EU referendum: Should we leave the European Union or stay in?

North East Labour MEPs give five reasons to stay and UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott gives his five reasons to leave

Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron

Members of the European Parliament set out why we should stay in the EU - and why we should leave.

Prime Minister David Cameron is heading to Holland and France to make the case for reforming the EU to other leaders.

The Queen Speech this week outlined that there will be a referendum on the country’s membership of the EU before the end of 2017, should Mr Cameron fail to win support for changing our relationship with Europe.

He hopes to secure more controls on the benefits that migrants to the UK can claim, more safeguards to protect the City of London in the event of closer eurozone integration and an exemption for Britain from the EU drive for a closer union.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told reporters he hoped negotiations could soon get underway, and added: “We have a clear set of requirements. The Prime Minister is very clear in dealing with European Union counterparts - that if we are not able to deliver on those big areas of concern that the British people have we will not win the referendum.

“And we expect our European Union partners to engage with us in delivering a package that will enable the British people to decide that they think Britain’s future is best delivered inside the European Union.”

Read more: EU Referendum: North East UKIP MEP's top five reasons to leave the European Union

Here, North East Labour MEPs Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen set out five reasons why they think staying in the EU would be good for the region. And Jonathan Arnott, North East UKIP MEP, outlines his five reasons why the country should vote to leave.

Paul Brannen, Jonathan Arnott and Judith Kirton-Darling
Paul Brannen, Jonathan Arnott and Judith Kirton-Darling

Jude Kirton-Darling said, “We believe that membership of the European Union is vital to the region and we’re keen to shout about it. From jobs and investment to workers’ rights and environmental protection Europe already makes our lives better.

“We have to get that message out as there is so much misinformation on Europe. I read people saying that this policy or that policy has been agreed by faceless bureaucrats in Brussels and I think to myself wait a minute, I was democratically elected and I sat in the chamber in Strasbourg and voted for that.

“People are told the European Union can’t change but it absolutely can if you engage and work with other people. David Cameron has isolated Britain in Europe and damaged our interests.”

Read more: EU Referendum: North East Labour MEPs' five reasons to stay in Europe

Paul Brannen added: “Labour went into the General Election with a pro-European Union message and the people of the North East backed that message at the ballot box. Our manifesto said we would reform the UE so it works for people and that’s the task at hand now. We’ll be working hard on making sure Europe focusses on job creation and investment.

“We’ve launched this campaign to highlight what Europe already does that is beneficial for the North East. It is clear to see the positive impact the EU has on the our region from the presence of Nissan and Hitachi to the investment in major projects such as new business space in Darlington to Science Central in Newcastle and the new Workspace in Blyth.”

UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott said the claims made about the EU are “myths”.

He said: “Sadly, the pro-EU case is selling myths (such as the idea that the EU, not NATO, keeps the peace), scaremongering (claiming that jobs are at risk when they’re not, or raising the spectre of phantom trade tariffs) and half-truths (praising some ‘good’ pieces of legislation like maternity rights - where our Parliament in Westminster could, should and does provide protection for our own workers). There’s a positive case for trading with Europe but not being governed by Europe, which actually addresses the vast majority of their concerns.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer