David Nuttall, Conservative MP for Bury North, writes an exclusive article for Get Britain Out
With time running out before the people of our country finally get to have their say on our membership of the European Union; it is worth running through some of the principal arguments why I and so many others believe that we would be better off if we left the European Union.
First let me set out the background to why at long last we are actually having a referendum at all. It was back on 24th October 2011 that I proposed a motion calling on the government to hold a referendum including the option to leave. Despite a three line whip from the Conservative led coalition government, 81 Conservatives voted in favour of the motion. Not surprisingly, as Labour joined forces with the coalition government, the motion was heavily defeated by 483 votes to 111. The pressure was maintained in the months and years ahead, and it led to the announcement by the Prime Minister in his Bloomberg speech that he would seek to re-negotiate our terms of membership of the European Union, and put the result to the British people, giving them the option to vote to leave if they did not like the result. By the end of the last Parliament the Conservative part of the coalition were imposing a three line whip on MPs requiring them to vote for a Bill enabling a referendum to be held. After being blocked in the Lords, a Conservative victory in the May 2015 general election meant the Prime Minister now had a mandate to renegotiate the terms of membership and hold the referendum.
It is worth noting how since the referendum campaign has got under way how little one hears of the negotiation. The reality is that most who argue we should remain in the European Union realise that the lack of anything meaningful being achieved in the re-negotiation just helps to demonstrate how little power or influence we really have inside the European Union.
If those of us who wish to leave the European Union are to prevail on 23rd June, it is absolutely imperative that we allay the fears some people have that we would lose out if we left. We must be able to prove that whilst there may of course be some short term changes as new arrangements are agreed with our European partners; in the medium and long term this Country will benefit from having the freedom to make our own laws, decide for ourselves how we spend the billions of pounds we are forced to handover every year in membership fees to the European Union, control our own borders and make our own trade deals.
It is worth reminding voters that those who now claim we would be better off staying in the European Union are the same people who argued that we should join the single currency, the Euro. We all now know that apart from countries like Germany who are benefiting from having an artificially low exchange rate for their currency for most countries especially countries struggling like Greece joining the Euro has been an unmitigated disaster. Millions unemployed as companies struggle to compete.
Let us make clear that if Britain votes to leave the EU the other countries in the EU will be desperate to conclude a trade deal with us. They sell 60 billion pounds worth more of goods to us than we do to them. I have heard it argued that if we left they would not want to do a deal with us and that they would want to put tariffs on our goods. Really? I thought that the EU was keen on promoting free trade?
I think as we move towards the last few weeks of the campaign whilst quietly dealing with the ludicrous suggestions about what would happen if we left the European Union we should concentrate on painting a bright picture of what life would be like outside the bureaucratic EU.
Firstly, our Parliament would be free to pass laws that suit the UK and not the rest of the EU.
Secondly, our companies would find it easier to compete around the World as they were freed from the red tape imposed on them by the EU.
Thirdly, we would be free to control our borders and stop treating nationals from outside the EU as second class citizens.
Fourthly, our courts would no longer have to worry about what European Union law said on an issue. This is particularly important with human rights legislation. If we stay in the EU we will increasingly find that human rights legislation through the EU’s own Charter of Fundamental Rights is being interpreted and enforced by the European Court of Justice. The whole debate about the European Convention on Human Rights and the application of it to the UK and our being subject to the European Court on Human Rights will not be relevant.
Our destiny lies in our own hands. Do we really want to stay in the EU and become absorbed into a European Superstate or so we want to leave, regain our independence and build an economy fit for the changing global world in the 21st century?