A Conservative Member of European Parliament (MEP) for the East Midlands, Emma McClarkin, has declared that it is “time to leave” the European Union (EU) in the upcoming referendum, claiming that Brussels is ‘resistant to change and deaf to British concerns’.
Ms McClarkin announced her decision via a statement at the weekend, as Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU will take place on June 23.
Unfortunately, just as my last seven years in the European Parliament have taught me, Brussels is resistant to change and deaf to British concerns.Emma McClarkin MEP
Ms McClarkin said: “Now with the skeletons of the renegotiated EU deal laid bare, we can see just how little is on the table. This deal unfortunately falls far short of addressing the very real concerns I and the British people have with our membership of the EU.
“I believe the UK’s best interests for a more democratic and prosperous future lie outside the EU.
“Having followed the renegotiation process closely I welcomed the Prime Ministers efforts in striving for reform and attempting to bring about change in the EU. However, unfortunately, just as my last seven years in the European Parliament have taught me, Brussels is resistant to change and deaf to British concerns.
“Renegotiation was always going to be an uphill struggle with other nations gaining far more from EU membership than the UK and therefore reluctant to amend the status quo. The deal contains no return of powers to the UK, no full control of our immigration policy and no treaty change. This deal is simply not going to deliver the reform the British people want and deserve. It is time to leave.”
She added: “I am confident about the future of our great country. I strongly believe that the UK has a wealth of opportunities outside of the EU. We are in the 21st century living in a globalised world. We need to be competitive on a global stage. But instead of looking outward, as we always have as a nation, the EU continues to look inward, fudging crisis after crisis. The EU single market is stagnating, whilst other nations are expanding.
“We should have solid trading relationships with nations like Canada, India, the US, Australia and New Zealand - with which we in the UK have had a long history. But the EU, with an attractive market of 500 million people, has not been using its competencies effectively enough. The EU moves too slowly in this area, leaving Europe uncompetitive vis-a-vis emerging markets in places such as Asia. While the UK remains in the EU I will continue to drive the trade agenda for the benefit of our businesses and consumers, but I believe the UK can do better outside, moving more quickly and tailoring trade agreements to British interests.”
Ms McClarkin concluded: “The sad reality is that the renegotiation process has only gone to confirm that Brussels and the EU are not serious about reform. That ever closer economic and political integration is still their aim. I want to live in a sovereign nation able to determine its own destiny and create the best opportunities for our young people, and for these reasons I believe we need to leave.”
• Meanwhile, Louth & Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins has announced that she will be voting for the UK to remain a member of the EU.