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EU: In or out? 2 Essex MPs debate

PUBLISHED: 17:03 20 June 2016 | UPDATED: 17:08 20 June 2016

Robert Halfon

Robert Halfon


In an historic vote this month, Britain will decide whether it is in favour of remaining in the European Union or leaving. Essex Life provides a snap shot of the arguments for and against through the thoughts of two Essex MPs with opposing views

Clacton Carswell & WifeClacton Carswell & Wife

Douglas Carswell MP

Douglas Carswell is the MP for Clacton, and the only UKIP member of the House of Commons. He favours small government, free markets and individual liberty, and advocates measures to make politicians more directly accountable to those they are supposed to represent. Throughout his career in politics, he has consistently campaigned for Britain to leave the EU.


Being in the EU means we cannot control our borders. The safe thing to do is to vote to take back control. Leaving the EU will give us the power not just to control the number of people who come in, but also to create a level playing field. We’ll be able to build a fair, Australian-style, points-based immigration system that judges people based on the skills they bring, not where they come from.


Each week Britain has to send £350 million to Brussels. Just imagine how much better off we would be if we voted to keep that money here and spend it on our priorities! EU red tape costs British businesses. EU energy diktats push up our fuel bills, threatening our industry. EU trade barriers rules stop us making free trade deals with India, China or Japan. We don’t need to be in a political union to trade with Europe. If we leave the EU, we’ll keep doing business in Europe, but expand our access to growing global markets too. We’ll be free to regulate less and trade more. That’s the way to create jobs and prosperity.


We face massive economic, technological and demographic challenges in the years ahead. The safe thing to do is to vote to take back control. A huge proportion of our laws are not written by elected representatives in Parliament, but by unelected bureaucrats at the European Commission. No matter who you vote for, they stay in post. Our freedom depends on us, as citizens, being able to hold our government and our lawmakers to account. To restore our democracy, we need to take back our sovereignty.


European judges can stop us deporting foreign criminals and terror suspects. The European Court of Justice can prevent us stripping criminals and terrorists of British citizenship. Under free movement rules, we can’t automatically deny entry to terror suspects from the EU. Britain’s security depends on control. 
Without control over our borders, our economy, our government, our justice system and our laws, we can’t be secure. The safer option is to vote to leave.

Rob Halfon MP

Rob Halfon has been MP for Harlow since 2010. During the last Parliament he won Spectator’s Campaigner of the Year award and was previously described as one of the Daily Telegraph’s Britons of the Year for his work in persuading the Government to freeze fuel duty. He has also campaigned hard to cut utility bills and reduce hospital car parking charges. In 2015 he almost doubled his majority in Harlow to 8,350. Last May he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio, attending Cabinet.


Under the new terms re-negotiated by the Prime Minister, migrants will not be able to claim benefits for up to seven years, sham marriages will be stopped and third party nationals will not be allowed to use the EU to come to claim immigration status to stay in the UK. There will also be new powers against EU criminals as we will now be able to stop them coming to the UK and deport them if they are already here. Moreover, Britain is also out of the ever-closer union, meaning that there will no longer be any more political union with the rest of Europe.


My huge worry are the dark economic clouds across the world. It is possible that leaving the EU may cause such an economic jolt that we would be back in economic recession, causing the loss of thousands of Essex jobs and the loss of livelihoods for many hard working residents and their families. Over 53% of goods that are exported from the East of England were sold in the EU last year - trade worth £11.4 billion just to the East of England. 300,000 jobs in our region are directly linked to us being in the EU, while agriculture in East England benefited from grants of nearly £300 million between 2007 and 2013 from the EU.


The British people are sovereign. Because the Prime Minister kept his pledge to hold an in-out EU referendum the people will decide whether we stay in the EU or not. We will keep the pound and no longer be part of any EU bail out. The deal the Prime Minister has reached also guarantees that Britain is no longer part of ‘ever closer union’. We keep control over our borders as we remain outside the Schengen Agreement. This means, that we can decide who is allowed in our country.


Islamic extremists, in the shape of ISIS, are on the rise. Terrorism is rampant - witness the horrific attacks in Paris and Brussels. There is turmoil in Syria, resulting in the fleeing of thousands of migrants. The threats Britain faces from Islamic extremists and other terrorism remain very grave. For the sake of our safety and security, it is better to be part of an alliance of democracies – of which the EU is a member – however flawed. Of course, we have Nato, but at this time, the free world needs to come together. It is the EU that has issued tough sanctions on‎ Iran and Russia. From their perspective, we may look divided and weaker if we leave.


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