East of England Conservative MEP Vicky Ford votes to keep UK in EU

Vicky Ford

Vicky Ford - Credit: Contributed

Conservative MEP for the East of England Vicky Ford has said she will vote to remain in the EU after the Prime Minister's negotiation of Britain's membership.

Mrs Ford said, 'Much as I would like to be able to walk away quietly from the bureaucracy of the EU institutions, all my instincts tell me that leaving would lead to a very expensive and drawn out divorce.

'The Prime Minister's negotiation keeps the UK out of the euro and out of ever closer union. It safeguards our economic independence, cements the independence of the Bank of England and protects the pound. This has always been a red line for me.

'On migration, limits on benefits for new arrivals will reduce some of the pressures we have seen. For a long time I have been calling for the sharing of cross-border criminal records to help us in the fight against crime and terror. This has been achieved.'

Mrs Ford chairs the parliament's single market committee and lists cutting red tape as a personal priority. 'The single market does help us to trade across Europe's 500 million consumers. For an economy as diverse as the UK, indeed as the East of England, we cannot afford the uncertainty which would be created if no longer had access to this market.'

'Across the world economies, security and natural resources are under pressure. We are not immune; our own economic recovery is still fragile. Everyone will need to think very hard about their own decision, their own future, and what their vote will mean for the future of our country. To me, this does not feel like the right time to be walking away from allies or taking unquantifiable risks. This deal is not perfect, but for me, it is a step in the right direction and better than a leap into the unknown.'

Two Norfolk Conservative MPs - Richard Bacon and Henry Bellingham - have said they will vote to leave the EU in the referendum on June 23.

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