Our MPs have had their say after Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed Britain will decide whether its future lies in the European Union on June 23.
Mr Cameron made the announcement in Downing Street after a two-hour Cabinet meeting - the first on a Saturday since the Falklands War - to brief ministers on the deal secured in marathon talks in Brussels.
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, is set to vote to remain in the European Union.
In a statement Mr Jones said: “The Prime Minister has concluded his negotiations with his European Union counterparts and fired the starting pistol on the referendum campaign. That campaign will determine whether we remain in the EU or leave. It is a fundamental decision. It will determine how our economy develops and our ability to keep safe in an uncertain world.
“Many friends and colleagues have taken opposing views and across all political parties, probably across many, many dinner tables, the debate about our future will now take place. That debate, I hope, will be one of respect for different views and a debate that acknowledges for many, the decision will be a difficult one. A referendum should allow us the space to have a mature debate around the facts and the interpretation of those facts.
“We can almost all agree about the starting point - our relationship with the EU is crying out for reform.
“I remember the European Exchange Rate Mechanism that sought to lock us into a one-size-fits-all economic construct; a failure. I campaigned to keep the Pound fearing that adopting the single currency would be a disaster for us; a uniform approach to interest rates has been proven not to work.
“The renegotiation has secured two important victories in these areas: the United Kingdom is exempt from the treaty provisions of ‘ever closer union’ and our economic competitiveness is protected from the vagaries of the Eurozone.
“If the European Union is about anything for me it is about free trade and economic activity. It is not about a contrived political construct or the grandiose ambitions of unelected officials. These concessions mean that we can be part of that which we joined in 1972 – a European free trade area. If the other members feel they wish to continue moving toward a political union then they can do so without us. This is a positive step forward.
“If we left, after years of striving to establish the free market – a process begun by Margaret Thatcher – how much would we have to pay for entry into that free market? How many businesses and jobs might that affect? What would be the effect of our financial services industry?
“Everyone can guess. No one knows.
“In my judgment, the economic and political concessions the Prime Minister has won are, in themselves, a good enough reason to conclude that jobs, businesses and economic prosperity are better served by our remaining in the European Union on the new terms. They give us some certainty in what is an increasingly volatile and uncertain global economic picture.
“It is my intention, therefore, to vote ‘Remain’ in the referendum on 23 June.”
MP for Skipton and Ripon, Julian Smith will campaign to remain.
He said: ““Following the Prime Minister’s reform deal last week and the announcement of the referendum on 23 June to decide on Britain’s membership of the EU, I will be campaigning for Britain to remain in a reformed European Union.
“The Prime Minister has shown that we can be part of the EU but with ‘special status’ avoiding many of the frustrations of fuller membership.
“I believe that the single market offering UK businesses access to over 750 million customers, stronger control of our borders, shared security information and exchange, and the ability to wield better influence on the world stage are all reasons why we should stay in.
“The EU is far from perfect but it gives businesses and families in my constituency opportunity and security and that is why I will be supporting the remain campaign.”
Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams has declared himself in favour of Britain leaving the EU.
He said: “David Cameron should be applauded for delivering a referendum and for attempting to get a better deal for Britain but his negotiations with 27 other countries all with their own interests have proven that proper EU reform is undeliverable. The fundamental changes we were promised have not materialised.
“I believe our country would be stronger and better off outside the EU.
“The main issue is, who makes the important decisions which affect everyone in this country?
“EU rules have sped up the closure of Kellingley Colliery and several power stations across the country and EU directives continue to threaten jobs right here in the Selby and Ainsty constituency.
“There is also the cost of EU membership. At over £18 billion a year, that’s £50 million a day. This is an eye-watering sum which could be used to help new business start-ups, help firms break into new markets and much more.
“The ‘Remain’ campaign will be a negative one but I am more positive about Britain and it’s place in the world.
“Leaving the EU does not mean leaving Europe. We will be able to negotiate trade agreements around the world with nations and regions whose economies are actually growing, as well as having our own trade deal with the EU.
“I hope every voter in Selby and Ainsty will listen carefully to the debate on both sides and take part in this once in a generation opportunity to decide our place in the world.
“With our European neighbours, we can forge a new relationship based on free trade and cooperation which will be to all our benefit.”
MP for Elmet and Rothwell Alec Shelbrooke will vote to remain in the EU, but will not join the official campaign.
He said: “Firstly I believe it was my duty as an MP to pass legislation (a manifesto commitment) to give voters in my constituency a democratic in/out vote on membership of the European Union.
“I’m proud to say this is what I have done as your MP and it must now, by law, happen by the end of December 2017. As a democrat I firmly supported this legislation.
“As a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly I have some personal concerns as regards Britain’s security, particular in respect of the European Arrest Warrant, shared intelligence and counter-terrorism services. After some considerable deliberation, and on the basis of the new settlement, it is likely that I will cast my personal vote in the remain box come the public referendum. However, I will not be joining the official campaign, campaigning in the referendum itself, or attempting to persuade my constituents one way or the other.
“This will be a public vote, not a Parliamentary vote. Both the in and out campaigns will have to convince the 46 million voters of their arguments, not just 650 MPs. I think it’s equally as important in this public referendum that my personal decision as an individual voter doesn’t sway other voters as I think it’s important that people take the time to consider both arguments and make their own individual judgement.
“In many respects, I’ve done my bit in delivering the in/out referendum for my constituents – it’s now over to those respective campaigns to convince the British public one way or another.”
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