News that Lord Nigel Lawson wants Britain to leave the EU is welcome and indeed a bit surprising. Let’s remember that Nigel Lawson, along with Geoffrey Howe, threatened to resign if the UK did not enter the Exchange Rate Mechanism – the forerunner to the Euro. But let us remember there is much joy in heaven when the sinner repenteth.
Lawson’s arguments are clear.
1. We can only be free from EU regulation of the City and finance by leaving the EU. The eurocrats have not hid their ambition to completely downsize the City. Yes, there have been problems and misdeeds, but that is not an excuse to hand over regulation to people we can’t vote out. It’s a problem for Westminster, not Brussels.
2. Renegotiation is a damp squib. You can’t get powers back because the EU isn’t set up to give powers back. It is about ever-closer-union and Lawson rightly points out that economic union was always a stepping stone for political union. No one member state is going to derail a project 50 years in the making.
3. The economic benefits are appealing. There will be no loss of jobs, the EU sells more to us than we do to it, plenty of countries trade with the EU but are not members. We can have a free trade agreement with the EU, it’s in their interests as well.