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BAME MPs join EU Vote Leave campaign

VOTE LEAVE: Conservative MPs James Cleverly (left) and Adam Afriyie

ADAM AFRIYIE, James Cleverly and Kwasi Kwarteng are among a group of more than 20 MPs from Commonwealth backgrounds, or representing black and minority ethnic (BAME) constituents, who have written an open letter calling for the UK to leave the European Union.

The MPs argue that Britain’s membership of the EU is a barrier to ties being strengthened with the Commonwealth and the rest of the world. They also claim that a Vote to Leave will allow the UK to adopt fairer trade and immigration policies.

The cross-party group of signatories also includes Priti Patel, the Prime Minister’s UK-India Diaspora Champion, and Nadhim Zahawi MP, a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

Patel, who was appointed UK Diaspora Champion in 2013 said: “India is a growing market with the fastest growing working age population of any other major economy - but it is a market that we are forbidden from striking a trade deal with because it is against EU rules. That’s just one example of how the EU is holding our great nation back - if we Vote Leave we can change that.

PREJUDICE

"Similarly, EU membership has led to us having an immigration system with discrimination and prejudice at its core. At present, we discriminate against those outside the EU - all due to the fact that EU freedom of movement rules mean we are unable to control migration from countries that are members of the bloc."

She added: "If we Vote Leave we can look forward to a safer, more secure, and more prosperous future - we can introduce a fairer immigration system, and take back control of our trade policy. We can also take back the £350m we send to the EU every single week, and spend it on our priorities instead."

Gisela Stuart, Chair of Vote Leave said: “If we vote to remain, the UK will be unable to make trade deals with the rest of the world as the Eurozone economy stagnates. This means that the UK may well remain unable to trade on favourable terms with major emerging economies in the years ahead, while remaining tied to the failing Eurozone. The percentage of UK exports going to the EU has been in decline for a decade. If we vote to remain, we will tie ourselves to a shrinking market. It is beneficial to Vote Leave and take back control’.

The letter reads: "Commonwealth countries like India have been in talks with the EU about doing a trade deal since 2007 - to no avail. While we stand ready to trade and build close ties with countries across the world, the EU is inward looking, protectionist and more concerned with defending its own vested interests than supporting global trade and growth.

"As well as damaging our economy, membership of the EU has left Britain vulnerable to the pressures of mass uncontrolled levels of immigration from Europe. The pressures this causes means that we have to turn away qualified doctors, teachers, and entrepreneurs from non-EU countries who would make a positive contribution to this country. The ancestors of many people we represent fought alongside the British in two world wars, but are now forced to stand aside in favour of people with no connection to the United Kingdom. This is unfair.

"Over six million residents from diverse ethnic backgrounds are eligible to vote, their voices are crucial in this debate if we are to secure a positive future for our country. We send £350 million pounds a week to the EU, money which would be better spent on our priorities. The referendum is an opportunity to take back control of our borders, our economy and our democracy and finally rejoin the rest of the world. That’s why it’s essential to Vote Leave on 23 June."

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