lose, such is the disappointing level of the debate so far.
My heart says we should vote to leave, but my head worries about the risks. I’m increasingly alienated by the arguments from both sides. I’m left hoping that both campaigns will radically improve the quality of what is – so far – an exaggerated debate. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I genuinely expect the quality of the arguments to get much better. If the Scottish independence referendum and the referendum on the Alternative Vote show us anything, it’s that referendums are fought with simplistic & misleading claims. Both of those referendums were won by the argument for the status quo, the devil you know. Natural small c conservatism tends to win over the unknown. Without a clearer idea of what a post-Brexit Britain would be like, what sort of arrangement it would have with the EU, and what the costs would be, millions are unlikely to take the leap.
This can’t be a fight as to which is the more patriotic vote: we should assume the best of motives in both campaigns at least until proven otherwise. A debate about patriotism is arid. It isn’t necessarily stupid to support independence from the EU, and it isn’t necessarily cowardly to back the status quo. We can’t have months of namecalling, because the decision is too big for that. I don’t want to watch politicians being rude to one another, I want to see them discussing the geopolitical ramifications of Brexit, the economic alternatives, and portraying their arguments in optimistic good faith.
The Leave team needs to give voters a clear picture of what post-Brexit Britain’s deal with Europe looks like. I want to know clearly what we’d do about the EU being on our doorstep, our biggest trading partner, and the likelihood of still having to accept their rules and regulations without a say. Remain needs to make the case for a peaceful, free and prosperous Europe. Those defending the EU need to address the disconnect that millions feel from the political infrastructure of the European Union. They need to stop the desperate overreliance on fearmongering, and engage with the Brexit campaign’s best arguments, not just their worst ones.
I don’t want to be scared into voting in, and I don’t want to step blindly into independence on the basis of rhetoric. Like many, I don’t want to be patronised over the coming months. I don’t want to watch political spats and witness constant name-calling. I want to be informed.
Economist and Chairman of JML
“Last year, Britain’s contributions to the EU, including everything, amounted in total to almost £20bn. This is money this country can ill afford. Paying £50 million every day to the EU means that, over the last decades, we’ve left ourselves short. We’ve not invested in our infrastructure or stimulated our economy; we’ve not built anywhere near enough new affordable homes or invested in the NHS and public services, nor have we supported the most vulnerable in our society.
“The EU is an organisation with an incredibly expensive membership fee and we pay far more in than we get back – £11.4bn in 2014 alone according to the Office of National Statistics, and on an ever rising trend. But even if the fees were reduced, being a member of the EU still doesn’t make sense.
“I’m not a die-hard ‘outer’ and I’m certainly not denying that in the early years, the EU did some important things right, but the EU is an organisation that has changed out of all recognition. Begun with honourable intentions, today it is an elite, largely self-serving, business and political club. It aspires to enlarge its influence and increase its control. It demands that all member states accede to its wishes. Despite the rhetoric, we have little real influence in the European Parliament as the Eurozone has a permanent majority vote, and we have no veto.
“As it stands, the power to control so many areas of our lives rests in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, central bankers and judges. We can’t control who comes from the EU to live and work in the UK, nor can we control the number or type of new laws imposed on us by Brussels.
“We cannot make our own trade deals outside Europe; we must rely on the EU to strike our free trade deals instead. So while our exports to the EU are stagnating, we cannot backfill with exports to the booming emerging markets. We cannot control the ever-spiralling cost of EU regulations, now costing UK businesses more than £600 million every week. And we will not be able to fully control how much bailout money we pay for other EU countries’ economic mismanagement in the future.
“If we stay in the EU, we’re going to end up throwing good money after bad, allowing ourselves to be controlled by others and dictated to by Brussels. To be assured of a bright future in this unstable world, the UK needs to control its own future; to stand on our own two feet; make agile, flexible decisions that are right for our people and circumstances. If we want to shape our own future and control our own destiny then we must vote to leave the EU on 23rd June.”
Economist and Chairman of JML
Deputy Chair of the Vote Leave campaign
Journalist & Author
@PollstationUK I favour national independence but scorn referendum as way of obtaining it.
— Peter Hitchens (@ClarkeMicah) March 27, 2016
Writing in his column in the Daily Mail:
“David Cameron is dead right that people like me are prepared to pay a pretty stiff economic price, if necessary, for national liberation.
As a great Polish patriotic poet once said: ‘Your nation is like your health – only after you have lost it do you really appreciate its worth.’
I couldn’t care less what the CBI or the TUC or the Bank of England or the British Chambers of Commerce think about the EU. This isn’t a business transaction. You might as well go to the MCC or the British Federation of Lepidopterists, or a convention of stamp collectors, and ask them how to vote.
It isn’t about money or about jobs. It’s an instinct and an intuition. It is about that priceless thing, governing yourself, going out if necessary, into the biting cold – rather than staying warm and comfortable by being someone else’s servant or subject.
Each of us must decide this for himself or herself. If you need to know what anyone else thinks, then you don’t care enough and you’d be better off remaining the obedient citizen of a subject province that pretends to be an independent kingdom. No wonder this is such a dull campaign.”
Author & Journalist
The Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, House of Lords
I will be voting to stay in the EU.
I voted Yes in the 1975 referendum and have seen Europe become even more vital to our future since then.
The first half of the 20th Century saw Europe devastated by two wars between nations of Europe. Since then our common interest and endeavour has resulted in 70 years of peace and prosperity. We are a natural trading unit, have a common heritage and only together can match the growing strength of USA, Russia and China.
The opponents have no clear viable alternative to offer which is why it would be a leap in the dark to leave.
Our mutual interests are best served by working together to secure a safe, secure and prosperous future for our children and grandchildren.
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock
House of Lords, Former MP & MSP
MP for St Helens South and Whiston
“I believe that our membership of the EU is:
“Good for people – for consumer and workers’ rights and for environmental protection.
“Good for St Helens and Whiston – funding projects that connected us to the motorway network and to regenerate our coal mining communities, reclamation and regeneration of derelict industrial land for development of housing, industrial and retail parks.
“Good for Business – affording access to a market of 500 million people and encouraging investment and jobs into the local area.
“The European Union is vital for promoting peace in Europe and a voice for Britain in our globalised world. I am firmly committed to remaining in the European Union.”
Labour Member of Parliament for St Helens South & Whiston
Dr Andy Williamson
“In short, the idea of leaving the EU is somewhere between bat-shit crazy and economic suicide.
Perhaps the most depressing thing is that this referendum, and an entire country’s future, is at risk of being decided through ignorance. Ignorance led by mis-information and a false sense of identity that fails to grasp that this is 2016, not 1816.
We’re being fed a diet of half-truths and outright lies based on short-termism when the real issues are not just complex but fundamental to our economic and geopolitical future.”
