Worthing MPs split on EU referendum

MPs Sir Peter Bottomley and Tim Loughton, pictured together in 2007 during a campaign to save Worthing Hopsital
MPs Sir Peter Bottomley and Tim Loughton, pictured together in 2007 during a campaign to save Worthing Hopsital

Worthing’s two MPs appear to be split over whether the UK should leave or stay in the EU.

This morning Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham and co-chair of the Fresh Start Group of Conservative MPs, declared his intention to vote to leave the European Union when the in/out referendum is held in June.

But Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley’s expectation was that the majority would decide to remain within the EU, and he did not feel that the country should ‘try the experiment’ to leave.

He said: “Each voter will decide for themselves. Some in each party, except probably in UKIP, will want to remain under newly negotiated arrangements and with better expectations on all sides.

“Some will want to be out, whatever that means, whatever the beneficial results of present talks. Others will decide nearer the day of voting.

“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.”

But in a letter to his constituents Mr Loughton praised Prime Minister David Cameron for delivering a referendum within 14 months of a majority Conservative Government, but argued that the changes were too temporary, not legally binding, and open to both interpretation and challenge.

Mr Loughton said that the EU had failed to even address either the Euro crisis and the refugee/migrant crisis in its negotiations with the Prime Minister.

He said: “We are going backwards and that is just not sustainable.”

“A vote to free ourselves from the colossus that the EU has become is exactly where the world is, and should be, heading. Increasingly people do not see why large centralised state structures need to be in control of so many aspects of their lives.

“I take the view we can achieve even better outside of the EU. I look forward to making that case strongly over the coming months and engaging with all my constituents on this vital issue.”

The Prime Minister’s deal negotiated with EU leaders reportedly includes changes to migrant welfare payments, safeguards for Britain’s financial services, and would also make it easier for the UK to block unwanted EU regulations.

Do you think the UK should remain or leave the EU? Comment below or email the newsdesk.

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