Login Register

Addressing the EU question

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: February 13, 2014

  • LIB DEM: Nick Harvey.

Comments (0)

Each week the Journal asks North Devon's parliamentary candidates for the 2015 general election where they stand on some of the area's big issues. This week we ask: "Where do you stand on our continued membership of the EU?"

Nick Harvey – Liberal Democrat MP for North Devon

This May sees European Parliament elections and I will campaign for the re-election of our excellent Liberal Democrat MEP Graham Watson, a powerful figure in Brussels who delivers for our region.

Parliament has legislated that next time there is a treaty change in Europe shifting any more power to Brussels, we will have a referendum on our EU membership.

I have been a critic of the EU over the years and it remains in need of serious reform.

But about half of Britain's manufacturing jobs rely on trade with EU countries. So I will campaign to stay in; leaving would be slow economic suicide.

And our influence in the world – negotiating on global trade, the environment and security – depend on our unique advantage in being in the EU, Nato, the Commonwealth and the UN Security Council. Each of these multiplies and compounds our global influence – no good will come from isolationism.

Mark Cann – Labour

Today we face many global challenges, from tackling climate change, to fighting terrorism and sustaining growth and jobs in the face of changing global economic conditions.

Now is the time to be working in Europe to meet these challenges in partnership with others and in doing so achieving more for the UK.

There have been so many positives resulting from being in the EU – whether it's the 3.5 million British jobs that depend on our membership or the stronger consumer protection and many other rights that are guaranteed by being part of the EU. To think of leaving would, I believe, be economically disastrous.

There are of course, areas of EU policy that need reform but I believe we should be at the table, shaping Europe and not out of the room and isolated.

We do need to ensure that the EU speaks with a progressive voice which is why I will be campaigning hard to get more Labour MEPs elected this May.

Steve Crowther – UKIP

Umm… on balance, I'm against it. Actually no, forget balance, it's a disaster.

The thing is this: the UK is the world's seventh largest economy. We're also the world's ninth largest manufacturer.

We're a member of the UN Security Council, and have a seat at on the World Trade Organisation (that we're currently not allowed to occupy).

So when I hear people say that a "medium-sized nation" like us can't possibly survive "on our own", it makes my blood boil. There's a world of opportunity out there.

The EU takes £2.60 from us for every £1 it gives back. It has a shrinking economy, and a disastrous currency.

It insists that we give free access to any of its 500 million citizens who want to come here, so our factories are full of (albeit excellent) people who are happy to earn the minimum wage, while a million of our own youngsters aren't working.

The EU is yesterday's idea. If we stay in it we'll sink with it.

Peter Heaton-Jones – Conservative Party

My position is clear. The UK's current relationship with the EU is not what we signed up for, and not in Britain's best interests.

Decisions about immigration, justice and human rights should be made here, not in Brussels or Strasbourg.

Europe should be a partnership of trading nations, not a sprawling, over-powerful political union.

If we can achieve those reforms, then continued membership of the new EU could bring significant economic benefits.

I speak to businesses and farmers in North Devon all the time, and that's their message.

However, if other countries won't agree to the changes we need, then I'll campaign for us to leave.

Remember, the Conservatives are the only major party committed to an in/out referendum.

In North Devon, voting for anyone else could help elect a staunchly pro-European Labour/Lib Dem government.

A "protest vote" may feel good on polling day, but it's not worth the risk.

Read more from North Devon Journal

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters