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Liam Fox: The EU is the chink in our armour, not our protector

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For all the time that I’ve been in the House of Commons, I’ve been listening to the same refrain, “Europe is coming our way”. It is the greatest lie in our politics. The European Union is not coming our way. It never has been. For all the noises that are being made on the other side of the Channel at the moment during the Prime Minister’s renegotiation, they still regard ever-closer union as a religion. That is exactly where they intend to go, irrespective of what they tell us during this referendum.

The blunt truth is that the EU is not going to have fundamental reform, however this renegotiation is dressed up.

The future that I envisage for our country is quite different. Britain as an independent sovereign nation, with a parliament beholden to no one; the only people with the power to make our laws will be those we choose to represent us at Westminster. The world’s oldest democracy should never have to give in to the wishes of an unelected European President.

Britain is the world’s fifth largest economy, and in the next two decades we are predicted to overtake both Germany and Japan. It is frankly inconceivable that, were we to leave the EU, the leaders of global industry would not be tripping over themselves to gain access to this market. Similarly, a ‘Leave’ vote will not stop London from being the global centre of financial expertise.

The predicted slowdown in inward investment that the announcement of a referendum was supposed to have triggered has failed to materialise. Indeed, the last year was the most successful ever for foreign direct investment, far outperforming any other European country. Would such global confidence in the strength of British business evaporate overnight? I think not. Rather, it is far more likely that the UK will come to be seen as a monetary ‘safe haven’, away from the instability of the Eurozone. As for the majority of British business, those SMEs who sell to a domestic market, they are only too glad to be freed from the binding red tape of European directives.

There are those who tell us that Britain outside Europe would be isolated and friendless. This claim, too, is baseless. The day after we vote to leave, Britain would still have its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. We would still be at the centre of the Commonwealth, and would still possess the fourth-largest defence budget in the world.

Even the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, admits that the UK enjoys a wealth of foreign policy experience. Rather than being isolated, we would instead be sheltered from the dangers of a Europe made unstable by financial mismanagement and the pressures of unchecked migration. In an uncertain world, the EU has the potential not to be our protector, but the chink in our armour.

It is time to call an end to the spectacle of a British Prime Minister taking a political begging-bowl to the Continent, asking permission to change the benefit laws of his own country. We will soon be asked to make a choice between sovereignty and servitude. There is only one answer to give. Take control – Vote Leave.

 

(Image: Freedom House, Flickr)

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Liam Fox
Dr Liam Fox is the Conservative MP for North Somerset and former Defence Secretary.

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