– Andy Williamson
Founder @wedemocratise & @DemocracySpace Chair @doituk Governor @demsoc
Read Andy’s full blog post: “10 points to consider about Brexit and the EU Referendum“
Leader of the Labour Party
“Labour believes the European Union is a vital framework for European trade and co-operation in the 21st century and that a vote to remain is in the best interest of our people… but we want a progressive change in Europe to make the EU work for working people.
That includes strengthening workers rights putting jobs and sustainable growth of the heart of EU economic policy, democratisation, and greater accountability of European institutions, and a halt – an absolute halt – to the the pressure to privatise public services by some elements in the European Union.
We are going to be running a Labour campaign which will point out the inadequacies of what he’s done and also explain what a Labour Government will want to see – better workers protection across Europe and better social integration across Europe.”
– Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Labour Party
(various interview sources)
Former Prime Minister
“The right way to have Britain move forward in the future is to keep Britain as part of Europe – its the biggest commercial market in the world, we should remain part of it, remain part of Europe.
Fight for change and reform in Europe, of course, and then focus on the things that really matter in our own economy – and that are going to produce jobs and rises in living standards for the people and prosperity for the future – and not end up engaging in a form of politics that is not just unpleasant but in the end doesn’t really offer solutions to the problems we face.”1)Telegraph / ITN: Tony Blair: Scotland will leave the UK if Brexit happens[[contid]]
“In my opinion… if the United Kingdom votes to leave Europe, Scotland will vote to leave the United Kingdom”.2)Tony Blair: ‘Brexit will lead to Scottish independence’[[contid]]
Former Prime Minister (1997-2007)
|1.||↑||Telegraph / ITN: Tony Blair: Scotland will leave the UK if Brexit happens|
|2.||↑||Tony Blair: ‘Brexit will lead to Scottish independence’|
Chancellor, MP for Tatton
“This would be the very worst time for Britain to take the enormous economic gamble of leaving the European Union.
You’ve seen the value of the pound fall – and it reminds us all that this is not some political parlour game… this is about peoples jobs and their livelihoods and their living standards.
In my judgment as Chancellor, leaving the EU would represent a profound economic shock for our country – for all of us – and I am going to do everything I can to prevent that happening.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer, MP for Tatton
Speaking to the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, 26th Feb 2016
MP for Chesham & Amersham
“The destination that the European Union wishes to reach is one of a federal state called Europe. What this means is that British citizens are being asked to submit to a rule of law set outside this country, no matter what derogations are negotiated. We are losing control over our future and suffering a democratic deficit, with control passing to bureaucrats and even parliamentarians outside the UK.
“I will vote ‘Leave’ because we should have a relationship of equals with Europe, rather than being a powerless child being told what to do by others. We should be able to renegotiate our trading treaties on that basis, not least because Europe sees us as a market for their goods and services. Our security arrangements will not be watered down: we will still be a member of the United Nations, NATO, the Council of Europe, World Health Organisation and other international bodies.
“I am fiercely British and love this country, but I want it to think and act for itself. Conservatives have always eschewed the ‘nanny state’ and we should also reject the ‘European nanny superstate’.”
MP for Chesham & Amersham
MP for Newbury
“One word sums up why I want Britain to stay in the EU: security.
No one campaigning for Britain to leave has made a clear case why by doing so we would be more secure in a world that is more dangerous and competitive than at any period in my lifetime. The leavers have to convince us that we would be better off outside a single market of 500 million people. They have to convince us that weakening the EU at a time when Europe faces unprecedented threats is a good idea.
I sit on the House of Commons Defence Select Committee and I lead the UK delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. It is striking how strongly our allies want us to remain in the EU and how much Britain would be diminished in their eyes if we left. I have heard serious doubts about leaving from diplomats, senior soldiers, sailors, airmen, intelligence experts, and many more. One highly respected Russia expert recently told the Defence Committee “Brexit would be a godsend for Putin”. He explained how a weakened West plays into the hands of a regime that poses a real risk to our security.
There is now a deafening chorus of informed voices against leaving. These include top scientists, servicemen, large and small business managers, academics, farmers and financiers. We need to listen to them but ultimately this is about each one of us and our view of what sort of country Britain should be in the next 30 years. There are plenty of examples in history of countries who have taken a wrong course and paid the price through a decade or more of troubled introspection. I desperately hope that this is not one of those times. Britain has always been pragmatically internationalist; a leader in Europe and on the world stage. This is our time to believe in ourselves as a force for good in a troubled world; a Britain that engages, that leads. Not one that withdraws and by doing so weakens itself and its neighbours.”
Member of Parliament for Newbury
“The choice is in your hands.
But my recommendation is clear.
I believe that Britain will be safer, stronger and better off in a reformed European Union .”
MP for Tooting
“There are many reasons why London continues to be at the heart of world trade — our timezone, our language, our culture and our supportive business environment all play a part. But just as important is the central role we play in Europe.
“Half a million jobs in London directly depend on Europe. As a city we export more than £12 billion a year to Europe, and London is home to the European HQ of 60 per cent of the world’s non-European global businesses. Access to EU markets is crucial to the success of the City of London. That’s why the prospect of Britain leaving Europe is so catastrophic.
“Brexit would jeopardise jobs and growth here and make it harder to start a business. And it’ll maker it easier for criminals and terrorists to wreak havoc on London.
“London is at a crossroads, and the future of our city is at stake. We need a mayor who will campaign for Britain to stay in Europe — and a mayor who will make our city better for all Londoners.”
Labour Candidate for Mayor of London
MP for Tooting
Source and full article in Evening Standard here.
Grassroots Out, or GO for short, is made up of politicians and supporters from across the political spectrum, with a single aim: to get the United Kingdom out of the European Union.
GO, rather than setting up another ‘leave’ campaign, does the reverse. It brings together existing ‘leave’ campaigns and gets them to work as one in local areas. We are an organisation that unites people from all political parties, and none, into one effective anti-EU ground campaign, which is working towards winning the referendum, door by door, vote by vote.
(extract from the Grassroots Out website)
- Peter Bone MP
- Kate Hoey MP
- Tom Pursglove MP
- Nigel Farage MEP
- Sammy Wilson MP
- Philip Hollobone MP
MP for Harrow East
“The EU Referendum which has been scheduled for 23 June 2016 will be a momentous occasion in our nation’s history.
The Prime Minister has secured concessions which would create a ‘special status’ for the UK within the European Union, releasing us from the burden of ever closer union with its member states, providing protections to the City and the possibility of emergency brakes on migration in specific circumstances.
However, I do not feel the concluding deal goes far enough in addressing the main areas of concern for myself and my constituents. Furthermore, I am extremely positive about the prospects of our nation forging closer partnerships with countries like India, Israel, the USA, the wider commonwealth and emerging high performing economies, and at present we are being held back from this ambition by the EU.
