Ahead of Thursday’s momentous vote, the News Letter asked four major Northern Ireland voices why they are supporting Brexit or staying in the European Union. We have two responses for Remain and two for Leave. Here Kate Hoey explains her view:
Spending the last few weeks campaigning all over the country for a Leave vote in the referendum has been so different from a general election.
I have spoken at huge rallies, been on fishing boats, farms and door knocked with those who normally would be viewed as ‘the enemy’.
Despite differences on many issues we are united on a crucially important principle – to take back control of our country from the ever encroaching bureaucratic interference of the European Union. We want to control who comes into our country as every other country outside the EU does. I want to change the system that treats Commonwealth citizens less favourably than EU citizens.
Irish citizens already have a separate arrangement for free movement with the UK so no change for them. Those who imply that talking about immigration is racist are wrong. Certainly those from the British Asian and Afro Caribbean communities do understand this and large numbers of their communities have been telling us they want OUT too.
The ridiculous scare mongering from David Cameron and George Osborne about wars and loss of pensioners benefits has backfired. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. We are the fifth largest economy.
No-one denies there are uncertainties about Leaving but the uncertainty of staying in a shrinking market with a euro zone likely to implode is much more worrying. The status quo is not on the ballot paper.
As a Labour MP I want to enhance rights at work and support the poorest but the EU won’t do that – just look at Greece. Our rights were won by hard work of Trade Unionists and campaigners and if we leave on Thursday, we will wake up on Friday to the same rights enshrined in British law.
Should any government try to downgrade them we can vote it out. We cannot vote out the anti democratic commissioners who no-one elects and who have the real power in Brussels. The public know that £10 billion goes each year into the black hole of EU spending. Some of the other £9 billion we give comes back but only to be spent on what the commissioners decide and that can be stopped arbitrarily.
Having grown up on a small farm in Co Antrim I know how many EU regulations farmers have to comply with. They don’t need to be told by Brussels when to put out their slurry! Vote Leave and the subsidy will still be there but will be allocated after farmers have their voice heard on how it should be spent. Fishing communities have been destroyed by the CAP. Leave and we will get our fishing waters back.
On my travels I have listened to the commonsense of the British people. This vote transcends religion and politics in Northern Ireland. Go into the polling booth with your head held high, proud of your country and determined to win a brighter,hopeful future by voting LEAVE on June 23rd.
Kate Hoey is co chair of Labour Leave and MP for Vauxhall