Europe: East Lancashire MPs and business leaders give their verdict

Europe: East Lancashire MPs and business leaders give their verdict

Europe: East Lancashire MPs and business leaders give their verdict

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Local government reporter

THE idea of an ‘in or out’ vote in five years was backed by most bosses and MPs – but none were prepared to call for the UK leave the European Union.

Even those fearing a creeping Euro-superstate hoped Mr Cameron could get a new deal where trade freedom came before Brussels red tape.

East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Mike Damms believed most local companies backed a vote in five years based on a new deal.

He was among many to call for a properly-informed debate based on business principles rather than political posturing.

Mr Damms said: “This is a real opportunity for business to make clear what it wants from the EU and inform the discussion on that basis.”

Blackburn MP Jack Straw and Haslingden-based accountants Casson’s were not so sure. They echoed senior Tory Lord Heseltine’s concern a referendum would cause uncertainty and harm UK firms.

Ashley Hayman, senior partner at Cassons, felt Mr Cameron was dodging his responsibility to govern.

He said: “There should be no referendum. The argument is both constitutional and economic. We elect MPs to Parliament.

“It is an abdication of responsibility to refer a decision directly to the people. Economically, the uncertainty inherent in the plan will destroy business confidence, and severely damage our trade and gross domestic product.”

Mr Straw said: “Unexpectedly I find myself in total agreement with Lord Heseltine. A referendum immediately after a renegotiation is one thing; this ‘sometime, never’ one, over the next five years, will create uncertainty, and weaken Britain as a place for investment.”

Hyndburn MP Graham Jones branded the referendum plan “chaotic” adding it would not achieve the reforms necessary in Europe.

UKIP Euro-MP Paul Nuttall had a different view: “This is a devious attempt to kick the whole matter into the long grass. A referendum would be five years down the line. In that time the EU will have caused further untold damage to our economy.”

Colin Mustoe, chairman of Senator International Altham

DO WE NEED A REFERENDUM?

No. I would be concerned about the uncertainty it will cause. A referendum is appropriate for some issues but this is a very complicated and important issue where I don’t think it is appropriate. We elect a government to take this sort of decision.

DO YOU WANT THE UK TO LEAVE THE EU?

I would vote to stay in. I would be very disappointed if the British people voted to leave the EU. We have bee a member for 40 years and it is very important to British business.

Mike Damms, chief executive of the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

REFERENDUM?

Yes. I think having a referendum in five years is about right.

LEAVE THE EU?

Like most business people I am in favour of a loose but not necessarily looser trading relationship with a social dimension.

Pendle’s Tory MP Andrew Stephenson

REFERENDUM?

Yes, a large proportion of the public want a say and there now is a party committed to giving them one. But public disillusionment with the EU is at an all-time high and people feel that it is heading in a direction that they never signed up to.

LEAVE THE EU?

I would vote to remain in the EU but on new terms, not the current arrangements. We are an open, trading nation – around 50 per cent of our trade is with the EU and locally sectors like aerospace rely heavily on the EU markets. I want to see a new settlement in Europe.

Ribble Valley Tory MP Nigel Evans

REFERENDUM?

Yes. The EU has changed fundamentally since we joined in 1973.

LEAVE THE EU?

I will vote to leave if the renegotiation is a step towards an ever closer leading to a United States of Europe. If the result is the EU remaining a trading bloc, like we voted for in 1975, I’ll vote to stay in.

Blackburn Labour MP Jack Straw

REFERENDUM?

No. To commit to a referendum about a negotiation which hasn’t begun on an outcome that’s unknown, where our appeal as an inward investment market would be the centre of the debate, seems an unnecessary gamble.

LEAVE THE EU?

If there were a vote today, I'd vote to stay in.

Darwen and Rossendale Tory MP Jake Berry

REFERENDUM?

Yes. Millions of people, including myself, weren’t born last time we had a referendum on our relationship with the EU.

LEAVE THE EU?

Would have to wait and see what the negotiations with the EU bring. If we can secure a looser, agreement, based around free trade I would vote to stay in.

Burnley Labour MP Gordon Birtwistle

REFERENDUM?

If Cameron gets a good deal then a referendum would not be necessary. If he doesn’t, then we might have to look at it again. There needs to be some changes to the way the EU is run.

LEAVE THE EU?

If Cameron gets a deal which creates wealth and jobs in Burnley, then I would vote to stay in.

Chorley’s Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle

REFERENDUM?

Yes, the British public need to have their say on Europe so that we can draw a line under this question.

LEAVE THE EU?

I can’t say how I will vote yet because we have not seen the outcome of the re-negotiations. Only then can I decide whether I support continued membership.

David Grant, MD of Moorhouse’s Brewery in Burnley

REFERENDUM?

Yes, if it is an informed referendum. If the people that are voting know what they are voting for that is the right thing, although I do think governments are there to govern.

LEAVE THE EU?

I’d vote to stay in – I keep my enemies closer than my friends.

