Peer slams Nick Herbert’s ‘scare’ tactics on EU referendum

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)   

News Release

 18th January 2016

Peer slams Nick Herbert’s ‘scare’ tactics on EU referendum

The independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has rounded on Tory MP Nick Herbert for his “quite ridiculous use of language” and for trying to “scare people” into voting to stay in the EU, in the forthcoming referendum.  Mr Herbert has described leaving the EU as a “jump into a void.”

Lord Stoddart said: “It is a quite ridiculous language use of language, designed to scare people. A ‘void’ is nothingness.  The truth is that by leaving the EU, the United Kingdom would be taking a bold step forward into the real world, by retrieving our right to govern ourselves unhampered by decisions taken by 27 unelected officials from other countries, most of which are inimical and unsuitable to the status and interests of the UK.  This much needed freedom would enable us to trade on a worldwide basis, rather than on terms dictated by Brussels.

“The only ‘void’ would be in respect of the immediate cessation of our net annual payment of £10 billion and rising to Brussels, which could then be used to put funds back into our much neglected public services and give aid to industry and agriculture.

“In my view, staying in the costly, incompetent, chaotic and corrupt EU is the biggest leap into darkness imaginable.”

Government reveals £78.9 billion deficit in trade with the EU in 2014

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

19th November 2015

In response to a written question from the independent Labour peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, the Government has revealed the 2014 figures for UK trade with the EU and which expose a £78.9 billion deficit with the EU.

Responding for the Government , Lord Maude of Horsham, from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said:  ‘The UK’s trade in goods deficit with the EU was £78.9bn in 2014. The overall trade in goods and services deficit with the EU was £61.7bn.’

Lord Stoddart, commenting on the Government’s response, said:  “We are constantly told that EU membership is vital for our trading interests.  The Government’s answer exposes it as a deceit.  The EU countries sell far more to us than we do to them, so we can see who really benefits from EU membership.  Even more seriously, the deficit has to be financed and it is quite clear that much of it comes foreign companies buying up British businesses.  This is not a bottomless form of funding and cannot be relied on indefinitely.  Our trade deficit with the EU has been going on for decades and is something the public needs to understand, when considering how to vote in the forthcoming referendum on EU membership. We need a simple free trade agreement with the EU, not the whole panoply of membership and the huge financial and regulatory costs that come with it.”

Ends

The full text of Lord Stoddart’s question and the Government’s reply is as follows:

From: Written Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Sent: 17 November 2015 17:53

To: STODDART, D Lord
Subject: Written answer to your QWA HL3451 received from Lord Maude of Horsham, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Lord Maude of Horsham, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL3451):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the deficit in trade with the EU in 2014 in (1) goods, and (2) overall in goods and services; and how that deficit is financed. (HL3451)

Tabled on: 09 November 2015

Answer:
Lord Maude of Horsham:

The UK’s trade in goods deficit with the EU was £78.9bn in 2014. The overall trade in goods and services deficit with the EU was £61.7bn.

The UK’s total trade deficit is financed by a net inflow of investment in the financial account, for which data is not available on a geographical basis. The UK’s financial account surplus was £89.4bn in 2014.

Source: ONS Pink Book 2015

If South Korea can do it, why can’t we?

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The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

3rd November 2015

Peer hammers Government for pro-EU bias and stay-in campaigners for belittling our country’s ability to stand on its own

During a debate on the European Union Referendum Bill in the House of Lords (02.11.15), the independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has pointed out the bias being exhibited by the Government in the debate about Britain’s future in the EU and strongly criticised fellow peers who regularly talk down Britain’s ability to cope as an independent sovereign nation.

Lord Stoddart said that it is impossible to obtain unbiased information from “…the Government because they are in fact biased. I say that because the Prime Minister has just been to Iceland where he made his position perfectly clear, which is that he wishes to remain in the EU. He believes that it is the best thing for Britain to do, so he has made his position absolutely clear. How can the Government be unbiased?

In a hard hitting speech, Lord Stoddart bluntly stated that “the British national interest cannot be served in the European Union. That is because the European Union is exactly what it says it is and what it wants to become. It has been made perfectly clear by unelected officials and indeed by elected people that they want further integration. However the Prime Minister tries, he will never be able to join a full Union unless he is prepared to agree to more integration.”

Lord Stoddart also expressed serious concerns about the habit those who support staying in the EU have of belittling our country and its ability to thrive as an independent nation. “The other thing that has worried me about this debate is the lack of confidence that so many people have in this country’s ability to negotiate with other countries and to stand on its own and build up its own businesses and exports. Why is it that other countries in the world can do it? Why can South Korea do it with a population of 25 million? Why cannot Britain, with a population of 65 million, negotiate successfully with other countries when smaller countries including Saudi Arabia and Iceland can? The Prime Minister of Iceland made it perfectly clear that it was doing very well outside the EU with a population of 350,000 and did not want to go into the EU any longer. Why have we lost confidence in ourselves?”

The full text of some of Lord Stoddart’s remarks during the debate are as follows. Click on this link for the full debate.

