Leaving EU would '˜place economic growth of Crawley at risk' - Lib Dem chair

Leaving the EU would '˜place the economic growth of Crawley at risk', according to the chairman of the town's Lib Dems.

Thursday, 25th February 2016, 4:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2016, 4:24 pm
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This week Crawley’s Tory MP Henry Smith announced he would be voting to leave the EU as he argued any Government in Westminster was constrained by rules and regulations ‘imposed by a highly centralised and largely un-democratic EU’.

But Marko Scepanovic, chairman of the Crawley Liberal Democrats, argued that although the EU was not perfect, leaving would not solve its problems or the UK’s.

He said: “Henry Smith’s position is surprising, considering that the CEOs of Gatwick Airport and of many airline providers such as Easyjet have all stated that we should remain in the EU.

“After all Gatwick serves 47 of the top 50 routes to the EU daily.

“In addition, Gatwick employs 21,000 people, many of whom have employment rights which, according to Unite the Union, are a direct result of the UK membership of the EU.

“In choosing to opt for leaving the EU, Henry Smith is placing the economic growth of Crawley at risk.

“The EU is not perfect, but leaving won’t solve its problems or ours.

“It is only by remaining in the EU and fighting for continued reform that we can ensure long-term prosperity for Crawley and jobs for its residents.”

Earlier this week, Mr Smith argued that a vote to leave the EU was not a vote for isolationism or withdrawing from the world stage as the UK would still be a member of NATO and has a permanent place on the United Nations Security Council.

He said: “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.”

He added: “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.”

But Mr Scepanovic suggested Mr Smith ‘had not done his homework’ and pointed out that European Commission can be replaced through a vote in the European Parliament – where UK voters are directly represented through their MEPs.

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