Anne-Marie Trevelyan is MP for Berwick. This is an extract of her speech at today’s launch of Women for Britain.
What women are telling me is that they want the facts, so they can come to a decision themselves, having weighed up what is best for their family, their business, their future.
Fundamentally, we all want the same things. Security for our country, our jobs, our health and a bright future for our children and grandchildren. Women are more likely to opt for the safer choice. In this referendum, the safer choice is to vote to take control of our own future by leaving the EU.
Looking to my own family as a point of reference, I see how my children are growing up with a global outlook, more so than my generation did. They do not view the world by political bloc. They don’t understand why distance and borders should hold them back in travelling or learning, and they are right. The EU is a remote, out-of-touch outdated model to them. It doesn’t make sense in their reality. I look to my son, who learnt coding over the summer in his bedroom in Northumberland via an online course from a US university, and I realise our children are not dependent on EU models for learning. They aren’t held back by it and nor should we be.
When I look to a future for the UK outside the EU, I see the freedom to choose for ourselves how to spend our money and set our own law and policy. For me there are four fundamental reasons why the safest choice is to vote to leave: democratic control, security, taxes and trade.
Throughout the UK’s history, women have been at the forefront of political change. Emmeline Pankhurst believed women should be able to vote, to have an equal say in how the nation is run. She and others fought hard for that right. For democratic freedom for women. So many of the decisions Pankhurst fought to have a say on are being decided by the EU’s political institutions. We need to fight again to bring them back under our control.
Leaving the EU would enable us to take back control of our border policy. We attract so many bright, capable people from around the world, who are unable to settle in the UK because we have lost control over the numbers we accept from the EU. We should always be an outward-facing nation, as we always have been, and we will be able to welcome the talented people who want to come here to work and raise families if we are able to take control of our own migration policy.
As an accountant I am increasingly frustrated that we cannot fully determine our own tax policy particularly with regard to VAT. The recent public outcry over the high rate of VAT levied on sanitary products is a classic example. It turns out we cannot do anything to reduce VAT on tampons and other sanitary products unless we seek permission from the 27 other EU states and we are not allowed to make them tax exempt items – this sort of external determination of matters which should always be ours to make is a madness. The reality is the only way to change that is for us to take control of our taxation system by voting to leave.
So many of the scare stories we hear about a future beyond the EU centre around trade, and our potential to do business outside the EU’s political system.
The UK is the world’s 5th largest economy. We are perfectly capable of negotiating our own trade deals with EU nations, and the wider world. In fact, leaving the EU would give us much greater freedom to draw up favourable trade deals with non-EU nations. This non-EU trade is more important than ever – since 2010, every region of the world has experienced significant economic growth, except Europe. We do our businesses – including the 6% of British businesses who rely on EU trade – no favours if we continue to look inwards towards Europe, rather than out to the wider world for our trading relationships.
Fundamentally the case to leave the EU is a positive one. Why wouldn’t it be with a nation as strong, capable and talented as ours? We are a positive nation which has always outperformed expectations, and at the forefront of that change has been strong, capable women fighting for our right to take control. This referendum, this choice, is no different.