“We are now in the midst of this EU referendum and by common consent it is at present far too close to to call.”

Speech to a meeting of the Canadian International Council, chaired by the former Canadian Foreign Minister and Minister of Defence, William Graham.
Toronto, Tuesday 3 May 2016.

Read the full text here: TORONTO SPEECH

View a video of the speech here: TORONTO SPEECH VIDEO

Extracts: My visit to Canada is to explain the In/Out EU referendum in the UK due to be voted on the 23rd of June. It is not to convert you in Canada to why I think the political time has come when we should leave the EU. We owe it to you rather as longstanding friends to explain the circumstances and help you to understand what is going on. Why our political parties and even families are divided. Why some, like myself, who were enthusiastic supporters of entry, in my case since 1962, now find ourselves wanting to leave.

….We are now in the midst of this EU referendum and by common consent it is at present far too close to to call. The unprecedented intervention by an American President visiting and taking David Cameron’s side during a British election period has created a slight backlash in the polls. I want to believe that this backlash is indicative of a fighting spirit in the British electorate that is determined to leave. In large part because they are becoming evermore aware of the two key issues, economic and political, underlying their vote.

…. The advantage of the UK leaving the EU is the clarity of objectives it brings to the development of Europe. It will end the pretension, the besetting sin of the EU. The UK will return to self government, making its own laws, controlling its borders with a points system for immigration and be free to trade as it wishes worldwide. The rest of the EU will determine who becomes in effect part of one country with its own monetary, defence and foreign policy. Far from being of itself damaging, it allows the EU – if it can summon the will – to resolve the eurozone crisis.