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John Glenn's Views

On 22nd February I asked John Glenn, my local MP, which side of the EU debate he would be supporting. This is what he said:

Thank you for contacting me about the EU Referendum.

This weekend we saw the conclusion of the Prime Minister's negotiations for reforms to Britain’s relationship with the EU and the formal declaration of the date of the Referendum.

I have often said that I have been a Eurosceptic all my political life and this has not changed. Despite progress made in some areas, the EU is still in need of significant further reform: on immigration, on benefits entitlements, on legal sovereignty and protections for non-Eurozone economies.

The slow process of achieving consensus and progress on reform in Europe is deeply frustrating and I wish more could have been achieved – particularly in the area of economic reforms.

At different points over the past months, I have strongly considered supporting the UK leaving the EU and come very close. I respect those who have come to that conclusion but for this referendum, I cannot join them.

I have come to the very reluctant decision that I will be voting to remain in the European Union.

Whilst I recognise the long-term opportunities that would exist for Britain outside of the EU – the freedom to negotiate our own trade agreements, to reshape domestic regulation originating from the EU, and to negotiate ad hoc participation in cooperative projects like the European Arrest Warrant, I am persuaded that these are outweighed by the certain short-term costs to the health of our economy and the security risks associated with being seen to pull away from our closest European allies at a time of grave instability in our world.

Given how long the EU reform negotiations have taken on tightly defined areas of policy, it is clear that to create a viable post-EU future for the UK would take many, many months if not years. And with that comes the inevitable costs to jobs and security during that undefined transition period.

I do not rule out that there may be a time when - with positive global economic conditions it would be right to take that step and forge a future for the UK outside of the EU. But with fragile global economic conditions and our own domestic economic position still not secure, I do not believe now is that time.

I welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to a different pathway for Britain’s future – we will not be heading for ever closer union with our European neighbours; we have protected the City of London and the Pound and we have stopped people from taking UK benefits when they have not paid into our system.

However, whatever Westminster politicians like me say about whether to ‘leave’ or ‘remain’ I only have one vote.  I am proud that this Conservative government, for the first time in 41 years, has given the final say to the British people – and that decision will be binding.

The concerns I have had my whole career about the EU project will not go away: and I can assure the people of Salisbury and South Wiltshire that I will continue to press for further, wider, future reform of the EU, to secure the position in Europe that the UK needs.


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