My views on the EU

My latest column in the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald and Wiltshire Times.
Michelle Donelan Column in Gazette & Herald 03 March 16

As a lifelong Eurosceptic I am naturally drawn to the perceived freedoms that await outside the EU; I want more control over immigration and I want to go further to reduce the pull factors which draw people from the EU towards the United Kingdom. I want control back on simple but crucial things like setting our own VAT and I want to cut the shackles of an EU from around our legs. I want to live in a sovereign country that doesn’t throw tax payers money at bureaucracy in Brussels.

I have, however, never been a Europhobe and wanted to take time to evaluate our position, the renegotiation deal and weigh up the arguments on both sides. I have spoken to the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, current and former Trade Ministers and leading figures from the Out campaign.

The trigger for my decision was the recognition of the great pain that the country would probably have to endure in the short term and potentially even long-term if we left the EU.

It is vital to remember two key points. Firstly, we must not forget the benefits of being in the EU and secondly, arguably most importantly, the cost of coming out is high and will undermine all that we have done to repair the British economy.

In the confines of a newspaper article it is impossible to go into great detail on my thought process and all the important issues. I have set out my full views in a detailed article on my website michelledonelan.com/EU. If you do not have access to the internet and would like a hard copy posted to you please call my office on 01429 704465.
The important thing to remember is that I, as with all MPs, will only have one vote in the referendum, exactly the same as everyone else in the country. This should not be a decision for politicians, it is for the public to determine our future. This decision is not an easy one and will impact upon the lives of every UK resident. There is no second chance. If we leave, it’s for good. On balance, I believe the stakes are too high to risk a Leave vote. I will be voting to stay in and will remain committed to what’s in the best interests of our country. So if we remain in I will keep pushing for further EU reform. An Out vote is a massive gamble and I will not play poker with the lives and livelihoods of Chippenham constituency residents – the stakes are too high.

As stressed this is a decision for the people – a decision for you. So, I leave you with one question to ask yourself – are you happy to play poker with your country’s future?