EU Referendum

In just three week's time, on Thursday 23 June, the country will vote in the EU referendum - although many people are already starting to cast their votes by post.

As the Chairman of Conservatives IN, I have been campaigning around the country, as well as in the constituency, and this week I took part in a Telegraph debate on the issue at the Hay on Wye literary festival.

Like the country at large, the audience was divided, and I believe many people still have to make up their mind.

The power of the referendum is that everyone has a say.  This is not a parliamentary decision, and my vote is worth no more than anyone else's in the constituency.

Naturally, however, people want to know what side I'm on and why.  Well, I haven't changed my mind since I led the campaign to keep us out of the euro but stay in the single market over fifteen years ago.

I still think this gives Britain a highly advantageous position - the best of both worlds - which has enabled us to prosper.  And I am very worried about the economic effect of leaving the single market - as are the majority of businesses.

Almost every independent study shows that our economy would take a serious hit if we left, both immediately and in the longer term.  That means fewer jobs, lower incomes, and less money for public services. 

When the independent Governor of the Bank of England, the IMF, the OECD and so many other independent bodies are warning us of the consequences of leaving, I believe we should listen to them.

I also think we should listen to the businesses, including local firms, who are worried about the impact of leaving when nearly half of our exports go to the EU.

I have been appalled by some of the false claims made by the Leave campaign, such as stating that we send a sum of money every week to the EU while omitting to mention the rebate and the funding we get back.  I will tackle more of these arguments in a future article. 

I recently made a 1 minute 20 second film on my views for the BBC's Daily Politics show, and you can find this on my website.  But I can encapsulate my case even more briefly than this.  Britain is succeeding in the EU.  Why risk a leap into the dark?

To watch Nick's video for the Daily Politics, click here.

To watch the Hay on Wye debate, click here.

Nick Herbert