Press release from David Campbell Bannerman MEP
- Major conference taking place in London to explore EU exit
- Powerful US think tank will say: EU is “doomed” – Britain will “thrive and prosper” outside
- Labour’s top donor John Mills to call on Miliband to commit to EU vote
A senior figure from one of the world’s most powerful think tanks will today warn that “Britain’s future as a great nation must lie outside of the European Union”.
Addressing a major EU conference in London, Nile Gardiner from the hugely influential US-based Heritage Foundation will say the “European project is doomed to failure” and urge Britain to withdraw from the EU to become “a truly sovereign nation, free to shape its own destiny on the world stage.”
The conference ‘Alternatives to EU Membership: What are the UK’s options?’ is organised by David Campbell Bannerman, the Conservative MEP for the East of England, who favours leaving the EU and adopting an ‘EEA Lite’ deal that would sit between Norway's current European Economic Area (EEA) agreement and the Swiss set of bilateral agreements.
The conference brings together leading experts and politicians from across the political spectrum.
Dr Gardiner, Director of the Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, will be addressing the cross party conference via video link from the Heritage Foundation’s HQ in Washington.
He will say:
“Please ignore the scaremongering coming from both Downing Street and the White House. Britain can thrive and prosper outside of the EU.
“The biggest threat to the Special Relationship is the European project itself, exemplified by the grandiose dreams of a European superstate.
“Nothing could be worse for America than a Britain that is unable to act independently, straight-jacketed by a forced common foreign and security policy.
“The sheer weight of trade and investment between the US and UK would make an Anglo-American trade partnership a global powerhouse.
“Americans should, and I believe will, embrace a self-confident United Kingdom that reasserts its freedom and sovereignty in Europe.”
John Mills, the major Labour donor and leading businessman, will also be addressing the conference and will call on Labour leader Ed Miliband to commit to an EU referendum.
Mr Mills will say:
“If Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister in May and renegotiates without committing to a referendum, he will inevitably weaken the UK’s bargaining position. Minds in Brussels are much more likely to take renegotiation seriously if they know that there is a substantial risk that the UK will leave the EU if there is not a satisfactory deal on the table to persuade the UK to stay in.”
“Whether they want to remain in the EU or they want to leave, there are many in the Labour Party who are united in their belief that the British people must be given an EU referendum to put this issue to bed once and for all.”
Former Cabinet Minister, Owen Paterson will address the conference via video link and will say:
“I see a huge optimistic vision for this country, a really spectacular future, but to do it and to get there, we have to leave.”
David Campbell Bannerman MEP, who has initiated the conference said:
“Now is the time for positive thinking and the time to develop a realistic vision of a thriving Britain outside the fast emerging EU superstate.
“Britain does need a relationship with Europe but one that is based on trade, not tyranny. One that benefits Britain economically, without destroying us politically.
“This cross party conference is about creating the foundations of a global, free trading, outward looking Britain, not an insular, chained Britain ever subservient to European rule.”
Ironically, the conference will take place at Europe House in Smith Square, London, the UK base of the European Commission and European Parliament.
Europe House was previously home to Conservative Party Central Office, where Mrs Thatcher famously waved to the cheering crowds following her 1987 election victory. The Conservative Party was also based here when William Hague masterminded the ‘Save the Pound’ campaign.
Notes to editors‘Alternatives to EU Membership: What are the UK’s Options’ will be taking place on Wednesday 18th February 2015 from 2.30pm to 7pm at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU.The conference has been organised by David Campbell Bannerman, the Conservative MEP for the East of England, and former UKIP Deputy Leader and Party Chairman.
Speakers include John Mills (Labour donor and businessman), Owen Paterson MP (Conservative MP and Former Cabinet Minister) via video, Nile Gardiner (Heritage Foundation, senior US Republican) via video, Matthew Elliott (Chief Executive, Business for Britain), Sir Bill Cash MP (Chairman, The European Scrutiny Committee), William (Earl of) Dartmouth MEP (UKIP/EFDD Trade spokesman), Heming Olaussen (Leader of Norwegian ‘No to EU’), Thomas Aeschi (MP, Swiss People’s Party), Martin Howe QC (Leading expert in EU Law), Adrian Hilton (Conservative academic, theologian, author), Ruth Lea CBE (Political economist), Dr John Wormald (Founding partner of autoPOLIS, global automotive industry consultancy).