Banburyshire MPs are split in their intentions about whether Britain should remain in the European Union.
While Banbury MP Victoria Prentis and Witney/Chipping Norton MP and Prime Minister David Cameron will vote to stay in Europe, South Northants MP Andrea Leadsom and Stratford-upon-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi will vote to leave.
Mrs Prentis said this week: “I believe a strong Britain in a reformed Europe would give us the best of both worlds. We would still be outside the Euro and protected from deeper integration but able to access the Single Market. We would remain in the world’s greatest trading bloc but still be outside the Schengen area and so able to maintain our borders.”
Mrs Prentis said Mr Cameron’s negotiated reforms would protect Britain from further political integration, secure the pound and keep the economy safe outside the Eurozone, help to make Europe more competitive to create jobs and help prevent the abuse of free movement.
Determinedly pro-Brexit, Andrea Leadsom said Britain will be sidelined as EU countries move closer to defend the currency union. The scale of migration will change Europe for ever, she said.
“As the EU moves inevitably towards a ‘United States’ of Europe the UK will increasingly go from a senior partner with influence to a country whose views count for little in Brussels and yet whose parliament is increasingly subservient to EU legislation.”
Mrs Leadsom said any negotiation on the terms of a Brexit would last at least two years and Britain would continue to work with and trade with Europe from outside.
Mr Zahawi said: “Europe sells more to us than we sell to them. It would be an act of self-sabotage to refuse to trade in a normal way with Britain, the fifth, soon to be the fourth, largest economy in the world. It is hard to take any threats on this front too seriously.
“The big change will be Britain’s trade with the rest of the world. The EU has an ever-falling share of global GDP, and we are too constrained with our current relationship, where ministers are unable to make every decision they may wish to. A Britain outside of the EU can be ambitious in taking these new opportunities for growth and export.”
Mr Cameron said Britain will get all the benefits of being in the EU - more jobs, lower prices and greater security.
“Our special status means we are out of the parts of Europe that don’t work for us. So we will never join the euro, never be part of eurozone bailouts, never be part of the passport-free no borders area, or a European army or an EU superstate,” he said.