We cannot remain within this flawed political union out of fear. This referendum represents a wonderful chance to regain the freedom to make our own trade deals all over the world again, to promote positive migration without discrimination against people from non-EU countries, to control our borders more effectively and to restore the supremacy of British law in our legal system.
This is the positive, optimistic choice for our nation’s future.
As such, I will campaign for the UK to regain its freedom and independence from the European Union and I hope you will consider joining me.”
MP for Harrow East
Technological and economic forces are changing the world fast. EU institutions cannot cope. We have lost control of vital policies. This is damaging. We need a new relationship. What happens if we vote ‘leave’?
We should negotiate a new UK-EU deal based on free trade and friendly cooperation. We end the supremacy of EU law. We regain control. We stop sending £350 million every week to Brussels and instead spend it on our priorities, like the NHS and science research.
We regain our seats on international institutions like the World Trade Organisation so we are a more influential force for free trade and international cooperation.
A vote to ‘leave’ and a better, friendlier relationship with the EU is much safer than giving Brussels more power and money every year.
Chairman: Nigel Lawson
MP for Christchurch
“I am campaigning to leave the EU because I want our country to regain control over its laws, its borders and its destiny. Unfortunately the Prime Minister, in his negotiations, was unable to achieve the reformed EU which we need. Other EU countries proved unwilling even to grant the Prime Minister’s General Election Manifesto promise to remove in-work benefits from EU citizens and to prevent the payment of child benefit for children living outside the United Kingdom.
“The only way that we can now deliver on our promise to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands is to leave the EU. The influx of EU migrants is currently in excess of 200,000 every year. We need to regain control over our own borders.
“During twenty seven years as an MP I have witnessed the steady erosion of the ability of our Parliament to decide its own laws. 60% of our laws are now made in Brussels, most of which are the subject of majority voting. On all of the seventy two occasions when the UK has objected to new EU laws, it has been defeated in the vote. In the European Parliament we have fewer than one in ten of the votes. Therefore, even when all UK MEPs vote together, we are easily outvoted.
“The cost to the United Kingdom of being in the EU, currently £350 million every week (the price of a new hospital), will inevitably increase if we remain.
“To sum up, the fundamental reason that I look forward to the United Kingdom leaving the EU is that I am an optimist believing that the fifth largest economy in the world, a member of the UN Security Council, leading member of NATO and the G7 can best look after its own interests free from the interfering bureaucracy of Brussels. Global trade is vital for our future prosperity. As the EU receives an ever smaller part of that trade, we need the freedom to make our own deals with the growing economies of the world.”
MP for Christchurch
Ex Leader of the Lib Dems
“Being part of Europe protects the rights of families, workers and minorities. It creates and supports jobs, while boosting the economy. Together we are taking great strides towards tackling carbon emissions and global warming.
We simply cannot afford to pursue a course of isolationism, and put at risk the economy, the UK’s influence on the world stage, and our national security.
What is at risk here is that we lose the “Great” in Great Britain – both metaphorically and literally. To leave would be a denial of our whole history of international engagement in favour of a retreat to lonely isolationism. It would also, in all probability unleash a process which would lead to the dismemberment of the Union itself.”
Paddy Ashdown, Ex Leader of the Lib Dems, House of Lords
MP for St Austell and Newquay
I will be voting to leave the EU.
The [Prime Minister’s] deal is undoubtedly a significant improvement from the status quo; many individual issues were addressed, but it falls woefully short of the visionary fundamental reform that I had hoped to see.
This is a missed opportunity to change the EU into an effective and efficient organization, working to improve the lives of all of its citizens. Interestingly the UK is not alone in the wish for reform; there are reports that other member countries are now trying to secure similar changes.
The EU remains dominated by those countries that wish to see the “ever-closer Union.” These countries expect that the deal should mark the end of the UK’s attempts to steer Europe in a different direction and to secure special opt outs. In my view this is only the beginning of much needed reform, not the end.
It is clear to me that the EU is no longer working in the UK’s best interests. It is time for our paths to diverge; outside of the EU we will continue to build our economy, secure the safety of our citizens, and play a role in the other global institutions such as NATO and the UN. The remainder of the EU will be free to work to towards the goal of ever-closer union without us.
The future is uncertain and no one can predict what the EU will look like in five or 10 years’ time. The migrant crisis, slow growth, economic instability in the Eurozone and political changes in individual countries, create a very real risk that remaining in could drag our country down.
By far the biggest risk in my opinion, is staying in an EU which is increasingly having to deal with crisis after crisis, most of its own making. The Eurozone meltdowns have caused economic hardship with up to 50% youth unemployment in Greece, Spain and Italy.
I believe we have now reached a point where the cost and negative impact of being in the EU outweigh the benefits. While the UK is a net contributor to the EU, Cornwall has been a net receiver. Over the last few years many millions of pounds have flowed into Cornwall. Unfortunately these funds often come with restrictions that make them difficult to access and directly benefit the people of Cornwall. Outside the EU we would be able to better manage and target the areas that need support without being constrained by EU rules.
Additionally, our economy has been further harmed at the hands of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. This piece of legislation is quite frankly not fit for purpose and certainly does not give our hard working fishing communities their fair share of catch quotas compared to many other countries in Europe.
For many, immigration is an important factor in the European debate. For me, it is an issue that goes far beyond our membership of the EU and, although it has a bearing on this debate, it is not one that would be resolved simply by the UK leaving the EU. We will have emigration and immigration issues whether inside or outside the EU. The modern global economy will continue to require the movement of labour around the world for all sorts of reasons. In sensible numbers, migration enhances economic efficiency and is socially and culturally enriching.
Currently we have no control over migrants coming from the EU. This is putting a strain on local infrastructure and services that cannot plan or prepare for the numbers of people arriving. Outside the EU we would be able to set our own rules.
It is important to remember that the ultimate decision on the EU does not lie with the politicians. This will be an opportunity for the people of this country to have their say on our future relationship with the EU for the first time in 40 years and I will be voting to leave.
MP for St Austell and Newquay
Columnist & Presenter
Extract from his column in The Sunday Times on 13th March 2016:
“Whether I’m sitting in a railway concourse in Brussels or pottering down the canals of southwestern France or hurtling along a motorway in Croatia, I feel way more at home than I do when I’m trying to get something to eat in Dallas or Sacramento. I love Europe, and to me that’s important.
I’m the first to acknowledge that so far the EU hasn’t really worked. We still don’t have standardised electrical sockets and every member state is still out for itself, not the common good. This is the sort of thing that causes many people to think, “Well, let’s just leave and look after ourselves in future.” I get that I really do.
