AN MP has spoken candidly about his desire for the UK to stay in the European Union.
George Hollingbery, who represents the Meon Valley which includes the Waterlooville area, has come to this conclusion following his own research and after holding two public forums in his constituency.
The Conservative MP has produced a detailed account of his findings and views.
He says: ‘The EU seems not to have hindered our recovery from being the “sick man of Europe” in the early 1970s.
‘Further, international comparators outwith the EU suggest that our performance has been above the mean.
‘So, on the broadest of metrics, I observe that the historic evidence that “being a member of the EU doesn’t work for the UK” is at the very least “case not proven” to use the Scottish legal term.’
Regarding the £8.5bn-a-year the UK pays to the EU he said: ‘While no-one would pretend that £8.5bn is a small amount of money, in relative terms against all government spending it is not enormous.
‘In that it allows us, at the very least, to participate in a free market of some 500m consumers, I do not think it is excessive.’
He concludes: ‘I do not believe the evidence supports the contention that our membership of the EU results in a level of inappropriate interference in our national life resulting in unacceptable erosion of sovereignty.’
Leaving would mean renegotiations with ‘highly unpredictable outcomes’, he said.