Dr Julian Lewis: If the British people miss this unique opportunity to reject the undemocratic EU superstate project, it will be the fault of people such as me – not me as I am today, but me as I was in 1975 when I had the chance to vote to withdraw from the then EEC and I wasted it. Why did I waste that chance? Well, it was very simple: I was intimidated by the establishment. My instincts were to vote to leave, but all around me, in Oxford – in that home of lost causes – the great and the good were saying that it was beyond question that the prosperity of the United Kingdom depended on remaining in the EEC. I thought, “What do I know about it?” After all, in those days, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bury North (Mr David Nuttall) pointed out, it was only about an economic community. It was not about my pet subject of the defence and security of the United Kingdom. How that has changed, now that it is – and now that we know where we are heading.
When the time comes for me to advise my constituents about what I think they should do, I will give them six good reasons to leave the EU:
- First, I will tell them that every year the United Kingdom pays £20 billion to this organisation and gets less than half of it back.
- Secondly, I will tell them, as we have heard today, that the EU wants "ever-closer political union" and that we cannot opt out of that while remaining within the European Union. So-called “associate membership” – the trick they are waiting to give us at the final stage of the great concessionary charade in which we are currently engaged – would make no difference at all. It might even diminish our own powers still further.
- Thirdly, I will tell my constituents that the European Union wants a Single European Population with no borders between EU countries, so that we cannot restrict immigration into the United Kingdom.
- Fourthly, I will tell them that the EU wants to develop its Single European Currency into a Single European Economy controlled from Brussels.
- Fifthly, I will tell them that the EU wants a Single European Army, a Single European Foreign Policy – that did a lot of good for the Ukraine, didn’t it? – and a Single European Justice System, all outside UK Government control.
- Finally, I shall tell my constituents that all of that is designed to create a Single Country called "Europe" under a single European Government, thus finally taking away the power of the British people to govern ourselves.
In his excellent opening speech, my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr John Baron) gave a long list of statements made by European bigwigs. As he pointed out, some of them did actually stumble across the truth; when they do, however, they usually pick themselves up, brush themselves down and carry on as if nothing had happened, as Churchill once said of a lesser British politician.
One occasion when a European Union bigwig told the truth was on 31 December 1998, the new year’s eve before the introduction of the single European currency. I happened to be up, waiting to see the new year celebrations on television, and on to my screen came the visage of Romano Prodi, who, as we all know, was then the President of the Commission – or, as these people always like to call themselves, the “President of Europe”. He was asked a simple question about the European single currency:
“It’s a political project, isn’t it?”
Now, remember: this was the single currency that had been sold to people over and over again as being vital for their economic prosperity. So that was what they asked him. And because it was too late for anyone to do anything about it, he told the truth, and he told the truth in an entirely cynical way when he replied:
“It is an entirely political project.”
So we know what they are trying to do, and what we have to achieve is to make sure that people, when they come to make their decision, are not intimidated by the great and the good on economic grounds, when the real aim is political, and they should reject the EU by voting to leave.