Kevin Horkin, MD of the Horkin Group, Clitheroe

REFERENDUM?

Yes. It’s long overdue. The British people have not had a chance to express their view on Europe since 1975. A proper vote would end uncertainty about Britain and the EU.

LEAVE THE EU?

I would vote to stay in providing we win back some powers that belong to the British Parliament.

Dennis Mendoros, MD of Euravia aerospace firm in Kelbrook

REFERENDUM?

No. Referendums are rarely properly run, few people vote and they are not informed about the issues. It will cause a lot of uncertainty for businesses.

LEAVE THE EU?

I would vote to stay in. Business would be badly affected if we left the EU.

Graham Young, dairy farmer from Samlesbury

REFERENDUM?

Yes. A referendum on EU membership would be a good idea, provided all the issues were thought through properly first.

LEAVE THE EU?

I would vote to stay in. We need as many trading partners as possible. The EU is very important to farmers in East Lancashire.

Steve Gibson, Director of Gilbraith Transport Services in Blackburn

REFERENDUM?

Yes. I think it would be a good idea to settle the question once and for all. I would want to see an informed debate.

LEAVE THE EU?

I am in favour of staying in. I don’t think we are strong enough to isolate ourselves from Europe. Leaving the EU would be a backward step.

Comments (6)

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2:29pm Thu 24 Jan 13

hasnutts says...

We're NOT being given a referendum!!, Its ONLY if we vote tories at next election, thats blackmail!! Politics at its best to serve the parties not the people.
We're NOT being given a referendum!!, Its ONLY if we vote tories at next election, thats blackmail!! Politics at its best to serve the parties not the people. hasnutts
  • Score: 0

4:03pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Noiticer says...

I wonder which bits of the EU the industrialists would like repatriated -pound to a penny employment protection, working hours,environmental controls i.e. all those which get in the way of making bigger profits.
Now we have pound falling like a stone against the Euro thanks to David Cameron's rash move but no doubt welcomed by industrialists too.
I wonder which bits of the EU the industrialists would like repatriated -pound to a penny employment protection, working hours,environmental controls i.e. all those which get in the way of making bigger profits. Now we have pound falling like a stone against the Euro thanks to David Cameron's rash move but no doubt welcomed by industrialists too. Noiticer
  • Score: 0

4:13pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Elegant1 says...

If Cameron thinks he is foo ling anyone by his usual deviousness he may well come unstuck!

What will happen if if Cameron goes about Europe talking to all and sundry about a plan that is none existent. Does he really believe that he will be allowed to "Cherry-pick" parts of the European Constitution to basically suit himself? The man is deluded if he believes his own rhetoric.

If he carries on with his foolishness he is likely to be told where to go by other members and we will be left with nowhere to go!

He is nothing more than an autocratic jumped up twit!
If Cameron thinks he is foo ling anyone by his usual deviousness he may well come unstuck! What will happen if if Cameron goes about Europe talking to all and sundry about a plan that is none existent. Does he really believe that he will be allowed to "Cherry-pick" parts of the European Constitution to basically suit himself? The man is deluded if he believes his own rhetoric. If he carries on with his foolishness he is likely to be told where to go by other members and we will be left with nowhere to go! He is nothing more than an autocratic jumped up twit! Elegant1
  • Score: 0

4:35pm Thu 24 Jan 13

jack daniels says...

totally agree with the first three posts.

What we really lack is a proper tendering process for larger projects, such as the train bid lost by bombardier or the recent failure to secure a oil rig construction project; bringing much needed employment to these shores. Every other EU country is able to find wiggle room except the UK

Shows us how useless these highly paid MPs are.
totally agree with the first three posts. What we really lack is a proper tendering process for larger projects, such as the train bid lost by bombardier or the recent failure to secure a oil rig construction project; bringing much needed employment to these shores. Every other EU country is able to find wiggle room except the UK Shows us how useless these highly paid MPs are. jack daniels
  • Score: 0

10:38am Sun 27 Jan 13

ste.g says...

“It is an abdication of responsibility to refer a decision directly to the people.

poppycock.

the mps are committing treason to this country and are removing democracy along the way

referendum now
“It is an abdication of responsibility to refer a decision directly to the people. poppycock. the mps are committing treason to this country and are removing democracy along the way referendum now ste.g
  • Score: 0

10:42am Sun 27 Jan 13

ste.g says...

ask any of your mps this question and watch the squirming begin.

“How is it that you have sworn oaths of office that you will defend all durastictions and authorities belonging to her majesty against all foreign powers, and then you give away those powers of governance or are purporting to give away those powers to those that owe no allegiance to this crown”?
ask any of your mps this question and watch the squirming begin. “How is it that you have sworn oaths of office that you will defend all durastictions and authorities belonging to her majesty against all foreign powers, and then you give away those powers of governance or are purporting to give away those powers to those that owe no allegiance to this crown”? ste.g
  • Score: 0

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