Stephen's EU Referendum Statement

“The choice facing voters in Pembrokeshire and across the United Kingdom whether to leave or remain in the European Union will be one of the key decisions of our lifetime.”

“I was two years old the last time people in this country had a choice on this issue. I strongly believe that the time has come for a new generation of voters to have their say too. This is exactly why as a government we are keeping our promise to hold this referendum.”

“There are benefits and costs, and risks and opportunities, with either leaving the EU or staying in. I am optimistic about Britain’s long-term future whatever happens, but we would be fools not to weigh up seriously the risks involved with either outcome.”

“If we vote to leave then there will need to be a very long process to negotiate the terms of our exit and whether we continue to remain in the bits of the EU system which we think are beneficial. It is vitally important for UK jobs that we stay in the Single Market so that we can trade freely. But it is wholly unrealistic to think that we can get access to the Single Market without also signing up to a set of binding EU rules – including the basic principle of freedom of movement for workers.”

“We already have a very different kind of membership compared to most other EU member states. We are not part of the Euro single currency and we maintain our own border controls.”

“The deal we struck at the European Council last Friday reforms and improves our membership further. For the very first time since we joined in 1973, the United Kingdom will now be exempted from the guiding principle of an ‘ever closer union’. This recognises that Britain will always have a special status within the EU.”

“We also got a far better deal than many had predicted on the issue of migrants claiming benefits. I am relaxed about people coming to Britain if they have genuine skills and talents to offer in the workplace. I am opposed to the way the benefits system has attracted immigrants here for the wrong reasons. The deal last week helps put a stop to that.”

“Those people who think that quitting the EU provides some kind of easy answer to the problems we face need to answer the question of what exactly the alternative is that they have in mind. This is where the risks and uncertainties become too great. No one really can say what so-called Brexit looks like. It is a leap in the dark.”

“Therefore I believe there is a strong and pragmatic case for Britain to stay inside the EU with our reformed membership. There remain many problems with the way the EU works which we will need to keep pushing against but, on balance, a vote to remain is the right thing to do.”