OPINION PIECE: Rugby politicians put the case for both sides of the EU debate

Left: Lisa Parker campaigned for a Leave Vote.  Right: Mark Pawsey with fellow Vote In supporters.
Left: Lisa Parker campaigned for a Leave Vote. Right: Mark Pawsey with fellow Vote In supporters.

It’s all been building to this - tomorrow, Thursday, is the day voters turn out to have their say on whether we should leave or remain in the EU.

A huge turnout for the referendum is anticipated and many of Rugby’s politicians have voiced their opinions on the subject.

If you’re still undecided, we’ve pulled together two opposing views from Rugby MP Mark Pawsey and Bilton ward Cllr Lisa Parker...

*REMAIN - MP Mark Pawsey

Next week we all individually have a decision to make on whether the UK should remain as a member of the 
European Union.

It is one which will have a significant impact on the lives of future generations. So it is important and right that people should be passionate in advocating their case - although I much regret the tone of the debate on both sides.

I firmly believe that our country’s future will be stronger, safer and better off in a reformed EU. I believed that when I voted for the first time ever in the referendum in 1975, and believe it now.

We have benefited immensely from the investment that has taken place here from businesses wishing to gain access to a market of 500 million consumers. So a vote to stay is a vote for certainty.

We’ll be stronger, safer and better off remaining in Europe because we’ll get to keep access to the Single Market, with a say over the rules of doing business across Europe. That means more jobs, lower prices, and more financial security for British families.

Britain is also safer in the EU through our close relationship with other nations, which helps us to collectively fight terrorism and cross-border crime at a time when the threats to our country are growing. We have already benefited through the European Arrest Warrant, which has seen more than 7,000 criminals removed from the UK.

Following the renegotiation Britain was awarded a special status, which keeps us out of the Euro; outside the Schengen zone enabling us to control our borders; provides an emergency brake on migration into Britain, with a freeze on migrant benefits for the next seven years. No other country has such a status and nor are they likely to.

Whilst the EU is far from perfect, we benefit hugely from our union with Europe. The security we gain means families across the UK will continue to receive all the benefits of employment, lower prices and greater national security.

The choice in this referendum is to my mind clear: on the one hand economic security and global influence as part of the EU: the alternative is regrettably far less certain.

When you cast your vote, please look to our future and with the interests of our children and grandchildren in mind.

*LEAVE - Cllr Lisa Parker

This chance – this glorious, democratic, once-in-a-lifetime chance – will never come again. That’s why I’ve spent the last five months campaigning for a Leave vote.

As David Cameron himself said last November ‘Britain will continue to thrive outside the EU’.

As the world’s fifth largest economy and with the ability to take back the hundreds of millions we hand to Brussels each week we can, and will, continue to do just that.

The same Europhiles trying to scare you into Remaining in the failing EU are the same people who told us we wouldn’t survive outside the Euro.

Yet the Eurozone is mired in debt, unemployment and Merkel’s migrant crisis.

We import more from the EU than we export to it. Do you really think we won’t be able to broker good deals? They need us!

But it is our sovereignty – the right – won with the lifeblood and sacrifice of generations before us – for Britons to govern ourselves that this vote is really all about. The ability for you to kick politicians like me and Mark Pawsey out of office when we don’t do your bidding – is your right and it should never be surrendered to an EU superstate.

Yet in Brussels it is only the unelected Commissioners that can put forward new laws or policies. Can you name them? No I can’t either.

The millions we send to the EU each week should be spent on our priorities like the NHS. That money’s needed here in UHCW and St Cross.

And all our services are groaning under the pressure of unlimited immigration – 250,000 EU migrants last year alone. It’s time to take back control with a fairer, points-based system run from Westminster not Brussels.

Soon 76 million Turkish people will have the right to come here. Yet without the huge population growth that uncontrolled immigration brings the pressure to build on our precious green spaces around Rugby would ease.

Unlike Obama, Blair and other EU cronies, my family doesn’t have private healthcare, schooling or property portfolios to insulate us from the pressures of this uncontrolled immigration. Nor, I suspect, does yours.

So let’s take back control on Thursday. This chance will never come again.