. . . Isn’t it better to stay in and try to make the damn thing work properly? To create a United States of Europe that functions as well as the United States of America? With one army and one currency and one set of values?
So how do we turn Europe form the shambles that it is now into the beacon of civilisation that it could be in the future?
The answer I think lies in the press. . . [let’s] concentrate our big guns on the real decision makers in Brussels. Let’s make them accountable. Let’s turn them from “faceless bureaucrats” into household names.
That is the biggest problem with the EU right now. . . . It’s why we need to stay in. So our famously attentive media can try to . . . make the Continent work the way the Continent should – as a liberal, kind, balanced fulcrum in a mad world that could soon have Trump on one side and Putin on the other.”
“The Nation’s favorite motoring journalist”
Read his column at the The Sunday Times.
Common Councilman, City of London
“We should leave the European Union. Britain will flourish in a global trading environment, and we can spend the money that we fritter away on the EU much more effectively at home. Our future is much more secure and positive outside the failing EU.”
Common Councilman, City of London
First Minister of Scotland
“The Scottish government believes that EU membership is in the best interests of Scotland.
“As such, the Scottish government will make a positive, constructive case for remaining in the EU.
“I believe that we benefit from being part of the EU, and the EU benefits from having us a part of it.
“For more than 40 years, membership of the European Union has been good for the prosperity and well-being of individuals, families and communities across the country.”
MP for Wokingham
I want to restore our democracy. We need to take back control. We need to control our own borders, so we decide who to invite here and how many migrants we can accommodate to decent standards. We need to control our own welfare system, so we decide how much to pay to people and who to give benefits, free health care and housing to when they come to our country. We need to control the taxes we levy, instead of having to impose EU taxes like VAT on items we do not want to tax. We need to control how we generate our energy, so we can have more lower priced energy to tackle fuel poverty and help our industry.
As our Prime Minister has shown, we cannot make basic or minor changes in many of these areas. We have to ask the permission of 27 other countries, and they often say No. They want to go on a wild ride to political union. That is not where the UK wishes to go, so we should leave and not stand in their way. Our trade is not at risk, as they sell us more than we sell them. Out of the EU the UK will have more influence in the world, as we will regain our seats and votes on a range of international bodies which the EU has taken away from us. Out of the EU we will have £10 billion more of our own money to spend, the money we send to them and do not get back. We can lift austerity, and as Lord Rose, the Head of the Stay in campaign has said, we will have higher wages as well as we cut the numbers of people coming to accept lower wages for low and unskilled jobs.
Member of Parliament for Wokingham
MEP for Yorkshire & Humber
“The upcoming referendum is not Yes or No to Cameron’s reforms — it is a vote on the much bigger question of whether Britain should walk out of the European Union. And it is in Britain’s vital interest to stay at the heart of the EU, to secure British jobs, protect our national security and strengthen the rights of workers, consumers and the environment.”
Richard Corbett MEP
Yorkshire & Humber MEP. Deputy Leader of Labour MEPs
House of Lords
“This really is a one in a lifetime decision and I have held a consistent view about the kind of reforms that I believe the European Union needs – and the EU’s leaders have for the moment set their face against those reforms; and if there aren’t going to be those reforms – if it’s going to continue to be the flawed and failing project it now is, I believe we are better out than in.
[The EU] did come back to Ireland and to Denmark… I think the very various factors that make it certain that we would thrive on our own: the fact the fact we are the fifth biggest economy in the world; the fact that we are the biggest military power in Europe, the fact that our institutions are more stable and deeply rooted in any other European country; and the fact that we are the second largest contributor to the EU’s budget…
All those factors mean that we would be sorely missed if we did leave, and so I think there is a significant chance that they will come back and say let’s talk some more, and let’s see if we can reach an agreement which would enable the British people to vote to remain.”
– Michael Howard
House of Lords, Conservative
(Television Interview, via Daily Mail)
BeLeave is the group representing young people in the campaign for a ‘leave’ vote in the EU referendum.
We believe in an optimistic vision of Britain and we hope to inspire a generation to make an informed and rational choice. We want to put forward the optimistic case for leaving – a truly global community, unlimited employment opportunities and a future with unleashed potential.
Director of Communications and Strategy for PM Tony Blair ('97-'03)
I am very much in the IN camp.
For years the debate on Europe in the UK has been skewed by a viciously biased press owned by a small number of largely foreign and/or tax avoiding media owners, and an inability of the Tory Party to come to a sensible agreement on Europe. Many of the arguments put forward by the OUT camp are myths and caricatures.
For me, this is about peace, prosperity and power. A Europe defined by war and conflict has seen relative peace, and the EU has helped deliver that, and can continue to do so in the face of a resurgent Russia or a global terrorist threat. The biggest single market in the world has been a considerable creator of prosperity. And the UK’s power increases rather than decreases as a result of the role we play in international organisations.
I thought David Cameron put it well when he said Brexit will deliver ‘an illusion of increased sovereignty, but in reality much less power.’
An OUT vote is not just a vote for uncertainty and insecurity. It is a vote to shrink British power. Power which will shrink further when, if we do leave, Scotland will almost certainly hold another independence referendum of its own, and vote to leave the UK. The UK out of Europe, and Scotland out of the UK, and we risk becoming a historic relic rather than a proud, strong, confident country capable of continuing to shape the world.
Leader of the House of Commons
“A vote to remain isn’t a vote for things the way they are today.
“It’s a vote to be part of a relentless march of Europeanisation, with us less and less able to decide what’s good for Britain.”
Leader of the House of Commons
As quoted in the Daily Express
Deputy Chief Executive, Universities UK
There is overwhelming support for continued European Union membership from universities. The EU provides unique support that makes our world renowned universities even stronger, enhancing teaching and research and increasing our positive impact on the economy and society.
Many of the opportunities and challenges we face today – from space exploration to climate change to fighting disease are global not national. In the EU we are better able to collaborate with the best minds from across Europe and beyond to carry out cutting edge research. This leads to innovations and discoveries that boost our economy, create jobs and improve people’s lives. The EU provides a unique single framework for collaboration, reducing the bureaucracy associated with bringing together players from different countries, all with their own rules and regulations to comply with. With EU support European researchers can pool their knowledge, infrastructure, data and resources to achieve more together than they could do alone.
Our membership of the EU makes the UK a more attractive destination for global talent. 15% of academic staff at British universities are from other EU countries and over 125,000 of our students. Among them are some of the most talented and productive researchers working in the UK. British students benefit from being taught by the best minds from across Europe.
Our membership of the EU is good for our universities, good for British students and good for research that improves people’s lives. This should matter to everyone because universities are about the future prosperity of the UK – driving the economy, creating jobs and enhancing our society.
Deputy Chief Executive, Universities UK
British Influence believes that British membership of the EU makes us a stronger, more secure, more influential and richer country.
