David Cameron’s Case to Remain, Question Time.

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David Cameron’s Case to Remain, Question Time.

The Prime Minister appeared on Question Time last night, in front of a joint remain-leave audience, to give his support for the UK staying in the EU.

The audience were certainly combative at points. Early on, there was a question on why a referendum was given if the PM is so passionate about staying in the EU; on this, the PM said that Europe has changed, that an argument on Europe has been ongoing for 20 years, so giving the electorate a choice on the matter was right.

Cameron’s future was questioned too if Brexit were to occur. Cameron, in response, stated that he was re-elected as Prime Minister, he delivered a renegotiation and this referendum, so it is right that he stays on after the vote as Prime Minister.

His main argument was on the economy: listen to the experts, vote for a stronger economy, vote to stay in. furthering this argument, on the need to broker trade deals he said “80% of our economy is shared by the EU. We need a trade deal with India; but the idea of cutting ourselves off from our main market is economic madness.” He furthered his argument by saying that staying in is best for jobs and security.

As well as the economy, the control of immigration was at the heart of this Question Time. “Better controlled migration from outside the EU, and bringing in the changes that I negotiated” –that being people paying in to the system before gaining welfare. Cameron conceded that it is very challenging to control immigration, but there are good ways of doing so (welfare) and bad ways (leaving the Common Market and damaging the economy). The Prime Minister does not share the view that it is worthwhile to leave in order to address the issue of border control, and that “there is no silver bullet”. The PM went on to say that the freedom of movement from EU states is not the only movement of people which Britain is involved in; there is the movement of people from outside the EU too. Controlling outside the EU immigration has been a “difficult thing to do”

This Question Time saw the PM give an impassioned defence of the shared history that Britain and Europe have, with reference to Winston Churchill. In addressing a question over sovereignty: “We are proving through this referendum that if Britain wants to leave this organisation, we can. We are a sovereign country, we choose to join NATO or the EU. And if we do choose to leave, we can leave; but if we do leave, that’s it. We are quitting, we are giving up on this organisation. I do not think Britain is a quitter. We should stay and fight; I sit two yards away from the Cabinet Room where Winston Churchill decided to fight on against Hitler. He didn’t want to be alone: he wanted to be fighting with the French and the Poles. He didn’t quit on Europe, European democracy or European freedom. We want to fight for those things today. You can’t win if you aren’t in the room.”

On the question of Turkish accession to the EU, and if Britain could veto this accession, the PM said that this was a red herring in this debate and that there was no way Turkey could join for decades.

The issue of the contributions that the UK makes towards the EU was raised towards the end of Question Time. On this issue, the PM was adamant that there is no saving in leaving, there will be a cost. It is a common market, so there are contributions to be made. There are net contributors, which Britain is, so Britain pays more in rather than it gets out. The PM’s argument was that we get more back in with jobs rather than outright monetary gains.

Perhaps the combative nature of the audience owns itself to the lack of clarity the wider EU debate has had. The Prime Minister used this Question Time to give reasons for staying in the EU, and to address the concerns of voters. On Thursday the debate will end, and Britain will either leave or remain the EU.

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