Five Northamptonshire MPs pledge to fight for Britain to leave EU, one joins stay campaign...but Northampton South MP will ‘decide in coming weeks’

Andrea Leadsom MP campaigning in Brackley. NNL-150425-184258009

Andrea Leadsom MP campaigning in Brackley. NNL-150425-184258009

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South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom has confirmed she believes the Britain should leave the European Union...but Northampton South MP David Mackintosh says he needs more time to decide.

Mrs Leadsom issued a statement to her constituents after Prime Minister David Cameron completed his negotiations on reform of the country’s relationship with the EU.

A referendum will be held later this year, giving voters the chance to decide.

Mrs Leadsom said: “I now believe with absolute conviction that it is in the UK’s best interests to leave the EU.

“In 2011, I co-founded the ‘Fresh Start Project’ to consider what membership of the EU means for our country and the impact that Brussels has on our daily lives. We proposed a wide range of reforms from trade and red tape to welfare and crime, and you can find all the analysis as well as our ‘Mandate for Reform’ at www.eufreshstart.org.

“I have spoken to thousands of people on the doorstep, at my advice surgeries and at public meetings to hear their views, and spoken in Parliament about the need for the EU to become more competitive, flexible and democratically accountable,” Mrs Leadsom stated.

“The simple truth is that the status quo is no longer an option. The EU’s share of global economic activity is falling (from 30% in 1980 to 17% in 2015), the Euro currency members must move ever closer to avoid economic disaster (which will leave Britain sidelined), and the migration crisis resulting from their open door policy is changing Europe forever.

“This is not a decision I have taken lightly, nor is it a decision I have made quickly. I profoundly believe that our future is brighter out of the European Union and that we will be better in every way by setting our sights once more on the global stage,” Mrs Leadsom added.

Meanwhile, Northampton South MP Mr Mackintosh tweeted: “Whatever your views on EU membership, I’m pleased we have delivered on the Conservative pledge and the referendum will be held on 23rd June.

“Pleased the PM has secured a deal in Brussels. I shall read the details carefully over the coming weeks and then decide how I intend to vote,” he added.

Corby MP Tom Pursglove gave his support to Mrs Leadsom’s announcement on social media, adding: “And we’re off! The 23rd June it is! Let’s get our great country out of the #EuropeanUnion! #EUreferendum.”

He is joined by fellow Northamptonshire MPs, Philip Hollobone, Peter Bone and Chris Heaton-Harris in the “leave” camp.

Northampton North MP Michael Ellis, said he would support the Prime Minister’s campaign to stay in Europe and that his decision was based on the security of the country.

He said: “The EU is far from perfect but the deal negotiated by the Prime Minister contains important reforms, including reforms relating to the national security interests of the UK, which means that it is very much in the national interest for Britain to remain part of the EU. The Home Secretary and the Defence Secretary have confirmed this.

The reforms also strengthen our ability to deport foreign criminals, which is something I have been concerned about for some years. The deal also means the UK will decide which criminal justice measures this country will participate in- and as someone who has worked in the criminal justice system in Northamptonshire for 15 years before I became an MP, I consider this to be very important.

The deal will also prevent the abuse of free movement which has been a particular concern both for me and for many of my constituents.

“In my view more reforms are needed. However I believe it is very much in the national security interests of the UK, and also for important reasons relating to trade with Europe and access to world markets, that we remain a member of the European Union.”