Harpenden MP Peter Lilley wants to quit EU

Hitchin & Harpenden MP Peter Lilley in the House of Commons

Hitchin & Harpenden MP Peter Lilley in the House of Commons - Credit: Archant

Euro-sceptic MP Peter Lilley has told a national newspaper that he will vote to leave the European Union.

Peter Lilley MP

Peter Lilley MP - Credit: Archant

The MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, a former Conservative cabinet member at the time of the debate into the Maastricht Treaty, believes that quitting the EU is the only way to regain full control of this country’s laws, money and borders.

He made his comments after a meeting to discuss his concerns with Prime Minister David Cameron whom he described as ‘our most euro sceptic Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher’s last term and a determined negotiator”.

Mr Lilley pointed out that the ‘insubstantial outcome’ of the Prime Minister’s EU negotiations served to reveal the intransigence of the EU establishment.

He stressed that his initial position was not to leave the EU as he was ‘a gradualist by temperament’ who did not expect change overnight. But he was now convinced that leaving could be done smoothly and there were plenty of precedents.

Mr Lilley believes that should there be a vote to leave in the referendum, widely expected to be held in June, existing EU law should be adopted into UK law so it could be amended in due course.

He also proposes that under the principle of continuity in international law, this country would accede to most EU trade and other treaties on existing terms. Should the EU refuse a trade agreement, savings on the UK’s contribution to the EU should be used to reimburse the tariffs exporters would otherwise face - and there would still be £4 billion to spare.

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*St Albans MP Anne Main is a known Euro-sceptic who has twice voted against any more EU influence on the running of the UK.