Our prosperity is inextricably linked to world markets. Being in the EU Single Market attracts investment from outside the EU and gives the UK greater clout when negotiating new trade deals with the rest of the world
Our security is enhanced by working together with our EU partners. Only through cooperation can we overcome the global threats posed by organised crime, terrorism and rogue states
Our society is strengthened through our involvement with Europe. Together we are building a more open, peaceful and prosperous world
(Extract from the British influence website)
“At the heart of this referendum is a question about the kind of Britain we want to live in. We believe Britain should be an open, liberal and tolerant nation.
Being in Europe has ensured, and promoted, continued peace for more than 60 years., we are more prosperous, we are safer and we are better prepared to tackle global challenges when we’re working together with our European neighbours.
#INtogether is the fastest growing grassroots and community led campaign fighting to keep the UK a thriving and leading member of Europe.
We have never been a nation of quitters. Let’s keep leading the way, let’s stay #INtogether.”
The INtogether Campaign
Chairman of Stronger In Campaign
After years in business running companies like Marks & Spencer, it is very clear to me that Britain is stronger, safer and better off in Europe. Our place in the world’s largest single market creates jobs, widens opportunities for business and keeps prices low in the shops. Those who want us to leave have no clear view how we could retain these economic benefits if we left.
Chairman of Britain Stronger In Europe
“People talk about the EU as though it has some enormous tariff wall around it, which is absolutely not the case – the average tariff is about 3% so many countries that are not in the EU trade very successfully with it.
Switzerland is not a member of the EU – it exports more per capita to the EU than we do – it’s more integrated into the EU. Perhaps more tellingly though is the United States – the United States actually sells more to the EU than Britain does, both in goods and services – so this idea you cant sell into something without being a member of it is completely false – everyone has access to the EU and it doesn’t have a large tariff barrier around it.”1)Belfast Telegraph: Video: Ex-Tory chancellor Norman Lamont backs EU exit[[contid]]
“Supporters of the EU demand to know what sort of agreement Britain would have with the EU in order to continue trading . . . What is forgotten is that the EU needs an agreement just as much as we do. German car manufacturers can’t be left up in the air, not knowing the terms on which they can export to their largest market, the UK. There’s a mutual need.”2)CityAM: Former Conservative chancellor Norman Lamont backs Brexit arguing EU needs an agreement as much as UK does[[contid]]
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer (1990-1993)
|1.||↑||Belfast Telegraph: Video: Ex-Tory chancellor Norman Lamont backs EU exit|
|2.||↑||CityAM: Former Conservative chancellor Norman Lamont backs Brexit arguing EU needs an agreement as much as UK does|
MP for Newport West
Wales and the City of Newport are beneficiaries of EU membership.
As a child of the war, I welcome the close friendship of EU nations that have ended the deadly hatreds of the past.
MP for Newport West
MP for North West Leicestershire
“We have nothing to fear from a British Exit from the European Union. Now the Prime Minister has concluded his negotiations, you will be subjected to a campaign of fear and myth as those wedded to the failing European project seek to scare you into a vote for remain.
I have been a Eurosceptic for many years and fought against proposals to join the Euro more than a decade ago. It is widely accepted that joining the Euro would have been an economic disaster for this Country given the recent issues in the Eurozone, yet the same people who said our economy could not survive if we didn’t join the Euro are now saying a vote for exit would be a disaster. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.
[On] the issue of trade and the single market. There are two striking facts, firstly the UK is the 5th largest economy in the world. Secondly we buy far more from the EU than they buy from us, £59 billion more in 2014 to be exact. The pro Europeans like to run us down as an insignificant island that cannot cope on its own without the guiding hand of Brussels. If that were true, how does it explain the £24 billion trade surplus the UK has with non EU Countries i.e The rest of the world.
. . . If we withdraw from the EU, is it credible for the remaining members who make a net £60 billion from the UK to refuse to trade or that they would wish to impose taxes and tariffs. BMW, Audi, VW and Mercedes sold over 600,000 cars in the UK in 2014. Are these companies going to stand for the EU restricting their trade with the world’s 5th biggest economy? Of course not, especially when you consider the current precarious economic situation in the EU.
When you hear the argument that 3 million British jobs are dependent on EU trade, also bear in mind that 5 million European jobs are dependent on selling goods to the UK .
[My] message is: do not be taken in by the arguments of scare and fear. A British exit will not result in war, millions of job losses, recession or isolation. The European project is doomed to failure with the migrant crisis proving how divided its Countries are, and the dominance of Germany. The economic union has brought the EU to its knees ,the Schengen free movement area encouraged huge unsustainable population movements and an ever closer political union threatens something even worse.”
MP for North West Leicestershire
Extract taken from his full statement here.
Better Off Out
Voting to leave the European Union would allow the United Kingdom to regain the freedom to make our own laws, control our national borders and to generate more jobs. It would also ensure that our money is spent in the UK for the benefit of the UK.
Leaving the European Union is the only way to ensure that the people of the UK have a bright future. The EU is an outdated and scloritic set of institutions that is holding us back. Studies have shown that, in control of our own affairs, we would be Better Off Out. It’s time to take back control. It’s just common sense.
Rory Broomfield, Director of the “Better Off Out” Campaign and The Freedom Association
Our politicians say this country isn’t good enough; too small to make a difference in the world. We say they have lost confidence in our country.
“It’s time to be a bigger part of the world rather than a smaller part of Europe. We believe Britain could do so much better outside of the EU”.
(Extract from Leave.eu website)
Author, IDRC Scholar & SDPI fellow
The United Kingdom should stay with the European Union.
It is understandable that the European Union is having harsh time dealing with numerous crises, but the Great Britain as a big brother, should not let the pain break the bonds. Together stronger, the European Union can deal with economic, migration, unemployment and many other crises, every member faces. The United Kingdom has always been a great nation and let’s not question that greatness by voting out.
The European Union needs the United Kingdom; the members look at the United Kingdom, as the big brother and voting out will take away the respect and hope.
It is a difficult time and we need to make sure that our judgments and decisions will not be because of our temporary and current situation. It has to come from heart and from mind.
Author, IDRC Scholar, SDPI fellow & Sr. Manager @ Internews International
MP for Witham
Speaking to The Sunday Times on 13th March 2016:
“We are not in control of who comes to our country from the EU. . . the public wants to take back control of our borders. Europe’s borders are porous. That’s a fact. The sooner our leaders acknowledge that the better.
There are no systematic checks for people that are moving through. With Turkey (in reference to the new deal for visa-free access), we don’t know who they are, why they are coming here. Effectively the EU has extended its border to Syria, and with that comes huge security concerns and risks. There is no doubt at all about that.”
