Letter: Britain and Europe: the sceptics reply

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Sir: I do so agree with the six Conservatives who wrote to your newspaper that Britain must lead in Europe, not walk away (letter, 19 September). Sir Winston Churchill wanted a European Union and a Union of the English-speaking peoples, with Britain belonging to the second of these bodies. Events have moved on since then.

The way for us to have real influence in Europe is to offer an alternative to Chancellor Kohl's scheme of political, monetary and economic union. We should seek a Europe of Nations, as the Government's White Paper proposes. We should reinforce the Foreign Secretary's warning that currency union is set to divide the Community, creating new rows and tensions. We should insist that Europe's politicians tackle the Continent's main problem, the crisis of mass unemployment.

Britain has a lot to offer in the debate. It is our policies of flexible exchange rates, lower interest rates and lower taxes which are delivering success in the battle for jobs. It is the EC's policies of rigid exchange rates, monetary tightness preparing for union, higher taxes and the Social Chapter which are destroying jobs on the Continent.

Most Conservatives do not want Britain to turn in on herself. We are not Little Englanders. We know that Britain must live by trading with the wider world. We need trade and friendship with Western Europe as well as with Asia and the Americas. Now is the time for Britain to show decisive leadership in Europe. It is time for Conservatives to shape Europe for the better. That requires less government from Brussels and an economic climate suitable for enterprise.


(Wokingham, C)

House of Commons

London SW1