EU Membership: Economic Benefits

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:28 pm on 15th June 2016.

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Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Conservative, North Dorset 4:28 pm, 15th June 2016

It is a pleasure to follow Mr Hendrick, and I agreed with most of what he said.

When we started this process, if I had been split down the middle I was 49% for leave, and 51% for remain. Today, I am 127% in favour of remain—don’t worry, I haven’t got my figures from the leave campaign. Two reasons have got me to that position. First is just looking at some of the facts. I am a south-west Member of Parliament. In the first quarter of this year, we exported goods worth £9.7 billion from the south-west to the EU. Some 64% of all exports from the south-west go to the EU. In my constituency, 5,249 jobs are reckoned to be dependent on trade with and membership of the EU—one of the highest, if not the highest, in the county. On a conservative estimate, 45,000 jobs will be at risk in my region were we to leave.

The average take-home pay in North Dorset, leafy and beautiful as it is, is £16,500. It would be a dereliction of my duty to vote in any way other than to protect and to preserve that. I am not one of those ideologues who wishes to sacrifice, on some altar of so-called sovereignty, the livelihoods of my constituents. Sovereignty as an abstract does not pay the mortgage, does not pay the rent, does not pay the bills and does not put food on the table. I would not be able to look my constituents in the eye and say, “But don’t worry, we’re free and all the rest of it, so we can starve in our own independence.” What a marvellous, marvellous legacy to leave!