The Vice President of the National Convention of the Conservative Party has today declared his support for the ‘Out’ Campaign in a European Referendum, during an exclusive interview with Breitbart London.
Having voted to stay in the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1975, Steve Bell now believes that what was a common market has become a “federalised mistake.”
In stating his position now, Bell sets himself apart from self-declared Eurosceptics who have chosen other paths during David Cameron’s renegotiation efforts. Some, not wanting to be accused of undermining the Prime Minister’s efforts, are staying silent until the negotiation is over. Others, such as Matthew Elliott of Business For Britain, have revealed themselves as ‘soft’ Eurosceptics who are prepared to be persuaded to support the ‘In’ Campaign.
Speaking to Breitbart London, Bell said that his colleagues on the Conservative Party Board, the party’s ultimate decision-making body, have long been aware of his position, which is at odds with that of the Prime Minister. He will actively campaign for an exit no matter what other EU member states offer Britain to persuade the country to remain in the political union. He said:
“In 1975 I entrusted my vote to support the Conservative vision of staying in the EEC and for a common single market that would allow Britain to do what Britain does best, trade with other countries.
“That trust has been misused and abused by successive governments as Europe has federalised, losing us control of our own borders and sovereignty. What has become the EU, a country called Europe, now controls every aspect of our lives and blocks us from protecting our own way of life.”
Bell gave another reason for his public declaration. He believes that he is in fact strengthening the Prime Minister’s negotiating hand. Although Bell wants withdrawal from the EU and cannot be persuaded otherwise, he still sees the merits of Cameron getting the best deal possible. Should the will of the people result in victory for the In Campaign, he believes it will be the least worst victory on offer.
Bell believes that if France and Germany genuinely believe that the Out Campaign stands a chance of winning, they will feel obliged to offer meaningful concessions to Britain. This would be impossible if other member states think a victory for the In Campaign is inevitable. Bell said:
“The public Out voice must be vocal now. The votes of 650 MPs won’t decide it either way. Speaking out will actually strengthen Cameron’s stance, if France and Germany believe the Out Campaign can’t win then they have no need to take him seriously.”
Asked to sum up why he could not vote for a Yes to membership again, Bell said that the argument should not be a negative, reactive one, but a positive one which promotes the benefits of a free and global-facing Britain:
“Conservatives supporting No will have the strongest and most positive voice. The arguments must not be about costs and bureaucracy but a return to controlling our own courts, our own borders, our own trade with the world and our sovereignty.”