Brexit discussion with Conor Burns MP
Following on from yesterday’s Brexit encounter, today Conor Burns, Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West, spoke to a well-attended audience advocating for a British withdrawal from the European Union. Commencing by explaining how it is “impossible to exert influence” over the decisions made in Brussels, he denounced the European project as being “set on a course that we do not share” especially when relating to the extension of the Union’s influence into political and monetary spheres – he stressed that the EU we see nowadays is far from the trading bloc that we joined in 1973.
Conor’s spearheading attack against Brussels came from what Brexiteers regard a gaping democratic deficit in the day to day running of the European Union. He claimed that via the creation of a flag, anthem, parliament and what will soon be an army, the EU has “acquired all of the attributes of statehood.” To further support his point, he gave evidence of how the European Parliament (the elected legislature) is “not the law making body of the Union” and that the power to initiate legislation resides in the unelected Commission, described as unaccountable by Mr. Burns.
In the question and answer session, students from both BS and BSG interrogated the arguments laid forth by the MP. Some have criticised the leave campaign for hostility towards open border immigration and to counter claims of isolationism, Conor delineated on his vision for a post-Brexit Britain, critically reminding the audience that this referendum is about the future of the UK, not of this government.” I do not want this country to be a less generous place” he said, before going on to clarify that whilst we have border controls, we the lack passport controls that would otherwise create a “less discriminatory immigration system.”
One observation made by many commentators has been that the EU referendum has evolved into nothing more than a civil war in the Conservative Party, a party that throughout recent history has been stubbornly divided around the European question. Conor stated that he is one of the countless MPs who have signed a letter manifesting their confidence in David Cameron as the Prime Minister, even if we ultimately vote to leave. Nevertheless, for the post-Brexit negotiations, he argued that Mr. Cameron would “not be the right person to negotiate our terms” since he had so vehemently opposed a Brescape. Instead, he listed Michael Gove and Gisela Stuart as the ablest parliamentarians to fill the Prime Minister’s shoes.
Finally, Conor dismissed the assertions of ‘independent experts’ on why Britain should remain, citing the fact that these same organisations were wrong about the Euro, suppressing any concerns by exclaiming “we would be in control of our money” and “we have a great future, looking to the horizons of the globe.”
His closing statement brought the event back to where it began – democratic accountability and British influence. Mr. Burns said that even with the prospect of a Brexit dangling in front of their eyes, the Eurocrats did not “offer any treaty change or repatriation of powers.” Explaining how this is a manifestation of Brussels’ intransigence, he passionately remarked “I see no hope of any change if we remain in the European Union.”
The Bournemouthian extends its thanks to Mr. Bonds for arranging the event and, of course, to Conor Burns MP for his willingness to come to BS just hours before the crucial vote.
Full video footage of the initial speech given by Conor can be seen here: