EU Referendum: Veteran eurosceptic MEP gives last ditch support to the remain campaign

Geoffrey Van Orden, member of the European Parliament for the East

Geoffrey Van Orden, member of the European Parliament for the East - Credit: Archant

A self-confessed 'dyed-in-the-wool' eurosceptic has given his last-ditch backing to the remain campaign claiming the Britain has carved out a special position in the EU.

Eastern region Euro MP Geoffrey Van Orden said he had been 'wrestling with himself' for weeks, finding the black and white decision of remain or leave 'especially difficult'. But he said today that he thinks Britain should remain.

'As a dyed-in-the-wool eurosceptic who has spent many years as your representative in Brussels opposing so much of EU policy - but not an automatic 'outist'- I have found the black or white decision on remain or leave especially difficult,' he said. 'Like most of the British people, I have no affection for the EU. But I am recommending that we remain.'

He claimed Britain had now 'carved out a special position in the EU while retaining our seat at the top table'.

Adding: 'The importance of our economic links and the fragility of the international economic system demand stability and confidence, not unnecessary risk.'


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He claimed the 'answers to many of our problems' rest with the British government, not Brussels.

He said most immigrants to Britain did not come from the EU countries and that control of non-EU immigration was entirely the responsibility of British government.

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'In the period 1998-2015, non-British net immigration to the UK was a massive 4,887,000. Of these 1,333,000 (27pc) were from the EU and 3,553,000 (73pc) from the rest of the world. The discussion of this issue has been distorted. I have long called for a rigorous Royal Commission on Immigration to look at all aspects of the problem.'

He also claimed that under the arrangements that had been negotiated, we would be outside many of the 'objectionable' parts of the EU, while able to take advantage of those parts which benefit us.'

'After 23 June, we can forestall any moves by the EU to take further powers; we can rigorously exploit the exceptional terms that we have marked out; and we can continue the push for reform; let us remain and have the best of both worlds.'

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