• EU - Should We Stay or Should We Go?

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    05 February 2016

    At hustings during the last General Election we often discussed our membership of the EU. Most agreed that this organisation was far from perfect and that we at least needed to forge a very different relationship with it. Of those who had a view, the split between stay or go - under the existing terms - always felt around 50:50. One point that was often put to me by the ‘Outers’ was that David Cameron would never deliver on his pledge to hold a straight In/Out referendum and I am proud that our party has been as good as its word – there will be a referendum by the end of 2017 - there are even signs that it could come earlier – perhaps, some speculate, as soon as this June. The timing will depend on our negotiations with the other 27 members states but given the possible proximity of a vote I think we need a more informed and wider ranging debate than we have achieved to date – this is going to be one of the most important decisions we take as a country in a long while. So I want to know what you think. Outers say that jobs will not be affected as, once out, we will simply do a deal with the remaining members. The EU sells us more than we sell them they argue so they will have to do a deal. But will a deal be done that quickly with ourselves outside the EU and what of the disruption to trade during this period of inevitable uncertainty and the effect on inward investments with global business seeking to set up in countries within the EU rather than without? But then again once out and things settle might we not have a golden opportunity to secure advantageous trade deals with other parts of the world, currently denied to us? On regulation (that so often stunts business) might getting out free us up from its restrictions and irritations? But then again if we want to trade with the EU might we not have to abide by many of its regulations anyway in order to have access to their markets – with being outside meaning we will have no say over them? Some ‘Stay Iners’ caution against leaving as we would lose the subsidies that we receive from the EU – but clearly we are paying large sums into Europe every year and some of that could be saved so that we could fund much of these apparent subsidies directly ourselves. And on immigration can we find a way of ensuring we maintain greater control the number of people settling here and is this best achieved in or out? There is much to consider and some of the answers will have to await the results of our renegotiation. The outcome of this referendum will have fundamental consequences for our country for years to come. Please let me know your thoughts at