Crawley Tory MP Henry Smith has said he will defy David Cameron and vote for the UK to leave the European Union in a referendum in June.
Mr Smith said staying in the EU would threaten the country’s history of freedom, democracy and global connectivity.
He said the EU was moving towards a closer political union which he said was ‘not right’ for the UK.
His statement read: “Throughout my time in Parliament, and indeed long before, I have been proud to speak as an EU sceptic and vote in favour of the people having a referendum. This has now been realised because of the majority Conservative Government, led by David Cameron, elected at the 2015 General Election.
“I will be voting for the UK to leave the EU for numerous reasons, but primarily because our long and great history of freedom, democracy as well as global connectivity has been increasingly threatened.
“A vote to leave is not a vote for isolationism or withdrawing from the world stage. Our membership of NATO, our permanent place on the United Nations Security Council, and our role at the headquarters of the Commonwealth are all ways in which we will continue to be a unique and global presence. We are one of the largest economies in the world with one of the largest Armed Forces.
“One of my key concerns is that of democracy. If you do not like a Government in Westminster – or a devolved administration, or your local council leadership – you can easily vote them out. However, any Government in Westminster is constrained by rules and regulations imposed by a highly centralised and largely un-democratic EU.
“As the rest of the EU becomes more and more integrated, as shown most devastatingly by the single currency, these countries will move closer to political union. This is not right for the UK. I believe in the primacy of our elected sovereign House of Commons in Westminster.
“Being pro-European – loving a continent and its people – is entirely compatible with wanting to leave a vast political organisation with little accountability to its citizens. I love my French relatives, the Alps and the Mediterranean but that does not mean the EU is a positive influence for Europe – quite the opposite, the euro crisis has left millions of Europeans unemployed.
“Switzerland is a multi-lingual, central European nation with one of the most successful economies in the world, yet it has rejected EU membership. The UK outside the EU, like the Swiss now, could agree its own free trade agreements without having to get EU approval. The strength of Great Britain is by being a conduit between our unique global connections to our proximity with the Continent.
“Europe should be about free trade, not political control and interference. By leaving the EU we can have that. Trade barriers will not be put up when we leave because the EU sells more to us than we do to them and already trades with countries not part of the bloc, in Europe and around the world.
“Crucially, everyone who is registered to vote has an equal say – at the ballot box, you and I have as much of a say as the Prime Minister.”
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