In 1975 I campaigned in support of UK membership of the Common Market as I am strongly pro-European and am convinced that the UK benefits from free trade across Europe.
I was then elected as MEP for Northern Ireland serving on its Agriculture; Regional Development; and Social Affairs Committees.
However the EU of today is very different from the Common Market of 1975 and this needs to be recognised and accepted by all who vote in the Referendum.
The EU is emerging as a political Union – almost a sovereign state with the possibility of its own army; own superior judicial system; own foreign policy (even though some of its member states are neutral and opposed to NATO); and own currency etc, in other words the EU is no longer the free trade area that most people wanted.
It is trying to become a super power and even wants to replace the UK on the UN Security Council!
In fairness the prime minister, David Cameron recognised all of this.
That is why he opposed Jean-Claude Junker’s nomination as President of the EU Commission.
Mr Cameron lost that contest and then he launched a campaign to reform the European Union.
He canvassed every member nation of the EU and has returned to the UK without success.
Has he repatriated one single power to the UK from the EU? No!
Has he reduced our massive transfer of £20 billion of our taxes per year to the EU budget? No.
Has he gained the UK voters the right to reduce VAT taxes? No!
Has he stopped UK Laws being subservient to EU treaties? No!
Has he released the UK from the supremacy of the EU Court of Justice? No!
Has he succeeded in allowing the UK to negotiate trade deals with any country outside the EU? No!
Has he managed to stop the free movement of migrants into the UK from the EU? No!
On the basis of this failure to reform the EU the prime minister and those still supporting the EU have resorted to a policy of scaremongering.
This was apparent on Saturday when he implied that farmers, who are presently suffering from EU policies, would suffer further by the loss of CAP support policies if the UK left the EU.
Of course this not only ignores the fact that, prior to membership of the Common Market, successive UK governments maintained support policies for farmers, but worse still implies that, if the UK left the EU, the Conservative Party would not use any of the saving of £20 billion per year to subsidise the agriculture industry.
I refuse to accept that Conservatives will not support our farmers.
Even if Mr Cameron fails to commit himself to help our farmers, I am optimistic that some of the £20 billion will be invested by UK governments to give farmers greater support in the future than they presently get from the EU.
That will also result in lower food prices for consumers.
I am therefore impressed that the UFU has decided not to campaign either for or against EU membership.
It realises that farmers throughout the UK have differing opinions.
But let us hope that ion the weeks ahead that we get facts and not simply half truths or scaremongering tactics.
• Lord Kilclooney, who sits as a crossbench peer, was an Ulster Unionist MEP for Northern Ireland between 1979 and 1989