In the week of the EU referendum, we ask South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes and Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman what their stance is and why...
JOHN HAYES – LEAVE
On June 23 Britons will choose a future for our nation, opting for either a pathway to prosperity and hope outside the European Union, or venturing down a dark road where unelected Eurocrats continue to make too many of our laws and the European Court of Justice stops us doing what’s right, like deporting foreign criminals.
It’s convenient for yesterday’s politicians like Lord Heseltine or Tony Blair to turn the debate towards the past – making the spurious argument that post-War European co-operation is necessary to prevent further conflicts but this referendum is about the vision of the years ahead, not the events of years passed. The ghosts of the past must not haunt our children’s future.
The EU of 2016 is unrecognisable from the trading bloc Britons believed they were joining in 1973. When we last had the chance to vote on our relationship with Europe, in 1975, Britons opted in favour of EEC membership because access to the common market seemed a price worth paying to share in the spoils of growth enjoyed by France and Germany.
We now find ourselves part of what the Eurocrats see as a “grand project” driven by continental elites who pursue bizarre visions of a European identity, free movement of people across nations, and even a joint EU army.
No issue illustrates the EU’s detachment from what people want more than immigration. Ordinary people’s understandable doubts about the dramatic change to much loved towns, like those here in Lincolnshire, wrought by mass immigration is perceived by the out-of-touch EU as, at best, wrong, or, at worst, racist. Now, the British people want the chance to fulfil their destiny, not to be at the mercy of foreign judges and bureaucrats.
Like the Prime Minister, I believe in putting our country first; unlike David Cameron, I believe our nation’s future is best placed outside of the EU, fighting for our own interests and standing on our own two feet. A vote to leave on June 23rd is a vote for a bright future; for a Britain -freed from the shackles of decrepit and rigid EU institutions- to lead and prosper worldwide.
MATT WARMAN – STAY
With the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU on Thursday, I have no doubt that many people across the country, who have yet to make up their mind on how to vote are carefully weighing up the arguments on both sides of the debate, to decide which view they think best represents them.
Since the referendum date was announced, I’ve said that one does not have to be a fan of Brussels to believe that staying in a reformed Europe could be, marginally, the better option for Britain. I think that there is too great a risk of an uncertain future if we leave, and an ‘out’ result would undoubtedly cause years of economic uncertainty while the terms of our exit are being drawn up. Nobody can know what this period will look like – there is no precedent - and I don’t agree with those who think that severe economic shock is a price worth paying.
For me, security is another key issue in this debate, and I attached great weight to the fact that, known Eurosceptic, Theresa May backed the deal that the Prime Minister brought back from the EU in February, believing that we will be safer within the EU. We have also seen both former MI5 and MI6 heads reaffirm this. In an age where, sadly, we face ever evolving threats to our security, European co-operation is a key weapon. Whether in the form of the European Arrest Warrant, addressing cybercrime, tackling the migration crisis or sharing intelligence on suspected terrorists, we cannot deny that decisions which are made in Europe affect us. While I do not deny that we could make individual agreements with EU member states, these would be legally complex and take some time to put into place. So, in my opinion, it is better to have a seat at the table where important, cross-European security decisions are be made, rather than being powerless to influence them.
I am pleased, however, that my vote in the referendum is worth no more than anybody else’s, and I fully respect the views of those who would like to leave the EU. Overall, I hope that everyone who is eligible to vote will make their voice heard, whichever side of the argument they take, in this once in a generation decision.