Exiting the EU would put Britain on the wrong side of history, says Newcastle’s MP

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22 Feb 2016
Labour MP Paul Farrelly has said that Britain’s prosperity, security and standing in the world will hang in the balance when the country votes on whether to remain a member of the European Union in the referendum on 23rd June.

Responding to David Cameron’s statement on the results of his EU negotiations, Newcastle’s MP backed the Prime Minister’s decision to campaign for the UK to ‘Remain’.

‘The UK’s membership of the European Union has been a force for good for trade, jobs, investment and international cooperation,’ Mr Farrelly told the House of Commons.

‘As the Prime Minister has recognised, the EU is a fundamental part of the architecture that has promoted prosperity and kept the peace in Europe after the ravages of two world wars.’

Mr Farrelly then asked the Prime Minister if he would agree that ‘those who are campaigning so aggressively to reject his renegotiations, and cut Britain loose in the modern world, are on the wrong side not only of the big arguments, but of history, as well?’.

Agreeing that standing up for British interests requires genuine engagement with Europe, Cameron acknowledged that ‘when we have tried to cut ourselves off, it has ended in disaster’. Sometimes, the PM said, referring to the weight of history, when Britain has disengaged, it has only had to re-engage again, to put things right.

Boris Johnson’s opportunistic announcement at the weekend, to join the ‘Brexit’ camp, prompted fun from the Prime Minister at the Mayor of London’s expense during a long exchange in the House with contributions from over 100 MPs.

The economic risks of leaving were clearly evident in the markets’ reaction to Johnson’s announcement, considered by many a calculated move to succeed Cameron as Tory leader, with the pound dipping to a seven-year low.

During questions, Cameron rejected concerns over a so-called ‘loss of British sovereignty’, declaring that the deal had secured a protected status for UK ‘self-determination in Europe’, while enjoying the benefits of trade, jobs and investment through access to the single market.

From the Labour benches, Wolverhampton MP Pat McFadden agreed that leaving the EU would mean that Britain moving ‘from a position of being a rule-maker to being a rule-taker’.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Farrelly said: ‘Britain’s standing in the world will hang in the balance on 23rd June. This week, the sensible voices of business and industry have taken the stage to highlight the prosperity brought by EU membership and the risks of leaving.’

‘Close co-operation with our neighbours is also in the best interests of our national security and much of this is achieved at EU level, as our police chiefs have also said this week.’