Why I will vote 'Remain'
by Helen Grant
Conservative MP for Maidstone & The Weald
My decision to vote to 'remain' on June 23rd comprises many separate considerations, but the overarching reasons are about two fundamental pillars of human need; freedom and security. We are today experiencing a period of peace in Europe longer than any other in written history. For the last 70 years more than 3 generations have been spared seeing their homes and towns destroyed and their families wiped out.
So terrible was WW2 that governments worked together to make war in Europe not only unthinkable, but materially impossible. Thus saw the formation of NATO in 1949, the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952, and then the EEC in 1958 – now the EU.
I do not accredit our peace entirely to the EU but it is probably the largest single factor and its continuity is essential if we are to sustain peace in Europe and deter hostility from states further afield.
In the 21st century countries with an effective presence on the world stage are not those that choose to stand alone. They are those that choose to combine resources, to multiply their influence, to build bridges rather than barriers, and to seek global solutions through co-operation and unity.
Forever and a day our DNA and our rich culture has been formed and influenced from lands across the Channel and the North Sea. And I love that, today, I can enjoy unfettered access to the entire European continent and all it has to offer, as a UK citizen. The EU has many faults but it also brings overwhelming benefits, to over 500 million people, and that is financially immeasurable.'No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main'. (John Donne 1624) On Thursday please vote to keep Britain as a part of the wider world. For freedom and for security, please vote to remain.
Helen Grant is the Conservative Party’s first black female member of Parliament, for the mostly white, rural, and staunchly Conservative district of Maidstone and The Weald since 2010, when she replaced Ann Widdecombe.
Britain will be stronger, safer and better off outside the EU
by Adam Afriyie
Conservative MP for Windsor
As an ardent campaigner for an EU referendum I am immensely proud that a Conservative Government has given people the opportunity to have their say on 23rd June.
People have been wrongly led to believe that remaining in the EU means that things will remain the same. They will not. ‘Status quo’ is not on the ballot paper.
The EU is planning a vast swathe of changes in the coming months and years. What we are actually voting on is whether we want the EU to decide what changes to make for us or do we want to make decisions for ourselves.
I believe that we will be better off out of the EU with the power to make decisions for ourselves. For most voters, this is lifetime once in a generation opportunity to choose our direction of travel: towards ever greater union, as a province of a country called ‘Europe’ or a return to a self-governing and sovereign country, standing tall in the world. Remaining a member of the EU is like standing on an accelerating escalator towards a single, federalised nation state. Europe will gain increasing control of our borders and immigration, our courts, our taxation system.
The Prime Minister was absolutely right to try to renegotiate our terms and he fought hard to do so but the other 27 member states refused to move even a millimetre on the fundamental issues that the British people are concerned with. Any residual attachment to the idea that plucky Britain could single-handedly influence the sclerotic European Union should have gone out of the window there and then.
The EU is full of prejudiced ‘Little Englanders’
Despite the silly name-calling it is in fact the Remain campaign that display all the traits of being ‘Little Englanders’ or should I say ‘Little Europeanistas’. The EU is inward looking. It talks about itself in grand terms. It harks back to a bygone age of protectionism and worst of all it discriminates against the rest of the world and forces us to do likewise.
In contrast, those who wish to leave, like myself, want to look outward. We want to trade, interact and be open to the rest of the world. We don’t want to erect protectionist trade barriers but to allow trade to flourish across the globe. We want to be able to choose who comes to our country to work and to live, not based on their European heritage but on their abilities and skills and what they can contribute. My sense is that by voting to leave we will be able to rejoin the rest of the world which is thriving and growing and full of opportunity.
There are powerful and convincing arguments that an independent Britain would be safer, more prosperous and freer.
Trade and the economy
As a former entrepreneur and businessman and now in my role as an MP and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana, my view is that Britain’s global ambitions are best served outside the EU.
The EU is weaker than the sum of its part in trade negotiations. Chile has negotiated free trade agreements worth $59 trillion. Korea, Singapore and Switzerland have all negotiated $40 trillion worth of trade deals. All have fared far better than the inward-looking EU, which has negotiated a total of a mere $6.7 trillion. The EU is not a vibrant and dynamic bloc.
You need only look at the current trade negotiations to see why. The EU free trade deal with Canada is being held up by Romanian visa dispute and the trade deal with Australia by Italian tomato growers. The EU’s fundamental problem is that it is incredibly difficult to get 28 member states to agree on anything.
Borders and Immigration
The ability to control our borders and decide who comes in and out of our country is one the most basic requirements of a nation. A nation, by definition, is contained within its geographic borders with a common government. Yet here we are in the UK, with virtually no power over our borders and immigration policy when it comes to 27 other EU members. As an EU member it is no surprise that we are less secure when anyone who holds an EU passport can simply land on our shores. In contrast those millions of people from across the globe we might wish to choose to attract to Britain are crowded out on the basis of the nationality.
So for these reasons, and so many more, I will continue to participate in the campaign to urge all British citizens to vote to look up and leave the EU in order to re-join the rest of the world.
Adam Afriyie is a British Conservative Party politician, and the member of parliament (MP) for Windsor. He was first elected in the 2005 general election and re-elected in the 2010 and 2015 elections. He is the country’s first black Conservative cabinet minister.