I am grateful to the many residents who have contacted me in recent weeks about the forthcoming referendum on our membership of the European Union. It is fantastic to see the wide interest there is on this debate and referendum, which is crucial to the future of our country. It is important that people are engaged and involved and vote in the referendum.
The overwhelming majority of people who have been in contact about this issue favour the UK taking control of its laws and money by leaving the EU. By leaving the EU the UK will be able to set its own economic and trade priorities and decide how to spend taxpayers’ money. For farmers, fishermen and recipients of European structural and development funds, this means that instead of money going out of Britain and then a smaller fraction returning for purposes dictated by the EU, we can keep the money in the UK and make our own decisions on how to support those sectors. As well as providing better value for money, this also means that there is greater democratic accountability on how decisions are made on the spending of taxpayers’ money.
When we think of all the money that the EU takes from our pockets and wastes, it is clear that we could do so much more to invest in the success of our country if we had control over those funds.
Leaving the EU will also mean that the UK will be free to make its own laws. Businesses throughout the Witham constituency and across the country will be liberated from the bombardment of red tape and regulations from Brussels. This will help businesses to grow, invest and employ more workers while also keeping costs down for customers. Firms in Essex will also benefit from new opportunities to trade with new markets and growing economies outside of the stagnating and declining EU. A free and independent Britain would still trade and cooperate with countries in the EU, but liberated from the cumbersome burdens imposed by the EU would be stronger and more resilient.
The former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, John Longworth, has commented that: “Businesses shouldn’t just look at the next financial year but think about what’s best for their children and grandchildren when making this decision. And my analysis is that with the reforms that we have received so far, the UK would be better off taking a decision to leave the European Union.”
As well as receiving correspondence from constituents in agreement with my position on the referendum, I have also been contacted by residents who would like more information or who favour the UK remaining in the EU. This referendum is a once in a lifetime opportunity and if anyone has any questions, comments or enquiries, they are welcome to get in touch.
In advance of the referendum on 23 June 2016, there are two other important elections taking place on 5 May 2016. Local council elections and the election for the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner. Police and Crime Commissioners have brought in a layer of democratic accountability to the running of Essex Police and have supported the raising of standards and implementation of local priorities for policing.
Police and Crime Commissioners make important decisions about policing priorities and budgets, which is why I would encourage residents to take an interest in this election as well.
If any local residents or businesses need help or assistance from me, they are always welcome to get in touch by email to: WithamMP@parliament.uk by post to: Priti Patel MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or by telephone on: 020 7219 3528.
Rt Hon Priti Patel MP
Member of Parliament for Witham