Many local residents have contacted me about my position on the European Union referendum. This referendum has been long in the making and I am sure that like me, many of you will be weighing up the arguments and taking the necessary time to finalise your decision.
I am delighted to have voted in favour of legislation that allowed for a referendum. Regardless of your final position on the 23rd June, it is worth remembering that this referendum is a result of the Prime Minister securing a majority government in May, and fulfilling a manifesto commitment. Many people said that we would not deliver a referendum. They were wrong. In the campaign, I emphasised that David Cameron was the only person who could and would deliver – and he has done so.
After much deliberation and hours of careful listening, I have decided that I will be casting my vote to leave the EU. There is no doubt that we are a great nation and that we will survive whether we remain or leave. I do not accept the scaremongering on both sides to the effect that we are doomed unless we vote one way or the other. However, it is my firm view that we can thrive outside of the EU, and here are my reasons why.
The key issues for me are the ones of sovereignty and control over our laws. We send our MPs to Westminster, and it should be there, not Brussels, that the buck stops. Our vision for Britain should not be constrained by those who are not accountable to the British public. If we want to change our laws, we must be able to do so and hold those lawmakers – MPs – to account at election time.
However, and this is important, the whole point of a referendum is to allow members of the public – YOU – to have the final say. My vote is equal to yours, no more and no less. This is a decision that will be taken by the people and not the politicians.
We are a nation with incredible resilience and determination to succeed. We have risen to face great challenges in the past and will certainly do so again in the future. I am proud to be a member of this reforming Government. Let us get on and fight this referendum on its merits. But we must not forget that there is a huge amount of other work still to do.
I now see it as my role as your Member of Parliament to facilitate discussions and get the facts. I will be holding events across the constituency for local residents to attend, ask questions and have your say. I hope this will be a useful forum for residents which will hopefully help you to make up your mind one way or the other. But most of all I want to encourage as many people as possible to vote. Please look out for these dates in the run up to the referendum and come along if you can.
As always, please do get in touch if you have any concerns or would like to meet; email me on email@example.com or contact my office on 01202 624216.