Opinion: Time for us to quit the EU

How will you vote in the EU referendum?
How will you vote in the EU referendum?

I was once the former Conservative MP for the Vale of Glamorgan and a former Maastricht rebel who voted against or abstained in 57 votes on the Maastricht Treaty, and I call upon everyone who cares about the future of the UK as an independent state to vote to leave the European Union.

Our main contributions to the world have been the English language, our system of parliamentary democracy and our English legal system. Our language is likely to remain pre-eminent whether or not we leave the EU, but our parliamentary and legal systems are at risk. Our parliament is often described as ‘the mother of parliaments’ and has been copied in countless parliamentary democracies, particularly in the Commonwealth but also in other countries.

It is a tragedy that we have effectively surrendered sovereignty to the EU, which is a grossly inferior and undemocratic system. The EU is also a steadily declining force in the world economic order, despite the expansion from nine to 28 countries since we joined. There are 15,000 unelected officials based in Brussels who are each paid more than our prime minister and who collectively have enormous power over our lives.

Meanwhile, our ministers and our MPs are powerless to amend or repeal European laws. So far as our courts are concerned, wherever there is a conflict between European law and British law, European law prevails. The English legal system evolved over centuries to serve our needs, through a combination of court precedents and statute law. Once we entered the EEC, all that changed. Instead of having the legal right to do anything which the law does not prohibit, the continental system only allows us to do what it permits. We need to take back the powers we have surrendered, and our only opportunity to do that is on 23 June.

Our Prime Minister has brought ridicule upon himself by trailing around the EU asking for nothing and getting less than nothing. Imagine what might have happened if we had had a prime minister like Margaret Thatcher conducting the negotiations.

We could have asked for real change, instead of illusory change. For example, I would like to have seen Mr Cameron demand a right of veto over all new European laws affecting the UK, a right to repeal existing laws, the restoration of Britain’s fishing rights with other fleets excluded from our coastal waters, withdrawal from the Common Agricultural Policy to allow us to return to a system tailored to the needs of our own farmers and consumers, restoration of the full rebate negotiated by Margaret Thatcher which was partly given away by Tony Blair.

A capping of our net budget contribution at half its present level, full parliamentary control over EU expenditure in the UK, full control over our own borders and immigration with a points based system to remove racial discrimination between EU and non EU countries.

The abandonment of plans for a European army and equitable contributions from all EU nations to the cost of NATO.

These robust demands should have been coupled with a pledge that if we did not get what we wanted, the Prime Minister would lead the campaign for Brexit.

It is a disgrace that most of our MPs, who are paid substantial salaries to either serve in government or to scrutinise legislation from the back benches, seem happy to hand over responsibility to the EU for running many aspects of our lives.

According to Business for Britain, 64.7 per cent of our laws, if you include the directives implemented by Parliament and the regulations which are directly applicable, emanate from the EU, instead of Westminster. I would like all those MPs who abnegate their responsibilities and favour remaining in the EU to be given a 64.7 percent pay cut, and see how they like it.

l What are your thoughts on the EU referendum? Do you want to leave or remain in the EU?

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