Letter: UK role in Europe

Sir: The Prime Minister's decision, announced in his speech yesterday, to join with senior politicians from other parties and lead the Britain in Europe campaign, making the positive case for Britain's involvement with Europe, paves the way for a historic change in Britain's attitude towards its relations with Europe.

There is an anti-European minority which seeks to rule out British membership of the single currency, even if it were in our national interest to join, and perhaps take Britain out of the European Union altogether. That view is rejected by the vast majority of British people.

Britain has gained greatly from our membership of the European Union. It accounts for almost 60 per cent of our visible exports, and three and a half million British jobs are linked to trade with Europe. The anti- Europeans would put those benefits in jeopardy. That is why it is so important to restate the importance of Britain playing a leading role in Europe.

Involving senior politicians from all parties, as well as people from business, the voluntary sector, and trade unions, Britain in Europe represents the mainstream, commonsense view of the British people that Britain's place is in Europe, and that we should maintain a credible option to join the single currency if the economic conditions are met. The Britain in Europe campaign will redress the balance of this debate and ensure that the British people are fully informed about this crucial issue.

That is why we - representatives of the three British political parties - along with many of our colleagues, fully support the Prime Minister's leadership of the Britain in Europe campaign. Our country's future depends upon the outcome of this debate.

Lord AHMED

Lord BASSAM OF BRIGHTON

ALAN BEITH MP

(Berwick-upon-Tweed, Lib Dem)

MALCOLM BRUCE MP

(Gordon, Lib Dem)

Dr VINCENT CABLE MP

(Twickenham, Lib Dem)

MENZIES CAMPBELL MP

(North East Fife, Lib Dem)

Baroness CRAWLEY

EDWARD DAVEY MP

(Kingston and Surbiton, Lib Dem)

ALAN DONNELLY MEP (Lab)

BARBARA FOLLETT MP

(Stevenage, Lab)

PAULINE GREEN MEP (Lab)

Baroness GOULD OF POTTERNEWTON

Sir EDWARD HEATH MP

(Old Bexley and Sidcup, C)

Lord HOLME OF CHELTENHAM

Lord HOWE OF ABERAVON

Baroness LUDFORD

LEMBIT OPIK MP

(Montgomeryshire, Lib Dem)

GILES RADICE MP

(Durham North, Lab)

ANDREW ROWE MP

(Faversham and Kent Mid, C)

BILL RAMMELL MP

(Harlow, Lab)

Lord THOMSON OF MONIFIETH

STEPHEN TWIGG MP

(Enfield Southgate, Lab)

MICHAEL WELSH

Sir RAY WHITNEY MP

(Wycombe, C)

GRAHAM WATSON MEP (Lib Dem)

Britain in Europe

London SW1

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