James Berry reluctantly backs Conservative Britain Stronger in Europe campaign

Kingston and Surbiton MP James Berry has joined the Conservative’s Britain Stronger in Europe campaign to stay in the European Union (EU).

He said: “I am a Eurosceptic. I think we should be sceptical of membership of any expensive international body that requires compromises to our Parliamentary sovereignty and has as one of its core aims ‘ever closer union’.

“But having looked at the competing arguments in much detail, I have decided that our future prosperity is best served by remaining inside the EU.”

Berry expressed faith in the prime minister’s renegotiation, saying: “It is clear that British taxpayers will not be required to foot the bill for any Eurozone bail-outs and, importantly, Britain will have a permanently legal exclusion from ‘ever closer union’.”

Suggesting there are sound reasons for leaving the EU, Berry said that EU regulations could often be burdensome, especially for businesses that do not trade with EU countries.

“Britain attracts significant foreign investment because we are seen as a gateway to trade with the EU – the world’s biggest single market. I have no doubt that this great nation could survive and even thrive outside the EU.

“But I think we have a better chance of securing long-term prosperity as a member of the EU,” he said.

He continued: “I’m not prepared to take that gamble and risk people’s jobs at a time of global economic uncertainty.”

University of London student Lauren Butler, 23, echoed his concerns over the economic risks of leaving the EU.

She said: “The benefits of leaving the EU do not outweigh the risks, especially when you think about the huge costs of leaving and the effect it could have on our trade.”

Berry believes the decisive factors for voters will be immigration and the economy. He also expressed concerns that voters will decide based on their impressions of migrant influx into other countries like Germany, without taking into account the difference between migrants and Syrian migrants.

He finished: “There’s lots wrong with the EU but staying in, we know exactly what we’re going to get. Leaving would be a step into the dark that we just can’t afford.”

His scepticism is apparent in Robbie Downer, a Kingston University student.

He said: “I’m worried people aren’t going to make an informed decision. Instead of taking into account all the positives and negatives, they are deciding based on skewed figures on migration.”

“Migrants should not be the decider for whether we leave the EU, but with both sides of the campaign putting out confused messages, it’s hard to see how it won’t be.”

The referendum will take place on June 23 2016.

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