Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Eu Referendum: Michael Gove's position

Whether Britain should remain in the EU is an important decision and one on which honourable and intelligent men and women can differ.

I think David Cameron has done a fantastic job in trying to get as much as we could expect at this time in terms of reform of the EU. I think the battle over the last 48 hours was real and that what DC came away with in terms of a clear exemption for Britain from "ever closer union," protection for non-Euro countries, a more competitive EU and a restriction of migrant benefits will be of genuine benefit if we vote to remain within the EU.

Equally DC he was never likely to get a complete transformation of the European Union project. He went for objectives which were challenging but just about achievable.

It is wrong - and frankly, an insult to the intelligence - to pretend that what the Prime Minister achieved was nothing of consequence. It would be equally wrong if anyone were to pretend - in fact I have not heard anyone in the Conservative party who is pretending - that what was agreed this week removes all the problems with the EU. And there will be some people who have a rational and consistent vision of the sort of Europe they would like to see and for whom no deal which was realistically available would persuade them it was in Britain's interests to stay in the EU.

Some of those people have been rubbishing everything the Prime Minister's has been trying to achieve from the word go. Others have held their fire until now, and thereby, if they are Conservatives, stuck to the letter and spirit of the manifesto promises on which they were elected. And one of those is Michael Gove.

I respect the positions both David Cameron and Michael Gove have set out and intend to take my time to think about the arguments both have made.

This is an extract from the statement Michael released today:

"For weeks now I have been wrestling with the most difficult decision of my political life. But taking difficult decisions is what politicians are paid to do. No-one is forced to stand for Parliament, no-one is compelled to become a minister. If you take on those roles, which are great privileges, you also take on big responsibilities.

I was encouraged to stand for Parliament by David Cameron and he has given me the opportunity to serve in what I believe is a great, reforming Government. I think he is an outstanding Prime Minister. There is, as far as I can see, only one significant issue on which we have differed. And that is the future of the UK in the European Union.

It pains me to have to disagree with the Prime Minister on any issue. My instinct is to support him through good times and bad. But I cannot duck the choice which the Prime Minister has given every one of us. In a few months time we will all have the opportunity to decide whether Britain should stay in the European Union or leave. I believe our country would be freer, fairer and better off outside the EU. And if, at this moment of decision, I didn’t say what I believe I would not be true to my convictions or my country.

I don’t want to take anything away from the Prime Minister’s dedicated efforts to get a better deal for Britain. He has negotiated with courage and tenacity. But I think Britain would be stronger outside the EU.

My starting point is simple. I believe that the decisions which govern all our lives, the laws we must all obey and the taxes we must all pay should be decided by people we choose and who we can throw out if we want change. If power is to be used wisely, if we are to avoid corruption and complacency in high office, then the public must have the right to change laws and Governments at election time.

But our membership of the European Union prevents us being able to change huge swathes of law and stops us being able to choose who makes critical decisions which affect all our lives. Laws which govern citizens in this country are decided by politicians from other nations who we never elected and can’t throw out.

We can take out our anger on elected representatives in Westminster but whoever is in Government in London cannot remove or reduce VAT, cannot support a steel plant through troubled times, cannot build the houses we need where they’re needed and cannot deport all the individuals who shouldn’t be in this country. I believe that needs to change. And I believe that both the lessons of our past and the shape of the future make the case for change compelling."

You can read the full text of Michael's statement on the Vote Leave facebook page here.

1 comment:

Jim said...

"It is wrong - and frankly, an insult to the intelligence - to pretend that what the Prime Minister achieved was nothing of consequence. "

Ok, please tell me exactly what, in the deal, is something of substance, rather than a statement of the status quo up prior to the next treaty. It would be better if you state something that is legally binding and is not promissory.