Gainsborough MP says the only sensible choice for Britain is to vote '˜no' in Europe referendum

Europe has shot right back into the headlines and for good reason too.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 23rd February 2016, 8:00 am
Sir Edward Leigh says Britain has no choice but to vote to leave the EU
Sir Edward Leigh says Britain has no choice but to vote to leave the EU

I am a passionate European.

I love the continent and I believe that the European culture that England has participated in and been at the forefront of for centuries is the greatest civilisation mankind has ever produced.

But the world is moving on, and Europe is not just the European Union.

Europe existed well before the EU .

And I dare say Europe will carry on once the EU is dead and gone (as one day it will be).

We are happy to co-operate with our friends, allies, and partners on the continent.

But it is plain to see that we in Great Britain have a much different idea of the European Union we want.

A free trading bloc of sovereign nations is what we signed up for.

But for too long Governments have come and gone telling us that is what we were preserving while plunging us deeper and deeper into a European superstate.

The Prime Minister has worked very hard to try and get a good deal for Britain.

But the proposals he has brought back from Brussels do not offer fundamental substantial structural reform of the European Union.

Furthermore, if we approved these proposals in a referendum, we would be killing any possibility of any structural reform of the EU whatsoever.

If this is the best Brussels has to offer, then it is plain that they are not willing to offer us the European Union we desire.

The responsible course of action, then, is to vote ‘no’ in the referendum the Prime Minister has announced for June 23 of this year.

As a free and sovereign nation we will be allowed to make our own laws, be masters in our own house, and develop relationships with whatever other countries abroad we feel might be profitable.

We will also do what we can to preserve our friendly economic links with the European Union in order to preserve our freedom of access to European markets.

It is important to remember that countries like Switzerland and Norway – neither of them poor – have never joined the European Union.

Voting to leave will allow us to choose a dynamic relationship with all the world, while seeking to keep friendly with our neighbours as well.

The collapse of Equitable Life affected a great many people across the country and of course here in Lincolnshire.

Part of the Government’s role is to stand as an effective regulator of the insurance industry.

And it is plain that with regard to Equitable Life in the 1990s they failed.

With a Conservative-led Government in 2010 we introduced an act allowing compensation for policyholders which was a good start.

Nonetheless, I pointed out in the House of Commons during a recent debate on the subject, it remains that 95 per cent of policyholders have received compensation for just 22 per cent of their losses.

There are a healthy number of MPs interested in this issue and we are continuing to pressure the Government on it.