Letter: Britain and Europe: the sceptics reply

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The Independent Online
Sir: While there are few who would doubt the sincere commitment of Sir Edward Heath to the European Union cause or his personal integrity, we believe that the signatories to his letter (19 September) should ask themselves whether it is tolerable in a democratic society for economic management and control to be transferred to a central bank in Frankfurt without the people being consulted.

As Britain saw to its great cost during the ERM episode, artificial exchange rates are simply a recipe for unemployment and excessive borrowing; and as we should also be aware, the tragic and growing levels of unemployment in the EU appear to stem significantly from a commitment to such artificial exchange rates.

Although the views expressed in Sir Edward's letter now appear to be very much minority opinions, it cannot be denied that there are deep divisions on the issues within the Conservative Party. Surely the right answer is to accept the basic principle that the nation belongs to the people and to nobody else. As democrats, we would appeal to Sir Edward and his colleagues to accept that the only answer to the divisions, which would undoubtedly also be reflected within any future Labour government, is to pass legislation to give the voters an opportunity of deciding whether they wish to continue with Euro integration, to seek to abandon it, or to endeavour to secure a separate relationship with the EU.

It is rather unfair and insulting for Sir Edward's supporters to refer to the views of Eurosceptics as being those of "little Englanders". We regard our stance as being that of Conservatives seeking to secure our position in a world trading situation rather than as participants in a protectionist, costly and bureaucratic Brussels enterprise denied democratic control.


(Southend East, C)


(Holland with Boston, C)


(Aldridge Brownhills, C)

House of Commons