MPs and MEPs across Lincolnshire have taken sides ahead of the referendum of the UK’s membership of the European Union, with the majority voting to leave.
Eight out of the 12 Lincolnshire members of parliament in Westminster and Brussels are backing the Brexit campaign.
Lincolnshire Members of Parliament have announced their positions:
Karl McCartney, Conservative MP for Lincoln, will vote to leave the EU. Read his column, in which he outlines his position, here.
Stephen Phillips, Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham declared he will be voting to leave the EU. He said: “There is no doubt in my mind that Britain would be better off inside a reformed EU focused on trade, which is what my parents voted for 40 years ago. The question I have to ask myself is whether these reforms go far enough.
“I do not think that they do, although I also think that they may not necessarily be the last word if we vote to leave the EU.
“Having considered the matter very carefully, and with a heavy heart, on June 23 I will vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. This is, however, a referendum in which we all have a vote. I know that others will make a different choice, which I respect, as I hope they will respect mine.”
Sir Edward Leigh, Conservative MP for Gainsborough, will also be voting to leave the EU. He stated Europe “is not just the European Union” and will carry on “once the EU is dead and gone”.
John Hayes, Conservative MP for South Holland and the Deepings, is also backing the Brexit campaign.
Conservative MEP for the East Midlands Emma McClarkin stated the deal negotiated by David Cameron “falls short” of addressing the concerns of British people.
She argued: “Renegotiation was always going to be an uphill struggle with other nations gaining far more from EU membership than the UK and therefore reluctant to amend the status quo. The deal contains no return of powers to the UK, no full control of our immigration policy and no treaty change. This deal is simply not going to deliver the reform the British people want and deserve. It is time to leave.”
Fellow Conservative MEP for the East Midlands Andrew Lewer has indicated he will also vote to leave. He added: “We needed fundamental reform of the EU. The EU needed to become a modern, effective force across Europe. Unfortunately, I do not believe the EU is willing or capable of delivering change and has made its priority clear – to create an ever-closer union.
“That is why on balance I have decided that the UK would be better off leaving the EU.”
UKIP’s East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer has indicated he will vote to leave the EU on June 23. He said: “David Cameron is seeking to sell his “renegotiation” with the EU as a major breakthrough, an historic moment when our relationship with the EU is totally re-set, and our independence and sovereignty reasserted. It is no such thing.
“The key problem if we stay in the EU is that there will be no democratic legitimacy and accountability at all, neither in national parliaments nor in the European institutions.”
Roger is joined by fellow UKIP MEP Margot Parker, who said:”We must gain control of our borders, and as everybody knows these days, that can only happen through leaving the European Union.”
Victoria Atkins, Conservative MP for Louth and Horncastle, said: “I judge it to be in the best interests of our country to remain a member of the European Union on the terms laid out by the Prime Minister and I shall, therefore, vote in favour of our continued membership.”
Nick Boles, Conservative MP for Grantham and Stamford, is backing the ‘in’ campaign. He said: “Our relationship with the EU is an ambivalent one: much of what it does bores us to tears, some of it drives us to distraction. But, for all that, we recognise that it brings us some advantages: that the Single Market offers valuable opportunities to British businesses, and that cooperation on security and criminal justice makes it easier for us to protect ourselves from some very nasty criminals, and some even nastier terrorists.
“I am convinced that the Prime Minister has secured a good deal for Britain – one that offers the best of both worlds. So if other EU countries sign up to the deal and he recommends a vote to remain, I will be giving him my full support.”
Matt Warman, Conservative MP for Boston and Skegness, is voting to stay in the European Union. He said: “In an area where, like it or not, we now rely heavily on immigrant labour, no deal will undo the social challenges of community cohesion, but this one will make it more likely that only those who want to work and work hard will come to Britain. As I’ve said previously, I’d leave the Europe we are in today; but this hard-won deal changes it significantly and for the better.
“I am glad that my vote is worth no more than anybody else’s, and I totally respect those people who believe the EU is holding back the UK. In the course of this campaign I will do all that I can, through public meetings and elsewhere, to clarify, without bias, what I believe this deal will deliver for the UK and what it won’t.”
East Midlands Labour MEP Glenis Willmott said: “In terms of jobs, security and rights, Britain and Britons are better off in the EU, and that is why we will be campaigning to remain.”
Leaders and residents across Lincolnshire have been having their say in the days following the announcement of the EU referendum.
Over 400 people took part in the first straw poll on The Lincolnite. Check out the results of the poll here.