Hitchin MP Peter Lilley reveals which way he will vote in the EU referendum after talks with PM David Cameron

Peter Lilley MP

Peter Lilley MP - Credit: Archant

Hitchin’s long-standing MP Peter Lilley has revealed which way he will vote in a forthcoming EU referendum following talks with Prime Minister David Cameron.

The experienced politician – who contested the 1997 Conservative Party leadership election, coming fourth to William Hague – went public with his decision this week.

Mr Lilley, 73, believes it would be safer for Britain to leave the European Union than remain in it, first informing the PM of his decision at Number 10 on Tuesday.

He said: “When David Cameron invites you to Number 10 to discuss your concerns he can be immensely persuasive. I hoped he would overcome my concerns about remaining in a largely unreformed EU.

“In 1975 I campaigned to remain in the EU – and made the beautiful secretary of ‘Keep Britain in Europe’ my wife!

“I did an apprenticeship in France, have a holiday home there, chaired a small German company, worked in the Netherlands and Belgium, and speak French, so I love Europe – but not the EU without fundamental reform.

“My initial position was not to leave. But closer study convinces me an exit can be done smoothly.

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“First we should adopt existing EU law into UK law. Then we would be free to amend in due course.

“In the unlikely event the EU refused a trade agreement, we could ensure out export trade was unaffected by using the savings on our EU contribution to reimburse the tariffs exporters would otherwise face – still leaving £4 billion to spare. We could then make our own trade deals.

“As the minister who implemented the European Single Market I believe our EU membership brings little further benefit.

“Only if we leave the EU can we regain control of our laws, our money and our borders.”

David Cameron has pledged a referendum on the UK’s EU membership will be held before the end of this parliament at the very latest – with many experienced political commentators believing it will take place later this year.

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