NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay breaks referendum silence to declare PM’s deal ‘does not deliver the game changer we need’

Hubble bubble toil and Euro trouble: MP Steve Barclay with culture minister at Must Farm, Whittlesey

Hubble bubble toil and Euro trouble: MP Steve Barclay with culture minister at Must Farm, Whittlesey last week. - Credit: Archant

MP Steve Barclay broke his IN/OUT weekend silence on the European referendum by firmly declaring tonight he wants Britain OUT.

His brief message of support for the OUT lobby came via Twitter two hours ago. And it followed two days reflecting on the deal brought back by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Barclay, a Government Whip, tweeted: “The deal does not deliver the game changer we need to protect against further EU integration.”

Some of the clues to his position can be gleaned from various blogs he’s written in recent years – including a piece he penned about the European Arrest Warrant.

“Residents often contact me with concerns regarding the UK’s relationship with the European Union,” he wrote in 2014.

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“I hope it is helpful to update you regarding my vote in Parliament last week on the opt-in regarding the European Arrest Warrant.

“I voted against both the Government and the official Labour position on a motion to opt in to the 11 new policing and justice regulations set out by the European Union. I do not believe it is right that the UK should be required to submit to the jurisdiction of other member states whose principles of justice do not correspond with our own.

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“I believe that we need to renegotiate our relationship with the European Union and am fully in support of holding an in-out referendum, as it is important the British public have their say on this issue.

“Like many constituents I was outraged when the European Union requested an extra £1.7bn from the UK, and backed the Prime Minister in his negotiations to reduce the bill.”

He added: “A positive development is the decision to deny benefits to jobless EU migrants. People should not be able to come to the UK and claim benefits for up to five years when no money has been paid in. This is a good step in the right direction and we need to address other areas where benefits have been claimed without contributions being made.”

Mr Barclay has also written – and spoken extensively – about immigration into his NE Cambs constituency.

Four years ago he wrote that “if you drive along any road in my rural constituency in the Fens it is unlikely you will get far before you come across a group of agricultural workers in the fields.

“It is amongst these crops destined for your local supermarket that you will find an answer to some of the problems caused by European migration.”

He went onto highlight many of the problems faced by migrant workers, the conditions in which they were housed, their exploitation, and the anti social behaviour often associated with their presence in the Fens.

Mr Barclay pointed out that even if they wanted to, ministers cannot control the free movement of EU citizens from Eastern Europe “but they do have the opportunity to prevent some of its worst consequences”.

He called for the beefing up of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) and more inspectors on the ground “to identify illegal gangmasters abusing vulnerable workers, and civil penalties so that those who profit from their work can be hit in the pocket”,

He added: “Such a change will safeguard some of the most vulnerable workers in the UK, ease community tension from the fallout surrounding Eastern European immigration, and punish criminals profiting from their wrongdoing.”

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