Following David Cameron’s speech on Europe today, North West Labour Euro MP Arlene McCarthy said:

“Cameron’s speech was not about advancing Britain’s interests in Europe or speaking to the nation. Cameron has only succeeded in kicking the referendum into the long grass for four more years.”

“His speech was riddled with ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ – if he is re-elected and if he can negotiate a “new settlement” with Europe – it’s hard to know exactly what the British people are being offered.  Only 3 months ago Cameron flatly rejected the idea of an in/out referendum.  Today’s speech is a deception and a con designed to placate Eurosceptics in his own party.”

“In 2012, the North West’s exports reached its highest ever level.  Germany, France and Ireland are among our 5 biggest customers, despite the Eurozone crisis and exports to the Netherlands and Belgium are growing.  In 3 months alone we exported goods worth 3.42 billion pounds to the EU – more than any other country. Outside London and the South East we are the biggest exporter region in the UK.”

“Companies wanting to invest in the North West are none the wiser after this non-speech. On the contrary, the uncertainty of this government’s commitment to Europe and our economic future persists.   It is an unnecessary gamble and risks jobs and investment at a time when people want jobs and growth to be the top priority.   My priority as a Euro MP is to continue to encourage the EU to invest and trade with the North West.”

Arlene pledged to continue to work with business to ensure the North West gets the benefits of EU membership.

She added:  “So far Cameron’s actions have failed to impress any of our EU partners and he has no chance of getting reform with this attitude.   We will get on with our quiet diplomacy, working towards a flexible, adaptable and open EU and speaking up for North West people and business’ interests.”

France responded quickly to Cameron’s speech and offered to “roll out the red carpet” for Britain if it chooses to leave the EU.  France stands to gain hugely from the relocation of businesses seeking to remain in the internal market if Cameron is preparing Britain’s exit.

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