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The economic uncertainty of an EU Referendum

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19 July 2013
EU Flag As many will know, the Government are supporting a Private Members’ Bill which aims to commit the UK to an in/out referendum before the end of 2017. I abstained on this Bill during its Second Reading, and had hoped to speak in that debate to outline my reasons why. 
Unfortunately, the debate in July was heavily oversubscribed and so I used yesterday’s Summer Adjournment Debate (where MPs can speak on any issue they wish) to outline my views on this matter.
I do not believe that committing now to an in/out referendum is in the national interest. I believe the economy, rather than Europe is the biggest challenge facing Britain today and the priority for Parliament should be stability, growth and jobs.
Europe is the world’s biggest trading bloc, contributes income gains of up to £3000 per year for every British household and helps to support around 3.5 million jobs in the UK. 
To legislate now for a referendum in four years time creates huge uncertainty (particularly with respect to foreign investment and job creation). I also remain to be convinced that there is a desperate clamour for a referendum in Lewisham East. At my street surgeries and my email inbox it rarely gets raised – while people write to me about housing and their struggle with the rising cost of living every day. 
It is for this reason that I do not believe committing now to an in/out referendum is the right thing to do.
You can read my speech in full here.

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