Keeping Britain in...

Having put together some thoughts on taking the UK out of the EU in a previous comment, here are a few thoughts I’ve collected on keeping Britain in.

For a start, it may be the EU wants us to stay in the EU rather more than we do. Certainly most powerful woman in the EU - Angela Merkel - wants to keep Britain in the EU.

She likes the British political system and likes what the UK does for the EU - she feels the political weight and the political power of the EU would be hugely damaged – maybe even destroyed - if Britain was to leave.

So she makes it clear to Dave the UK will find its position in the world very much reduced outside the EU.

Ex Prime Minister Sir John Major is another who feels we might lose global influence outside the EU.

He also feels leaving the EU would be ‘very dangerous and against our long term interests’.

Sir John also is of the opinion that – just like Mrs Merkel - the rest of the EU definitely wants us to stay, because the UK is – along with France – one of only two EU countries with a worthwhile army.

The UK and France are also the only EU countries with a nuclear capability.

In short, says In campaign director Will Straw, being in Europe makes Britain stronger, safer and better off.

He continues, saying the Better Out campaigners’ spurious claim that Brits pay the EU £350million per week ignores everything we get back from our membership.

This includes the rebate, money for infrastructure and public services in poorer regions like Cornwall and West Wales and support for our farmers.

Mr Straw insists our net annual contribution amounts to a weekly payment of £6.50 per household - about £340 per year.

Among the benefits of staying in the EU, Mr Straw quotes the cost of using your mobile abroad dropped by 73p for every pound between 2005 and 2011 thanks to an EU agreement on roaming charges .

Mr Straw says these charges will be scrapped entirely by June 2017 after the EU forced companies to give users a fairer deal.

The debate over how many British jobs depend on Europe has been a long and thorny one, says Mr Straw, but he says the Treasury published an analysis last year that found 3.3 million jobs were linked to trade with other EU countries.

Labour's last government also quoted a figure of 3.5million jobs and studies have been quoting similar figures as long ago as 2000.

A recent CBI study estimates that EU membership is worth £3,000 for average households – a return of almost ten times what we put in.

Mr Straw also points out the UK benefits from over 50 Free Trade Agreements that the EU has brokered with other countries.

They are designed to open up the same kind of open-doors trade that the EU enjoys with itself to nations around the world.

Countries already involved range from Mexico to Lebanon, Korea, Colombia and South Africa.

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