Remaining in or leaving the European Union is not just about economic migrants, asylum seekers, and the acceptable shape of cucumbers . . . although they could possibly be the most interesting bits.
London Mayor Boris Johnson (pictured) left PM David Cameron reeling on Sunday when he announced that he would be backing the ‘out’ campaign - stating in his Daily Telegraph column today that Cameron had achieved far more than had been expected.
But Boris said that the deal had not gone far enough, and said that the EU would only make genuine concessions when it realised Britain was serious about going it alone.
He states: “There is only one way to get the change we need, and that is to vote to go, because all EU history shows that they only really listen to a population when it says No. The fundamental problem remains: that they have an ideal that we do not share. They want to create a truly federal union, e pluribus unum, when most British people do not.
“It is time to seek a new relationship, in which we manage to extricate ourselves from most of the supranational elements. We will hear a lot in the coming weeks about the risks of this option; the risk to the economy, the risk to the City of London, and so on; and though those risks cannot be entirely dismissed, I think they are likely to be exaggerated. We have heard this kind of thing before, about the decision to opt out of the euro, and the very opposite turned out to be the case.”
So with the EU referendum finally announced for June 23, stay and leave camps already manning the phones, and elements of David Cameron’s cabinet already ‘stabbing him in the back’, here are some of the key arguments for and against:
Leave - Those who want to leave say Britain should be able to control its own borders and limit the number of migrants coming from the European Union. They are worried about migrants who claim benefits and use public services like the NHS).
Stay - Those in favour of staying say migrants from the EU contribute to the economy by paying taxes and do not place an undue strain on public services.
Leave - Leaving the EU would mean Britain would no longer have to pay its contribution to its budget - estimated at £8.5 billion last year. The UK could continue to trade with the EU while separating political ties.
Stay - Campaigners say EU membership means a stronger economy which will creating jobs, trade and investment in Britain, with almost half of all exports going to the EU.
Leave - Britain could boost its standing in the world by leaving the EU - it would remain in NATO and on the UN Security Council, leaving it free to explore new global trade deal. Britain could also create its own laws rather than having many imposed by Brussels.
Stay - Leaving the EU would undermine Britain’s standing in the world and could increase the likelihood of Scottish independence.
Leave - Brussels imposes too much red tape on British business, pro-leave activists claim - costing our economy over £33 billion per year. Small businesses would have more freedom to make their own decisions.
Stay - Britain is currently one of the least regulated wealthy countries.