TOMORROW Britain will go to the polls to vote in the European elections. The choice could not be clearer: while other parties talk, the Conservatives are the ones who will deliver in Europe.
The other parties stand at the extreme: Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband on one side, both of whom think that there is nothing wrong with Europe; and Ukip on the other, which thinks that there is nothing right with it.
Like all propositions, the EU has costs and benefits. The European market is the biggest and wealthiest on the planet. But doing business in the EU can be too bureaucratic and too undemocratic. That’s why we need reform. The Conservative Party is the only party with a credible, practical plan.
From my time in the City, I know that uncertainty should be avoided at all costs. So our plan could not be clearer: end the fudge and give the people a promise – renegotiation on our relationship with Europe, and once we’ve negotiated, whatever the outcome, hold an in-out referendum in 2017.
With the UK economy on the rise again, we want an EU that helps rather than hinders growth, creates jobs and supports our long-term economic plan. In the UK we’ve cut red tape, and in Brussels we have secured an agreement in the EU to exempt small businesses from any new EU regulations.
British firms are exporting again, and Conservative MEPs have been at the heart of negotiations for free trade deals with South Korea, Canada and Singapore. Politicians have let down the voters before on Europe, but judge us by our record.
David Cameron vetoed an EU fiscal treaty that would have harmed the City, and didn’t guarantee a level playing field for British businesses. Conservative MEPs helped kill off proposals for an EU-wide Financial Transaction Tax that would have disproportionately harmed Britain’s financial services sector. And when everyone said that we wouldn’t be able to reduce the EU budget, Cameron cut it.
So the choice for voters and businesses in the UK tomorrow is clear. Labour and the Liberal Democrats won’t give you a say. Ukip can’t deliver on their promises, despite all the rhetoric. We are the only party that has delivered in Europe, the only party that is renegotiating a better deal in Europe, and the only party that will give you a say on Europe.
So if you want more jobs, more opportunities and a better future for British businesses, then vote Conservative tomorrow.
Mark Garnier is Conservative MP for Wyre Forest, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, and a former fund manager.