EDITOR – This country’s relationship with the rest of Europe is something which concerns all of us greatly.
So many aspects of life in Lincolnshire and around the rest of England are determined by factors set in the bureaucratic corridors of Brussels.
While we seek every possible form of co-operation with our friends across on the Continent, we tend to do things a little differently here in Britain.
Through the richness of an imperial legacy, we enjoy strong and deep links with many countries across the seas, from the open vastnesses of Canada and Australia to the smaller, but nonetheless vibrant island countries of the Caribbean such as Jamaica and the Bahamas, without, of course, forgetting the great economic engine that is the United States of America, with whom we share many common values.
Some constituents have written to me suggesting that Britain turn away from Europe and look towards the great family of nations we have in the Commonwealth, in addition to our traditional friendship with the United States, and one of our largest trading partners the Republic of Ireland.
The Government should indeed be doing more to strengthen our links with these countries and ensuring that British firms, farms, and companies have the best possible access to these markets.
But with regard to our relationship with Europe and with the English-speaking countries, it is not a simple matter of either/or.
We should be doing what we can to strengthen our links both with Europe and with the rest of the world, not merely those with which we already enjoy strong bonds.
I think most people in the Gainsborough constituency will agree with me that we have become far too closely integrated with Europe in a political way beyond our level of comfort or appropriateness, and because of this we can fail to understand the economic integration that has been to our advantage.
Here in Lincolnshire, for example, ECO Plastics – the largest plastic bottle recycler in all of Europe – expanded its operations in Hemswell in co-operation with Coca-Cola, one of the most recognisable worldwide brands.
We are intricately linked to the global economy, but that doesn’t mean we should surrender our freedom to rule ourselves.
For several centuries, Britons have fought to maintain our sovereign independence from a variety of foreign foes.
From the days of the Spanish Armada, through the threat of Napoleon, and the fight against Hitler during the Second World War, Britons have made great sacrifices to make sure that we are in control of our own destiny as a people enjoying freedom under the protection of the Crown.
We need to obtain a return of a great many powers that have been ceded to Brussels, so we can feel secure that we are free to live and run our country in the way that we see fit.
I firmly believe that a better deal is possible so we can prosper alongside our European neighbours but also with our friends across the seas.
MP for Gainsborough