On domestic matters: “We’ve had huge pressure on public services. It’s access to the NHS, school places, housing issues as well. If we take back control over our finances, we can spend that money on key public services.
I’m a Minister in the Department for Work and Pensions. Everything we have done over the past five or six years with our welfare reforms has been focused on getting people back into work. It’s completely wrong to suggest that jobs will be at risk (referring to comments made by David Cameron) . . . It is wrong to use this debate to continuously paint doomsday scenarios because its misleading to the public.”
Conservative MP for Witham
Original article in The Sunday Times
Spokesperson for #INtogether & MEP
The Liberal Democrats are the most outward-facing of all the UK parties – being internationalist is in our DNA.
In Europe, Britain can thrive. Working with our neighbours we can continue to prosper and be seen as a leading player on the global stage, respected all over the world.
In Europe we have delivered decades of peace, opportunities for future generations, a single market for businesses to grow into, environmental protections to tackle issues like poor air quality and the ability for police forces to capture some of the world’s most dangerous criminals and extradite them to face justice.
These are cross-border issues – international crime, climate change – these don’t stop at the White Cliffs of Dover. Only by standing tall in Europe can the UK play a leading role in shaping its future.
We’re making the patriotic case. Don’t be mistaken – the outers would have you believe patriotism is traditionalism. No one can turn back time but we can look confidently into the future.
I’m sick of nationalists claiming the UK and the union flag for themselves. The union flag is our flag and we will be reclaiming it for our campaign to keep Britain at the heart of Europe.
Of course that’s not to say we Liberal Democrats see Europe as perfect – as liberals we’re naturally sceptical of power and want to work to improve those institutions which govern us.
We want to see our country leading reforms in Europe. We want red-tape for smaller businesses reduced. We want to see greater transparency in all decision making processes so people in the UK don’t feel decisions are made behind closed doors and we want to see the single market fully completed to allow all businesses access to tariff-free trade.
And these aren’t unrealistic reforms. Our own former MEPs including Sharon Bowles made great strides in reducing red tape during the last parliament.
Decision making processes are becoming more and more transparent – take TTIP – the Liberal Trade Commissioner has ensured key documents are now made publicly available – this is the most transparent trade deal to date.
What’s more, the single market is continually growing but we want to see it rolled out in all areas – including digital – to ensure all British businesses have the level playing field of the single market open to them.
Let’s keep leading the way, let’s stay #INtogether.
Catherine Bearder MEP
Spokesperson for #INtogether campaign & MEP for the South East of England
Journalist and Educationalist
“I’m in favour of Brexit because I don’t want to see Britain’s sovereignty eroded any further.
The so-called protections David Cameron has secured aren’t legally binding and given how contemptuously the other EU leaders have treated Britain during this negotiation I shudder to think how they’d treat us if we vote to remain in.
I believe the choice we face on June 23rd is not between independence and a continuation of the status quo, with Britain enjoying a semi-detached relationship with the EU in perpetuity, but between independence and full political and economic union. Anyone who values self-determination, should vote to leave.”
My latest article in the Spectator: Boris Johnson is a mixture of principle and opportunism, just like every politician
MP for Dover & Deal
“The European Union is far from perfect. Yet within it we are still able to grow strongly and benefit from the customs union, as our economic record shows. We benefit from greater certainty as regards border security. For sure the French could cancel the treaty at any time. Yet the risk they would do so is far greater were we to leave Europe. Finally within Europe, no-one doubts our commitment to the security of the European continent.
Were we to to leave, we may very well continue to enjoy economic success. We might persuade the French that they would prefer to keep our border at Calais. We could even persuade President Putin of our continued commitment to the security of Europe. Yet there is great risk and uncertainty in all these matters. It is for these reasons that I currently intend to vote to stay in the European Union.”1)Extract from Charlies Elphicke: Our borders will be safer and more secure in the European Union[[contid]]
MP for Dover & Deal
|1.||↑||Extract from Charlies Elphicke: Our borders will be safer and more secure in the European Union|
MP for Washington and Sunderland West
“UK jobs and businesses, large and small, are dependent on trade with Europe. Britain is a proud trading nation with almost half of our exports going to EU countries – worth £337 billion last year to the UK economy. We also receive on average £26.5 billion of investment every year from other EU countries. Further EU trade could create 790,000 more jobs by 2030 by opening up markets in digital services, energy and tourism.
“My constituency of Washington and Sunderland West, and the surrounding areas, greatly benefit from our membership of the European Union. The North-East is the only regional net exporter in the UK to Europe, receiving significant investment from EU budgets to address social issues and invest into our economic future but also the large companies from all over the world who choose to base their companies in our region, such as Nissan in my constituency, and recruit and train a local workforce and bring much-needed growth to the region due to the benefits of being within the European Single Market.
“The opportunity to vote in a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU may never occur in our lifetime again. That is why I will campaign, with Britain’s best interest in mind, to remain in the European Union so that we can see the economic prosperity that we desperately need.”
MP for Washington and Sunderland West
MP for Brentford & Isleworth
‘I have always been a firm supporter of the European Union because of the incredible number of social and economic benefits it brings to the UK.
The benefits of staying in are huge, a stronger economy, closer relationships with our European allies and workplace rights for hardworking people.
The EU is important for the safeguarding of our environment and environmental policies and in my constituency, in west London we cannot underestimate the importance of EU air quality legislation for our future health. I believe we must be at the table negotiating the best deal for Britain in the EU and it is easier to do that when we have representation in its decision making bodies, which we would lose if we were to leave the union.
In the next few months we must ensure we outline the positive case for European Union membership so that people truly understand what the EU has done for us.’
MP for Brentford & Isleworth
“I believe that students have a vital role to play in this referendum.
Not only because it’s clear that an exit from the EU would massively impact on UK higher and further education, but because students should be active citizens in society, and must shape the debate that influences this referendum.
But if we want students to contribute to this debate, we have to reframe the narrative that surrounds it. In addition, UK students currently benefit from the markedly cheaper or free tuition fee levels across most of Europe, but withdrawing from the EU would increase the cost of study in Europe, further limiting the attractiveness of outward mobility for UK students and making sure studying in Europe is only accessible to well off students.
Free movement holds benefits not just for the individual but for society and the economy – outward student mobility is essential in preparing students for an ever expanding global workplace and ensuring the UK is able to actively participate in this global economy. As attractive as that may sound to some Universities in the UK, overreliance on international student fees as a source of income is already unsustainable, and given the stark contrast in tuition cost to the rest of Europe, it’s likely that if charged international student fees, recruitment of EU students would fall drastically.
However, it’s not just the financial implications on EU students that would likely drive a reduction in student recruitment. Whilst many students may have taken the EU for granted until now, I can guarantee that the prospect of hiked air fares and the loss of the easy inter-rail experience would be enough of an incentive for even the most cynical students to take an interest.
