EVESHAM’S MP has claimed he would ‘consider voting to leave’ the EU if the Prime Minister’s renegotiation attempts fail to deliver significant reform.
Nigel Huddleston spoke to the Observer following the draft release of David Cameron’s EU reform deal on Tuesday (February 2), which followed months of wrangling with European leaders over the Prime Minister’s goal to kerb EU migrant benefits and to remove the UK from closer union.
In the draft deal, which could still change when EU leaders meet in Brussels later this month to vote on the proposals, Britain could introduce a four year emergency brake on in-work benefits for migrants, block unwanted EU laws if other European parliaments agree with the UK and British taxpayer’s money won’t be used to bailout Eurozone countries.
However, critics of the deal claim the reform does not go far enough and accuse the Prime Minister of breaking the promises he made when the renegotiation first began.
Mr Huddleston said progress had been made in reforming the UK’s relationship with the EU, but claimed he could consider voting to leave if the renegotiation ultimately failed to achieve the ‘desired goals.’
“Progress has been made on developing the terms for the UK’s renegotiation with the EU and the draft agreement we have seen is clear evidence of this, I know that my constituents will be in favour of much of these terms for renegotiation,” Mr Huddleston said.
“I am glad that the terms state that the UK will not be committed to ever closer union in Europe or to further political integration, our Parliament must have more power in vetoing European legislation.
“The EU must place less of a regulatory burden on member states and their businesses. We must have a guarantee that Britain will remain out of the Euro and free from liability for Eurozone bailouts.
“Finally, migrants must not be able to send benefits overseas, nor should they come to the UK to claim benefits without any intention of working.
“The renegotiation is still ongoing and I hope that it succeeds. If it does, I suspect it may be in Britain’s national interest to remain in a reformed EU. If the renegotiation does not achieve the desired goals, however, I would consider voting to leave.”
Pershore’s MP, Harriett Baldwin, said: “The Prime Minister has been working tirelessly to secure a better EU deal for the United Kingdom.
“He’s made major progress on all four areas, with a red card system for national Parliaments, a move away from ever closer union, fairness for euro ins and outs and a deal on welfare so that people come here to work or study, not for benefits.
“I think he’s making great progress and hope that this negotiation concludes so that I can back remaining in a reformed European Union.
“Many jobs in Worcestershire hinge on free movement of goods, workers and services around the free trade area,” she added.
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