LETTER : Pro-Europeans are organising to fight back

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The Independent Online
From Mr Geoffrey Martin

Sir: Polly Toynbee makes some useful points. However, her sweeping indictment of the European side of the national debate left out some pretty fundamental points. Westminster was not even mentioned, yet it is badly informed backbenchers and anti-European media manipulators in the House of Commons who stimulate so much of the rubbish in the media about the European Union.

The principal reason why the antis are making so much propaganda is the thin Conservative Party majority in the House. Conservative pro-Europeans are unwilling to challenge them for fear of splitting the Conservative Party even further ahead of a general election. Naturally, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats are quite content to sit back and watch.

This internal squabbling means that opportunities are being lost by Britain in Brussels. In the absence of parliamentary leadership in Westminster, the country will continue to fall behind. What is needed is reflective leadership on Europe in Parliament.

Industry and others are waiting for firm political commitment. Business men and women look for political security to underpin their own investment judgement. It is certainly not for the European Commission, as a representative presence, to spend taxpayers' money trying to explain why anti-Europeans spend so much time undermining their own country's interests in Europe, and we will not do so.

By the way, the thirst for factual information about Europe in schools is huge. No MPs have protested and upwards of one million booklets have recently been printed to satisfy the growing demand.

Yours faithfully,

GEOFFREY MARTIN

Head of the Representation in the United Kingdom

The European Commission

London, SW1

10 May

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