And so the debate around our continued membership of the EU has to begin talking to young people and students about the issues they care about – their future work opportunities, the continued protection of their rights, the cultural and social opportunities abroad.
But my generation must now also sit up and listen, before this decision is made for them.”
President of National Union of Students Wales @NUSWales
MP and Mayor of London
“I love Europe, I love Brussels and I love European culture and civilisation – most of us are products of that civilisation, and that’s a fantastic thing. But there should be no confusion between the wonders of Europe with a political project which is basically been going on now for decades – which I now think is in real danger of getting out of proper democratic control. That is my view.
When people talk about sovereignty – this is not something possessed by politicians – its the ability of the public to control their lives and to make sure that the people they elect are able to pass the laws that matter to them. And the trouble is with Europe is that is very greatly being eroded. And we’re seeing that more and more over employment, border controls, human rights, over all sorts of stuff. You’ve got a supreme judicial body in the European Court of Justice that projects down on 550 million people a single unified judicial order from which there is absolutely no recourse, no comebacks. And in my view that has been getting out of control – there’s too much judicial activism and too much legislation coming from the EU.
Its my view that after 30 years of writing about this, we have a chance to actually do something about this. I would like to see a new relationship based more on trade, on cooperation – but much less of this supranational element.
I want a better deal for the people of this country – to save them money and to take back control.
[Those favouring Brexit] are portrayed as crazy, crackers, and all the rest of it… I don’t mind… I happen to think that I am right. It’s a very difficult case to make, I’ve thought an awful lot about it – for many, many years, and I don’t see how having worried about this issue for quite so long – and having fulminated about the lack of democracy in the EU – I can pass up what I think will be the only chance any of us have in our lifetimes to put an alternative point of view.”
Addressing the media on 21st February 2016
Former presidential and government adviser
The reason why Britain needs to leave the EU is that it has been turned into a political entity without consulting the British people, when the treacherous pro-EU clique within the John Major cabinet, including Mr Major himself, simply decided to sign up to the Maastricht Treaty in February 1992, without asking the nation through a referendum and thus basically agreeing to create a political union within the trading bloc.
In fact, this alone should make the current Lisbon Treaty that underpins and governs the EU technically illegal, as it was developed on the founding principle of political integration that the British nation never accepted.
A trading bloc does not need to be a political union as well. Especially when the whole organisation is unaccountable and is known to meddle in national affairs of its members. Not forgetting that none of the past 20 budgets of the EU have been signed off by auditors on the basis of lack of transparency and obvious misuse of funds which makes the EU an entity mired in corruption and guilty of abuse of its powers.
What is even worse is that the economic and financial sides of the EU are obviously run by people who are alien to the concept of the free market and fair play and are not just mismanaging the economy but are using subsidies to undermine any competition from outside and keep failed industries afloat, like it is happening now with the banking industry that is getting an injection of around 70 billion euros a month that are channelled to banks through buying up government and other bonds at inflated prices from them, using newly printed money by the ECB.
Britain has no place in a political union that has been moulded into a monstrous Soviet Union type of entity and which is not just incompetent in running its affairs but poses a direct threat to its democracy and institutions of power.
Former presidential and government adviser
MP for Vauxhall
“The EU grows ever more remote, and unresponsive to the interests and needs of the British public. I believe that it is undemocratic and unreformable and costs us far too much.
Rather than being stuck as “little europeans”, I want us to look outward to the world, trading with growing economies and taking back the power to make our own decisions that will help to restore public faith in our democracy.”
Labour MP for Vauxhall
Former Prime Minister
An extract from his article in The Telegraph on 19th March 2016.
“The Referendum decision on 23 June is not a prelude to further negotiation. It will be final. Our nation can either decide to be true to our history – and remain outward-looking internationalists on the world stage – or shrink to lower prominence.
“It will be a fateful choice: Great Britain or Little Britain.
“As our children and grandchildren look back at this pivotal moment in our history, I hope they can be proud that, in a world of uncertainties – of Daesh, of Syria, of Putin’s Russia – our country did not turn its back on Europe and cripple its authority, but chose to remain in it, reform it, and play our part in maximising British influence and European power for the common good.”1)Telegraph: Voting to leave will poison Europe and divide West[[contid]]
Former Conservative Prime Minister (1990-1997)
|1.||↑||Telegraph: Voting to leave will poison Europe and divide West|
Respect Party Leader
“. . . the UK should be able to decide for itself how many immigrants we have, who we deport, what the levels of taxation are and what our foreign policy should be.
. . . the EU is built on neo-liberal economic principles which are iron-clad and unchangeable . . . only Brexit would deliver true democracy for British voters.
We want our people to choose our government and thus our direction. I’d rather take my chance with changing things in Britain than waiting for change in Bulgaria or in Poland or in Germany.
The people of Greece were crushed underfoot by this neo-liberal consensus on which the EU and its main institutions are built. Portugal actually elected a majority of left-wing MPs and the president of Portugal was told by the European Union ‘you mustn’t summon these people to your palace and ask them to form a government’ . . . this is unconscionable. I don’t want us to suffer the same fate as them.”1)Politics Home: George Galloway: Why I’m backing Brexit[[contid]]
Respect Party Leader & Candidate for Mayor of London 2016
|1.||↑||Politics Home: George Galloway: Why I’m backing Brexit|
MP for Llanelli
The debate over Britain’s membership of the EU is often conducted in a way that feels detached from our everyday lives. It is easy for us to talk glibly about how the EU supports some 200,000 jobs in Wales. The harsh reality is that, if we were to leave the EU, many of those jobs would disappear. Many workers would face redundancy and our young people would find it much harder to get a job or an apprenticeship locally.
This is not empty scaremongering: workers here in my constituency of Llanelli have seen how our big-name manufacturing plants already compete internally within their own companies for new investment against their sister sites elsewhere in continental Europe, and, if we were to leave the EU, we’d soon see companies ceasing to invest here, increasing their output in mainland Europe, moving production lines and running down their UK operations. Why would they want to remain in an isolationist UK with a market population of a mere 60 million, when it is precisely because we are a member of the EU that many companies have chosen to locate in Wales, giving them access to the largest single market in the world with a total population of over 500 million?
But we should always be seeking to improve the way government and our institutions work, and the EU is no exception. The importance of the Prime Minister’s negotiation is not so much the detail, but the very fact that when the UK really wants to get stuck in, reform is possible, and, moreover, the UK still has a lot of influence in Europe. But to wield that influence, you have to stay in there, you have to keep your seat at the top table. I want to safeguard jobs in the UK, so I shall be voting to stay IN the EU.
M.P. for Llanelli & Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
MP for Richmond Park
“The most important characteristic of any democracy is that it should be possible for voters to evict those who act in their name. The EU fails on that test. Real power in Brussels rests in institutions that are accountable to no one.