Referendum Bill – second reading

House of Lords – 2nd November 2015

Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Ind Lab): My Lords, I have been listening to this debate all afternoon and I find it very interesting indeed. I also realise that all the amendments are well meant, but I think that the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, has hit the nail on the head. What she wants is unbiased information, and she believes that you cannot get it from the Government because they are in fact biased. I say that because the Prime Minister has just been to Iceland where he made his position perfectly clear, which is that he wishes to remain in the EU. He believes that it is the best thing for Britain to do, so he has made his position absolutely clear. How can the Government be unbiased? The noble Baroness said that we have civil servants and they will be unbiased. Civil servants are never unbiased; they take their lead from the boss, as in fact they should. Knowing that the Prime Minister has gone abroad and said that he believes that the United Kingdom should remain in the EU come what may will condition whatever is put into these reports. We should make no mistake about that.

2 Nov 2015 : Column 1450

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Would the noble Lord allow for the possibility that the Prime Minister might have reached the position he now holds because of his concept of the British national interest and his position as Prime Minister in trying to define that national interest?

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: Yes, I believe that the Prime Minister believes that, but the British national interest cannot be served in the European Union. That is because the European Union is exactly what it says it is and what it wants to become. It has been made perfectly clear by unelected officials and indeed by elected people that they want further integration. However the Prime Minister tries, he will never be able to join a full Union unless he is prepared to agree to more integration, and that of course will also mean joining the euro. Further integration must include the euro and anyone who wishes to be part of further integration will have to join it or else leave or become some sort of associate member. Those are the facts and we should not try to deny them.

6 pm

The other thing that has worried me about this debate is the lack of confidence that so many people have in this country’s ability to negotiate with other countries and to stand on its own and build up its own businesses and exports. Why is it that other countries in the world can do it? Why can South Korea do it with a population of 25 million? Why cannot Britain, with a population of 65 million, negotiate successfully with other countries when smaller countries including Saudi Arabia and Iceland can? The Prime Minister of Iceland made it perfectly clear that it was doing very well outside the EU with a population of 350,000 and did not want to go into the EU any longer. Why have we lost confidence in ourselves? Why is it that so many people say we have to be members of this great organisation to succeed?

Mr Cameron, let Parliament see your negotiation proposals

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

20th October 2015

Peer calls on PM to consult Parliament on the EU re-negotiation before going ‘cap in hand’ to Brussels

The independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has called on David Cameron to put his proposed EU re-negotiation stance to Parliament for debate before taking it to the European Council.

Lord Stoddart said:   “At the moment, Westminster seems to be playing second fiddle to the European Council.  I understand that Mr Cameron is going to write to the President of the Council to set out his proposed negotiations before bringing them to Parliament.  I call upon the Prime Minister to lay his proposals before Parliament in the right and proper manner and to do so before he presents them to the Council.

“I would remind Mr Cameron that he is the Prime Minister of a Government and sovereign Parliament at Westminster and he is subject to the traditional obligation of any Prime Minister, namely to consult Parliament first about this or, for that matter, any other major Governmental policy decision.

“Therefore, I have submitted a written question in the House of Lords, asking if the Prime Minister is going to consult Parliament, before going cap in hand to Brussels.”

State aid – Redcar illustrates how the EU constrains us

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

1st October 2015

Redcar steelworks closure emphasises impotence of the Government and strengthens case for leaving the EU

Commenting on the closure of the Redcar Steelworks, the independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has highlighted the impotence of the Government in the face of strict EU rules on state aid and that being unable to help the steelworkers, who face losing their jobs, strengthens the case for leaving the EU.

Lord Stoddart said:  “The Government openly admits that EU rules on state aid for industry constrains their ability to provide financial support for the Redcar steel plant, to prevent its closure.  This is yet another example of EU membership leading to loss of jobs for British workers and further loss of manufacturing industry.  This must, surely, bolster support for leaving the EU, even among those in the Labour Party and some trade unions, who believe that the United Kingdom should remain in the EU, come what may.

“Sadly, it is a long established principle that our democratically elected Government must wade through a sea of EU red tape and go cap in hand to Brussels to beg for permission to help our own industries, from unelected bureaucrats at the European Commission.  Once again, it is quite clear who really governs Britain.”

 

rn the UK alone.

Declare your interest!

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

25th  August 2015

Peer challenges unions and think tanks receiving EU funding to ‘come clean and declare an interest’

Following recent revelations that the European Commission is secretly funding trades unions and think-tanks to promote pro-EU messages on both sides of the Atlantic, in the run up to the referendum on EU membership, the independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has called on all such organisations to make it clear that they are being funded by the EU.

Lord Stoddart said:  “We are in the disgraceful situation where taxpayers’ money is being given by the EU to organisations openly campaigning for the UK to stay in the EU.  What they are not so open about is the fact that they are being under-written by the EU itself.  They should make that clear in all their pronouncements on this topic.

“I do not absolve individuals from declaring an interest either, most notably  politicians who are in receipt of pensions from the EU, which are conditional upon not being critical of Brussels. In the interests of a fair referendum, it is time for these organisations and individuals to come clean and declare an interest.”

The European Commission has a £500 million per annum promotional budget and spends at least £200,000 a year funding think tanks and unions in the UK alone.