Victoria Atkins MP: Why I am voting to Remain

EXCLUSIVE: Louth and Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins throws her weight behind the campaign to stay in Europe - saying the UK would be stronger by standing '˜shoulder to shoulder' with its allies.
Victoria Atkins with David Cameron EMN-160621-092952001Victoria Atkins with David Cameron EMN-160621-092952001
Victoria Atkins with David Cameron EMN-160621-092952001

In an exclusive column on the eve of the referendum on June 23, Ms Atkins hits out at Brexit and says she does not share Nigel Farage’s vision for the future of the country.

Ms Atkins said: “We each have a momentous decision to make tomorrow. The result of the referendum will decide our place in the world for generations to come.

“When the Prime Minister returned with his renegotiated deal, I approached this decision with an open mind. I looked at the evidence and concluded that the case for remaining in Europe is stronger than for leaving.”

On the economy, Ms Atkins adds: ”Economically the case is clear: leaving the EU would mean Britain being cut off from its biggest single trading partner, the EU, worth more than £500 billion each year, and it would mean a £36 billion black hole every year in the public finances.

“This may feel like a long way from our part of Lincolnshire, but it is not. Leaving the EU will affect jobs, prices, mortgages and funding for public services.

On the issue of sovereignty, she said: “The Leave campaign paints our Parliament – the Mother of all Parliaments – as being powerless and weak, cowering in the corner from the EU Commission, being told what to do.

“This is nonsense. It is not the House of Commons to which I am so proud to have been elected by you.

“The Leave campaign makes the mistake of confusing sovereignty and power. They are different.”

Ms Atkins also goes on to tackle the issue of immigration, adding: “The Leave campaign has confused control of our borders with control of the volume of immigration.

“We have control of our borders. Every time you fly into this country, your passport is checked. That is because we are not and will not be part of the Schengen ‘no borders’ agreement.

“We also make other checks, such as criminal records checks, to keep bad people out of our country.

“The EU must get a handle on the volume of immigration and through the Prime Minister’s renegotiation - particularly the emergency brake on immigration - we are leading the way in Europe to achieve this.

“However, this issue will not be solved by a vote to leave. Freedom of movement will hang over any renegotiation of trade agreements with the EU.

“As a parent, I want all of our children in the constituency to have the opportunities we have had, and more. “As your MP, I don’t want Nigel Farage’s vision of this country. I want Great Britain to be the great success story of the 21st century and we can do that in our own right, whilst standing shoulder to shoulder with our friends and allies.

“Let’s lead Europe, not leave it.”

• The polls open tomorrow (June 23) between 7am and 10pm.