“David Cameron promised to reform our relationship with the EU, and then put those reforms to the British people in a referendum, and for my part, I am grateful to him for restoring so many people’s faith in politics. Whatever Britain decides, he will go down in history as the Prime Minister who finally empowered the British people.
“I commend him for his efforts, but the deal on the table does not go far enough, and given that even in the face of the UK voting to leave, the EU is unwilling to entertain meaningful reform, it is unlikely we will see anything more in the years to come.
“So I believe we would be better off out of the EU, and I will be voting to leave.”
Conservative candidate for Mayor of London
MP for Richmond Park
Source and full article in City AM here.
UKIP Leader & MEP
MP for Truro and Falmouth
“There is no doubt in my mind that the ruling elite of the European Union have become so detached that people are turning their backs in droves. There is a group of European countries that have the political will to continue with the Euro and ever closer union and consequently will make decisions that will eventually lead them to resemble something like the United States of America. I also think that there will be member States who will be part of a looser European Union with mutual interests of trade and security at its core. I believe the interests of the British people are best served by being part of this kind of European Union.
It is significant that David Cameron has won the argument that a member State can be part of the European Union without having to become a fully integrated member of a European Union moving towards a United States of Europe with a common currency. It has also been accepted that, having negotiated this special status, our vitally important industries will not be discriminated against.
If we leave, we will still be trading and working alongside the European Union but we wouldn’t have a say about the rules. As our major allies and some of our most important trading partners have already warned, outside the European Union we would lose influence.
I hope people of all ages and walks of life will get involved with this question, the biggest we will be asked to decide on for a long time and one which will fundamentally affect our futures and the futures of generations to come.
I hope that the result of the referendum will be that we will remain in the European Union and that we will do so as a constructive, challenging, partner with renewed confidence in our ability to lead Europe on the massive challenges it faces – global migration, climate change, demographic change, sustainable economic growth, financial stability and threats to our liberty and way of life.”1)Sarah Newton: Extract from Should we stay or should we go[[contid]]
MP for Truro and Falmouth
|1.||↑||Sarah Newton: Extract from Should we stay or should we go|
CBI Campaigns Director
UK businesses want to see changes to the EU that will put Europe on the path to a more competitive and prosperous future – the Prime Minister’s reform package is an important step forward on that journey.
The British public will take many factors into account as they head to the ballot box but the impact on the economy, jobs and growth will be high on that list.
The CBI’s role will be to inform the upcoming debate with evidence, balanced argument and the views and experiences of businesses across the UK. Our relationship with 190,000 firms of all sizes and from all sectors gives us a unique insight into what a choice to leave or stay will mean for future UK prosperity.
Most CBI members – though not all – have told us that being in a reformed EU is better for their business and better for jobs and growth. With a final deal now in place, we will now ask for their views once again.
For business, being part of the single market is the most significant benefit of EU membership. It provides guaranteed tariff–free access to 500 million consumers and has been a cornerstone of the UK’s economic success in recent decades. It gives firms the ability to influence European product standards and the rules that affect them, and allows the UK to make the most of the leverage of the whole EU in negotiating better trade deals with the rest of the world.
Overall, the UK has prospered within the EU and the benefits of membership would be difficult if not impossible to replicate from the outside. All current models, such as those of Switzerland and Norway, have serious drawbacks. These models would give the UK no influence on European market rules despite being bound by them, little or no reduction in commitment to free movement of labour, and require ongoing contributions to the EU budget.
The challenge for those wishing to leave is to be clear and credible on what the UK’s future relationship would look like outside the EU and how it would lead to greater prosperity, jobs and growth in the years ahead.
Andy Bagnall, Campaigns Director
MP For Poole
The Prime Minister has wisely decided to allow MPs a free vote on whether they think Britain should stay in the EU or leave. I considered the issue carefully, pondering the pros and cons, and now my mind is made up.
Having seen the results of David Cameron’s renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership, I have concluded that it is impossible to reform the EU sufficiently to make our continued membership worth the cost in terms of membership dues, subjection to unwanted rules and regulations, and lost sovereignty.
Britain is a strong nation with a proud history. We can make it alone in the world, free once more to govern ourselves as we see fit.
Robert Syms MP
MP For Poole
Britain Stronger In Europe
“After years in business running companies like Marks & Spencer, it is very clear to me that Britain is stronger, safer and better off in Europe. Our place in the world’s largest single market creates jobs, widens opportunities for business and keeps prices low in the shops. Those who want us to leave have no clear view how we could retain these economic benefits if we left.”
Lord Stuart Rose, Chairman of Britain Stronger In Europe
Britain Stronger In Europe
Former Special Adviser on Education
I want Britain to be the most open, innovative, pro free trade, pro education and science country in the world. To do that, we have to leave the EU.
It is not possible to reform such a broken institution, and it’s own future plan  shows it going further in the wrong direction – turning in from the world, more centralisation, more bureaucracy, more power for vested interests. Less innovation, less democracy, less personal and economic freedom.
Outside the EU, we will retain free trade with EU members, but also be able to sign free trade agreements with any country in the world. Agreements with China, India, Australia, New Zealand and the world’s fastest growing economy Ethiopia would be great for Britain and great for the world economy.
It would also mean no ethically indefensible CAP and opposition to GM foods which starve Africa, and instead the unleashing of the continent’s incredible entrepreneurial potential via free trade.
We could end the EU’s morally and economically flawed immigration policy, enforced on Britain, that gives you rights based on where you are born not what you can contribute. We would have a system based on skills not nationality, that meant more brilliant scientists and entrepreneurs from outside the EU came here and enriched our economy and society.
Free of the EU’s mindlessly bureaucratic regulations and 1950’s decision making processes (where vested interests haggle in sordid back room deals), the world’s most innovative technology and science start ups would thrive in Britain instead of having to leave Europe for America (as for example BASF did).
The EU has failed to improve international co-operation and to protect the poorest and most vulnerable people. Britain should leave, and begin the urgent task of building a better future.
Former Special Adviser to Michael Gove
Now working in venture capital, focused on education technology and Africa
Author, Journalist & Politician
Not long ago I asked one of my former constituents, a prominent businessman, what he thought would be the impact of withdrawal from the EU. He replied, ‘A collapse of inward investment.’ Since Sunderland is home to the Nissan car plant, which directly and indirectly supports more than 10,000 jobs and since Nissan came to the UK precisely to be inside the EU, it seems to me that withdrawal is a gamble we cannot afford .
There are other reasons for staying: EU regulations (which most Tories call ‘red tape’) have forced us to clean up our rivers, beaches and the sea around our coast; we have also been obliged to take the recycling of waste seriously.
For all these reasons, and more, I am in favour of staying in.