Click HERE for my latest column on the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald website about how our say and vote on the EU is planned and on the way, or read below.
The national news has been dominated by discussions, claims and counter claims about whether Britain would be stronger in Europe or whether Brexit would spark a new lease of life for the country.
I have always said that I would wait and review the deal once the Prime Minister’s negotiations had concluded. This is a monumental decision that needs to be based on fact, not pre-conceived ideas about what is best for Britain or best for the Chippenham constituents I work for. So I was delighted that the Prime Minister visited Siemens in Chippenham to announce the details of his negotiations with Europe.
The Prime Minister set out four pillars of the deal. Firstly, an emergency brake on welfare to ensure that migrants do not have access to the same level of benefits that they currently have. Secondly, there is a clear opt out of “ever closer union”, important to many anti-EU campaigners. Thirdly, and most significantly for local businesses, there is a commitment to strengthen trade competitiveness and cut red tape and, fourthly, additional powers to block terrorism suspects entering the UK.
As the fifth largest economy in the world, we are a vital market for the EU and the EU is equally important to us. As the Prime Minister said at Siemens, we are in a strong negotiating position. The EU does have to respect the frustrations of a large percentage of UK citizens. The proposals are strong and offer a real chance of our existence in a reformed Europe – with our position enhanced. They would end the something for nothing culture that has left the UK vulnerable within Europe. The devil, however, will be in the detail and these proposals need to be agreed by all European nation states so there is so much more work to do.
There is no doubt that we need to reform Europe if we are to remain in. We must now wait to see the details of the final deal before we all get a say, probably towards the end of June this year.
The visit was also an opportunity to highlight that Wiltshire is a centre of engineering and manufacturing and a fantastic place to live, work and do business.
Please also let me know what you think about what the EU means for jobs, the environment, trade and regulation on firstname.lastname@example.org