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Is this the time to leave the EU? Yes!

Tony Blair’s intervention, asking whether this is the time to leave the EU, should be met with a definitive cry of: Yes!

The EU presents the UK with significant regulatory and financial burdens that have meant UK taxpayers have faced ever increasing bills.

By the government’s own estimations, the UK taxpayer is due to spend £45 billion on membership alone during the next parliament (net) – a record amount and something that non-EU countries, from the USA to Australia, do not have to pay. Indeed, more and more countries, such as the USA, are negotiating free trade deals with the EU. Why couldn’t the UK do so if we left the EU? This question is especially relevant when we consider that the UK had a current account deficit with EU countries of £109.2 billion in 2014. Why would the EU not trade with the UK if it weren’t in the EU?

Mr Blair mentions that we are part of the largest economic union, yet when the UK joined the EU in 1973, the bloc accounted for 37% of world GDP and yet now accounts for under 20%. Furthermore, in 1983, Tony Blair stood for Parliament on a platform of leaving the then EEC – a position he has obviously changed substantially since.

Mr Blair is a politician of the past who also mentions that the EU is the largest political union. This is not a good thing. According to Business for Britain, in 1973 the UK had 17% of the votes in the Council of Ministers, yet now it only has 12%. Furthermore, the UK has not managed to block a single proposal from the Commission passing through the Council, despite trying 55 times.

Concerns are raised about not being at the table to defend UK interests on regulations that influence the UK. However, if the UK was outside the EU, the UK would be able to make 100% of its domestic laws and, with regards to the 14% of total UK GDP that depend on trade with the EU, make a free trade arrangement with the political union like Canada, South Korea and South Africa have done or as the USA wishes to do.

Finally, it is a bit rich for this former Prime Minister to be saying that a referendum will result in business uncertainty when, as leader of the Labour Party, he stood on a platform of holding a referendum if the UK were to join the Euro.

Leaving the EU would have many benefits for the UK.

The question to ask is, if not now, when?

To keep up to date with the Better Off Out campaign, do follow us on Twitter @BetterOffOut. For further information, please contact Rory Broomfield on rory@tfa.net or 07557772540.

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