FOREIGN AFFAIRS – EU REFERENDUM LEAFLET – 9 May 2016

Paul Scully: I beg to move,

          That this House has considered e-petition 116762 relating to the Government’s EU referendum leaflet.

The petition, which remains topical, had 219,535 signatures a few hours ago.

Dr Julian Lewis: The figure is now 219,553 and rising.

Paul Scully: I thank my right hon. Friend for bringing to my attention the extra 20 people who have been galvanised by the thought of this afternoon’s debate.

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Kate Hoey: ... While we are talking about all the different scare stories, I have been thinking about the way every time the Prime Minister speaks or some of the remainers speak, they challenge us on which international figures support our leaving the European Union. I just have this vision that the Prime Minister will do something so that one morning we will wake up and hear on the “Today” programme that President Putin has asked us to stay in the European Union. That is the level to which I think we have got.

Dr Lewis rose

Mr Nigel Evans (in the Chair): Order. Before we hear from Dr Lewis, let me just say that I am sure that each and every one of you has an interesting ringtone on ​your mobile phone, but I do not want to hear them during the debate, so please check that your phones are in silent mode.

Dr Lewis: For a moment, I thought that that “Ride of the Valkyries” ringtone meant that the remainers were coming late to try to save the day. Has the hon. Lady not noticed a certain inconsistency in the Government’s position? They try to frighten us with the fact that President Putin, evidently, would like us to leave, whereas it is regarded as praiseworthy that the President of Communist China wants us to remain. It seems to me that there is an element of cake and eating it at the same time.

Kate Hoey: Fortunately, the people who will ultimately decide are our constituents. There is one vote for everyone. We are all equal here. Everybody will have their say and, I hope, we will not be relying on President Obama or on any other President.

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Sir William Cash: ... As it happens, I was born on the day that Hitler decided to invade France and Holland, and Churchill became Prime Minister that evening, so I take particularly badly to the Prime Minister’s references to what Churchill would think about all this. We were drawn into that war by unprovoked aggression and, with respect to the questions of defence and other matters contained in these documents, I do not believe for one minute that the people who fought and died in the war, as my father did, would ever have believed that we would be where we are now as a result of the sacrifice they made.

Dr Lewis: My hon. Friend has just anticipated my intervention. I recently raised that point at Prime Minister’s questions, because I know my hon. Friend does not normally touch on it. His father made the ultimate sacrifice in the Battle for Normandy, having won the Military Cross. He lies in France, having secured the freedom of the people of not only Britain but France to rule themselves. We now have a little video, timed to coincide with the Prime Minister’s speech, showing four veterans of World War Two saying that they were fighting for a united Europe, but I very much doubt that that is the view of the vast majority of people who fought and died in that campaign.

Sir William Cash: I endorse my right hon. Friend’s intervention. It also made me particularly angry to hear Mr Juncker say that Eurosceptics should go and visit war cemeteries – people will understand the impact of that comment on someone like me – and I deeply resented President Obama’s reference to the same matter with respect to both United Kingdom and American troops. My father fought with American troops, and I am absolutely certain that the kind of undemocratic, dysfunctional, authoritarian, centralised system represented by the European Union, which does not work, is the antithesis of what they fought for. I want to get that firmly on the record.

[For Julian's speech in this debate click here.]