I was dismayed to read Chris French’s dismissal of the Government’s Leaflet setting out why it believes that remaining in the EU is the best decision for the UK as ‘misleading propaganda’ (Letters May 5).
It is neither propaganda, nor is it misleading, for reasons which Mr French and his colleagues in the UK Independence Party would do well to consider.
It is not propaganda because the Government is simply responding to the public desire for facts on our membership of the EU: independent polling has found that 85 per cent of people want more information from the Government to help make an informed decision. This follows precedents set ahead of the previous referendum on our membership of the EU in 1975, as well as referenda on the creation of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly in 1997, and the Scottish referendum in 2014. Furthermore, the two designated campaigns will have access to public funding available for their own leaflet to every voter or household – along with the Electoral Commission’s own leaflet in which both campaigns will be given a page each.
Nor is the leaflet in any way misleading. Three million jobs are linked to our exports to the EU, thanks to our full, tariff-free access to the single market of 500 million people that enables British businesses to trade more and create jobs for working people here in the UK. If we were to leave the EU, none of the alternative models that the Leave campaign propose would offer anything close to this full access that we currently enjoy – especially not for our services industry, which makes up nearly 80% of the UK economy. And all this would mean is fewer opportunities for our businesses to grow and expand.
Moreover, this leaflet makes clear that if we voted to leave the EU, there would be an economic shock that would put jobs at risk, lead to higher prices, and threaten families’ financial security. Indeed, as the Treasury has found, the average household would be poorer to the tune of £4,300 every year.
But maybe this isn’t a concern of Mr French given that his party leader famously declared that he would rather Britain was poorer than stay in the EU.
The Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP
Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex
House of Commons, London
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