Will Quince MP: 'I'll vote to leave the EU'
Colchester MP Will Quince says he'll vote to leave the European Union in the upcoming referendum.
He's given a full statement on his personal Facebook page explaining why, which is as follows:
"The Conservative Manifesto, on which I was proud to stand, promised to renegotiate Britain's membership of the EU. It then committed to put these changes to the British people in a straight in-out referendum by the end of 2017.
I was confident the renegotiation process would secure the changes the Prime Minister had committed to. A four year wait before EU workers could claim in-work benefits, child benefit or apply for social housing in the UK. A ban on sending child benefits to children of migrants living abroad. A requirement for EU migrants to have a job before coming to the UK.
I was also hopeful the Prime Minister could return more powers to Britain, over issues such as social and employment legislation and EU judges re-interpreting laws affecting our country. I also expected Britain to receive more powers on Home Affairs and Justice matters. These were things the Prime Minster committed to address in 2009 after the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. I hoped these issues could be tackled in a comprehensive renegotiation deal.
The Prime Minister is a skilled negotiator and the renegotiation has lasted a full nine months. But I'm afraid, in that time, the Prime Minister has just not been able to secure the changes we promised. I think it speaks volumes that, in the biggest renegotiation Britain has ever attempted with the EU, back by a democratic mandate from the British people, EU leaders have been unwilling to even grant Britain these relatively modest concessions".
It shows that the EU is just not really interested in the types of reforms that suits Britain. This year, the UK is forecast to contribute £15.3 billion to the EU budget (more money than we collect in Stamp Duty and Inheritance tax). I don't think it's unreasonable for us to ask for reforms that recognise Britain's unique relationship in the EU. Unfortunately, the EU has rejected these common-sense reforms.
That's why, on balance, I have decided to vote for Britain to leave the European Union. Britain has always had an uneasy relationship with the project. Every loss of sovereignty has been resented by a majority of the British people. There are big structural problems at an EU level that the British public has never accepted. The EU Commission - the main EU Government - is unelected. The Common Agricultural Policy still accounts for nearly one third of the whole EU budget. Tariff policies which perpetuate the cycle of poverty in poorer nations. I was optimistic that the renegotiation could reset our relationship with the EU and make it suitable in the 21st Century. I don't think this has been achieved".
Whichever way the referendum goes, I am confident that Britain has a bright future ahead of it. The sky will not fall in if Britain leaves the EU. We will still attract more inward investment that any country in the EU. If we voted to leave, we would be able to sign our own free trade deals with other nations. We could have points-based immigration system based on skills, not geography. And we could be sure that it was the elected British Parliament that made the laws that run Britain.
I will not be playing a role in the Leave campaign or campaigning in Colchester for a Leave vote. My number one priority remains my job as the MP for Colchester, working for local people. This is a matter that, ultimately, will be decided by the British people, not politicians. But many constituents have asked me which way I was voting and I wanted to let them know how I stood on this important matter".