Brighton MP backs PM in EU referendum campaign but Lewes MP wants out

Posted On 22 Feb 2016 at 7:24 am

The Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown, Simon Kirby, is backing the Prime Minister David Cameron in the European Union (EU) referendum campaign.

But Lewes MP and former Brighton councillor Maria Caulfield is lining up alongside Justice Secretary Michael Gove and London mayor Boris Johnson in the leave campaign.

Mr Kirby said: “I have always said that there are strong arguments on both sides and that I would wait to see the result of the Prime Minister’s negotiations before making a decision.

“I have listened carefully to local residents in Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven as well as my colleagues in Parliament.

Simon Kirby

Simon Kirby

“Following the recent negotiations, I feel that even though there is more work to be done, Britain will be safer and stronger in a reformed European Union.

“This is not a decision that I have taken lightly but progress has been made and I will therefore be supporting the Prime Minister in his recommendation to ‘remain’.

“However, at the end of the day, everyone will have their say. It is the British people who will decide our future through the in-out referendum on (Thursday) 23 June.”

Maria Caulfield set out her position in a Daily Telegraph article headlined “The EU can destroy our communities by fiat from Brussels. Sorry, but I’m out”.

She wrote: “David Cameron’s deal is little more than a gentleman’s agreement between states which can choose to break their word whenever convenient.

“The next few weeks and months will change the history of our nation forever. Britain will either vote to become an independent nation once again, or to remain part of a reformed European Union (EU).

“While I welcome many of the reforms presented by the Prime Minister, for me not only do they not go far enough, they are not legally binding. In reality they are no more than a gentleman’s agreement between countries.

“For us in the south east of England, immigration is a huge issue. The surge in population in this part of the country has magnified the severe housing crisis that exists.

“Schools are at capacity even after putting up extra portacabins for new classrooms, GPs are closing their lists because they are full and our road and rail networks are heaving under the strain of the ever-growing commuter population.

Maria Caulfield

Maria Caulfield

“Figures released this week show that over two million EU nationals are now working in Britain and the number of Romanians and Bulgarians employed has risen by 30 per cent.

“Yet the proposed reforms only deal with new EU migrants who come here to claim benefits.

“The truth is less than 30 per cent of EU migrants claim benefits. Most are here to work, and with the living wage coming into force in a few months, the attraction to come to the UK will be stronger than ever and the proposed reforms will do nothing to change this.

“The reforms do nothing for the town of Newhaven in my constituency, which, like many other fishing towns across the country, has been badly hit by the EU’s fisheries policy.

“A once-thriving fishing town, Newhaven has seen its in-shore fishing industry decimated by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

“Just before Christmas, I had fishermen in my office in tears as overnight, with no warning, the EU banned sea bass fishing in our waters.

“Men who had just spent thousands of pounds on new nets were now letting crew go because their business had just been closed down.

“What could I do about this as the local Member of Parliament? Nothing. The decision had been made in Brussels.

“The proposed reforms do nothing to improve the CFP or the Common Agricultural Policy which so negatively affects British farmers.

“Instead of dealing with these very real issues for ordinary people, those who are campaigning to stay in Europe have embarked on ‘Project Fear’, where they tell us if we leave Europe our businesses and trade will suffer.

“What they don’t say is we have an increasing trade deficit with EU nations while, outside the EU, we have a growing trade surplus.

“This is despite our membership of the EU restricting us from forming free trade agreements with non EU countries.

“In fact, big businesses are now coming out to say that if we left the EU there would be no negative impact on us as a country and we may even be better off out. Companies such as Barclays, Hitachi, JCB, Dyson and Toyota have all recently been quoted.

“Even if the proposed reforms were enough to convince me to vote to stay, my huge concern is that none of them involve treaty change and so are not legally binding.

“This means that once the referendum is over there is nothing stopping other EU nations changing their minds and backtracking on these reforms.

“We have a once in a lifetime chance, with this referendum, to map our future as a country. No one is saying it will be easy but for the first time in nearly 40 years we will be masters of our own destiny, part of Europe but not governed by the EU.”

Mr Cameron will set out his stall in the House of Commons later today (Monday 22 February).

  1. Jenny Reply

    Blonde bombshell?? Ugh. What on earth possessed you to call a local MP this? 2 out 4 of Brighton’s closest MPs are female so you’d think by now you’d be able to refer to them without such clueless and misogynist titles. Does it matter what colour her hair is? Why doesn’t Simon Kirby get called something equally as ridiculous like ‘Dapper gent’?

    Fix it please.

  2. Jean Calder Reply

    Maria Caulfield declared for Out days ago. Her statements on the matter have been carefully considered. I’m shocked that you insult her by calling her a “blond bombshell” and by doing so seem to suggest her ideas shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  3. Frank le Duc Reply

    The blond/blonde bombshell line was a reference to some of the headlines about Boris joining the out campaign – but I’m guessing my attempt at injecting a little humour into this has failed in some quarters. Sorry!

  4. Jenny Reply

    Frank – thanks for listening! Very much appreciated.
    I imagine Boris may enjoy being called a blond bombshell! ?

  5. Barry Clements Reply

    To quote EU Fisheries, “Sea bass is a high value, iconic species for recreational and commercial fishermen. Scientific advice has clearly identified the need to drastically reduce catches of this species, following an increase in the fishing pressure and a reduction in reproduction.

    We need to act to address the declining state of the stock, to protect jobs and livelihoods. If the EU does not act decisively now, the risk for greater and long term losses to this valuable fish stock and to coastal communities will be increasing.

    In 2015 the EU has taken action to protect sea bass.”

    If Maria Caufield thinks the EU are doing this for anything other than the right reason, she needs to look at the bigger picture.

  6. michael fisher Reply

    Blonde bombshell? more like a damp squib! Maria Caulfield appears to be clueless.

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