Bernard Jenkin: UK families would be better off if we left the EU

FAMILIES across Britain would be “more secure and prosperous” if the UK left the European Union, Bernard Jenkin said last night.

Bernard Jenkin
GETTY  Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin

In a rousing appeal to Sunday Express readers the MP, who chairs the Parliamentary Planning Committee for the newly launched Vote Leave campaign, said Britons should not be afraid of the prospect of the UK finding its own place in the world.

“Even though the UK is the world’s sixth largest trading nation, the EU would continue to control not just our trade with the EU, but our trading relations with the rest of the world, where we now sell most of our exports.  The EU has already taken over our seat at the World Trade Organisation and on many other international bodies,” he said.

“EU judges would continue strike down UK laws using the new Charter of Fundamental Rights. Tony Blair promised it would have no more legal effect than ‘The Beano’, but just this week EU judges ruled they will use it to force the UK to give prisoners the vote.


The Government has promised an EU referendum by the end of 2017

“The risky option in this referendum would be to vote to remain signed up to EU Treaties. That would be a vote for to carry on taking whatever money it wants.”

He said the European Parliament had also reversed a deal to cut the EU budget over the next five years, adding: “Now we are getting a £387 million bill to pay for the EU migration crisis – and that’s just the start.”

And the £350m Britain gives to Brussels every week was “enough to build a brand new hospital every single week, and over a year amounted to half of what England spends on schools.

“If you had the choice between spending billions on the NHS and educating Britain’s next generation of talent, or giving more money to the EU, how would you vote?”

EU ParliamentGETTY

The EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium

His comments followed the launch of the Vote Leave, Take Control group, which aims to officially lead the Out campaign for the EU referendum.

The Electoral Commission is expected formally make the decision before Christmas, allowing the designated group t claim £7m in taxpayers’ money.

 Vote Leave is not short of money, however. Consisting of three bodies, Business for Britain, Conservatives for Britain and Labour for Britain, and boasts more than £20m of backing from donors including  spread betting tycoon Stuart Wheeler, mail order millionaire John Mills and Reebok founder Joe Foster.

But last night Vote Leave was accused of carrying “mixed messages” by the Bruges Group, an influential anti-EU think tank.

At the heart of the problem, said Bruges Group director Robert Oulds, is the fact that Conservatives for Britain, which represents 100 Tory MPs and 40 peers, want to wait to see what reforms David Cameron manages to negotiate before committing themselves to leaving the EU.

Union Jack and EU flagGETTY

The Vote Leave, Take Control group aims to officially lead the Out campaign for the EU referendum

“We don’t want any equivocation. Leaving isn’t the second best option if Cameron doesn’t get any fundamental change, it is the best option already. But the Vote Leave campaign includes those who believe there is scope for staying,” he said.

On Tuesday during a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference foreign secretary Philip Hammond, who is at the centre of renegotiations, admitted that the Government would not be able to challenge Freedom of Movement because it was too important to Eastern European allies backing Britain’s case for reform.

He added that a win scenario would consist of  “the two very important declarations of a multi-currency Europe, and a pledge for no further integration for Britain.

“People down the decades would have choked at the prospect of uttering either of them.”

But the claim was rejected by the Bruges Group.

“There are already proposals where there would be a greater degree for centralisation for the eurozone state, and less for non eurozone ones. David Cameron will pretend this is a fundamental change that he has achieved, but there’s already a plan to commission white paper in 2017. He will claim victory, but it won’t be.

“A two-tier Europe would just mean that we would in a union that still has many of theobligations we have now, but with less influence. “

Speaking to the Sunday Express last night, Matthew Elliott said the Conservative for Europe group played a valuable role.

“Conservatives for Britain supports Vote Leave because the existence of a strong and sensible Leave campaign will show other member states that Britain is serious about leaving the EU if fundamental change doesn’t happen.

“They are an important component of the Vote Leave coalition and we welcome their support.”

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