Councillor in EU-turn as he swaps to ‘Brexit’ campaign

Councillor Mark Nolan
Councillor Mark Nolan

A councillor who publicly declared his support for remaining in the European Union has performed a surprising U-turn.

Goring councillor and Worthing Borough Council cabinet member for resources Mark Nolan announced his intention to vote ‘remain’ at full council in March.

But in announcing his switch on Friday, he said he had followed his head, not his heart.

“Having watched and listened to the campaigns so far, and the frankly nonsensical arguments coming from the Remain Campaign, I now firmly believe that the country’s best interests lie in ending our membership of the European Union.

“There are many arguments for and against but we cannot ignore the democratic deficit that rests at the heart of the European project. Every time there is a national referendum on treaty changes, the voters say no, yet the EU Establishment carries on regardless. It’s a democratic outrage.”

Mr Nolan argued the UK had been better than other European nations at remaining a major player on the international stage – economically, militarily and diplomatically.

He said a vote to leave would allow Britain to ‘freely engage’ with the world in its own national interest.

“When Winston Churchill was asked by the West German Chancellor to join the European Coal and Steel Community in the early 1950s he said the UK could not join because it would mean sacrificing our relationship with both the United States and the Commonwealth,” Mr Nolan said.

“Churchill’s prophecy has come true. The referendum now provides an opportunity to right this particular wrong, to restore balance to our international relationships and to allow Britain to freely engage with the world in its own national interest.”

Mr Nolan joins East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton among local Tories campaigning for ‘Brexit’.

Council leader Dan Humphreys has also declared on his Twitter account that he intends to vote to leave the EU.

Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley, meanwhile, is among those supporting Prime Minister David Cameron’s plea to remain.

Contributing to a special piece in the Herald when the date of the referendum was announced, he said: “My expectation is that the majority will decide to remain within the EU.

“I shall agree with them, along with the majority of younger voters and with our fellows in other parts of the United Kingdom.

“We could survive outside the EU. I do not see that the balance of interests indicate that we should try that experiment, especially without knowing the terms and conditions.”

The referendum will take place on Thursday, June 23.