David Cameron’s EU referendum ‘red line’ claim branded ‘smoke screen’ by Labour Sutton & Cheam candidate

David Cameron’s declaration that holding an EU referendum by 2017 is a ‘red line’ has been branded a ‘smoke screen’ by Labour’s Sutton & Cheam candidate.

Emily Brothers told SW Londoner that being a part of the EU was hugely important to the fiscal health of the UK.

She said:  “UKIP and the Tory right wing want a referendum to talk about it being a democratic process – that’s a smoke screen. They want to come out of the EU.

“The economic consequences would be catastrophic – it brings a global rate to our negotiations over the world.”

Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton and Cheam Paul Burstow claimed the Conservative position was more a ‘fog of confusion’ than a smoke screen.

He said: “The Conservative party is constantly flip-flopping its position in Europe.

“In 2011 we passed a law that if any further power shift were made in Brussels and Westminster, there’d have to be a referendum.

“It’s more a sign that the Conservatives are unclear what they do and do not want.

“It’s not a clear negotiating position – they’ve not outlined their plan.”

Conservative candidate for Sutton and Cheam Paul Scully claimed that holding a referendum would be the right thing to do.

He said: “I think we’ve absolutely got to do that.

“It’s something people expect and that people want. We’ve got to settle this once and for all. We’ve got to trust people to make that decision.”

He said that waiting until 2017 gave people the opportunity to make a measured decision.

He said: “Having a snap referendum wouldn’t do anyone any good – it wouldn’t allow people to have all the information at hand.

“Over two years David Cameron can work to negotiate a better relationship with Brussels.

“David Cameron set out a clear set of options – we can have a mature debate with the public over the benefits of being in and out of the EU.

“You want the facts. We don’t want rhetoric, politicky. We want facts so people can make an informed choice.”

Mr Scully admitted that he personally believed that the UK should withdraw from the EU, but was quick to clarify that it wasn’t Conservative policy.

He said: “Personally I do [want to leave] but as a party I don’t think that’s right at all.

“That’s why David Cameron is working on a campaign to stay in and reconstruct the EU.

“I’m not convinced we’ll be able to make enough change to satisfy me to make it worth staying.

Mr Scully disagreed with Ms Brother’s claims that an EU exit would be ‘catastrophic’.

He said: “In terms of the economy other people and other countries will continue to want our goods.

“The EU has become a protectionist as much as a free trade area – it’s putting up tariffs and setting obstacles to trading with some emerging markets.”

“It’s expensive to export to certain countries.

This is why we’re looking at a transatlantic partnership, which is being negotiated with the EU and America, there’s no reason why we can’t have the partnership with old commonwealth and emerging economies.”


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