Bob Blackman, the former Conservative MP seeking re-election for his seat in Harrow East, has written this exclusive article for Get Britain Out:
Britain Entangled In EU Web
Like many of my colleagues during the last Parliament, I am a pragmatic Eurosceptic. I voted in favour of an EU Referendum long before it was fashionable to do so because I believe the time has come to give the British people a say on the EU as it is today.
It has been 40 years since the public were given the opportunity to vote on our membership of the Common Market. The European Union as it exists today is a vastly different entity, having made enormous strides towards federalism over the last few decades. Britain has opted out of large changes where possible, Monetary Union for example, but we still remain entangled in a web of supranational legislation that prevents Parliament from taking action it deems in the best interests of our nation. We are still paying French farmers over the odds, to the detriment of our own agricultural industry, due to the orchestrated imbalance of the Common Agricultural Policy, while the EU continues to threaten our financial sector with punitive taxes, to give but two examples.
To be clear, if renegotiations are put on the table which are beneficial to Britain, and which contain serious guarantees, if I am re-elected after the general election, I would consider it my duty as a representative to consider them very seriously. This is why I consider myself a pragmatic Eurosceptic; I am supportive of the Conservative Party’s stance of offering the option of renegotiation, with the caveat that any concessions would need to be very clearly stated, with evidence they will be enacted or can be achieved. However I do continue to be sceptical that, given its track record on reform, it may not be possible to tame the beast. The EU may well want to reform in certain directions, but it is hard to see, at present, how it could do so in ways that are beneficial to Britain’s membership.
The Unions have urged the Labour Party to offer a Referendum as a manifesto pledge, purely for electioneering purposes, despite the fact that Labour have derailed every attempt to have one mandated so far. This is the big difference between the Conservative Party Referendum pledge and anything they would offer; our desire to give people the choice is genuine.
Bob Blackman, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Harrow East