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european referendum

EU Referendum Portal

EU Referendum: The ‘Leave’ Campaign

There are two opposing sides to the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union. We’ve put a quick guide together on those who think we should leave the EU.

Who are the Brexiteers?

‘Vote Leave’ are running the official campaign for leaving the European Union. There are two heads of the Vote Leave campaign, Michael Gove, Justice Secretary and Conservative MP and Gisela Stuart from the Labour Party.

Within Vote Leave are several existing Cabinet members who were permitted by the Prime Minister to campaign personally rather than with the government’s position. These are Chris Grayling, Leader of the House of Commons, John Whittingdale, Culture Secretary, Theresa Villiers, Northern Ireland Secretary, Priti Patel, Employment Minister, Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary (now former) and Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London and member of No.10’s Political Cabinet.

Other prominent supporters

  • Lord Nigel Lawson, Chancellor of the Exchequer during the Thatcher Governments
  • Daniel Hannan MEP – Conservative Party
  • Lord David Owen – former Labour Foreign Secretary
  • Kate Hoey MP – Labour MP and head of Labour Leave
  • Nigel Farage, Leader of the UK Independence Party
  • Michael Howard, former leader of the Conservative Party
  • Frank Field MP – Labour MP

What are the arguments of the ‘Leave’ Campaign

They claim that the institutions of the EU can not cope with changing technological and economic forces. They state that we have lost control of vital area of policy and need a new deal based on free trade and friendly cooperation. They state that the EU wishes to create a state called ‘Europe’ and elections should be about the public choosing who make the laws.

They want to see the end of EU law having supremacy over UK courts and an end to the money, £350 million every week, that is sent to Brussels. Vote Leave wishes to see this money spent on UK priorities such as the NHS or scientific research.

Leaving the EU means taking back control

  • In the EU, decisions are made by three key bodies; the European Commission (which is unelected), the Council of Ministers (where the UK is outvoted) and the European Parliament. This system is deliberately designed to concentrate power into the hands of a small number of unelected people and undermines democratic government.
  • There are 19 Eurozone countries which have built-in majorities when it comes to decision-making. If the EU decides to introduce a law that will be bad for Britain there is nothing we can do to stop it.
  • EU law is supreme over UK law so we cannot scrap any of these new rules. Britain has lost control of many things that are fundamental to what Abraham Lincoln called ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ – our economy, trade, migration, human rights, and even the rules on things like the building of schools and hospitals (which add billions to taxpayer bills). EU judges have already overruled UK laws on issues like counter-terrorism powers, migration, VAT, and whether prisoners should be allowed to vote.
  • The European Court controls our ability to deport violent criminals or terrorists
  • The European Court controls our ability to require migrants to have proper identification issued by our Government
  • The European Court increasingly controls how our intelligence services combat terrorism
  • The European Court controls how we implement the vital 1951 Convention on refugees


  • The EU’s immigration system makes us less safe
  • We have few powers to stop people entering the UK who we think can not contribute to our economy or have a criminal background
  • The pressure on public services from EU migration has meant skilled people from non-EU countries are being blocked
  • The Schengen policy has left countries unable to cope with the migration crisis and European countries are being forced to re-introduce border controls to try and keep their citizens safe
  • The European Courts are attacking our border controls
  • The EU has made the refugee crisis worse as the Charter prevents European nations halting the flow of boats across the Mediterranean which have cost so many lives
  • If we vote to stay, EU judges will decide who gets British citizenship
  • The EU’s immigration system puts pressure on the NHS through rising demand. Not paying £350m every week, this funding can be redirected

Trade, investment and jobs will benefit outside of the European Union

  • The EU is a shrinking market for the UK
  • In 2014, the UK exported £147.6 billion worth of goods to the EU (49% of all UK goods exports) and exported £81.3 billion worth of services to the EU (37% of all UK services exports).
  • Overall, 44% of UK goods and services exports went to the EU (£228.9bn), while the remaining 56% of UK goods and services exports went to the rest of the world (£286.3bn).
  • Today, the UK has an extremely large trade deficit with the EU (i.e. we buy far more from them than we sell to them). In 2014 we sold £228.9bn worth of goods and services to the EU, but bought £290.6bn.
  • 70.6% of the UK economy is domestic business, not international trade. Exports of goods and services to the EU represented 13.1% of GDP in 2014. Exports of goods and services outside the EU represented 16.3% of GDP and were 25% more valuable than exports to the EU.
  • The UK is a far more open economy than other EU countries. According to Eurostat, in 2014, the share of UK goods exports going to countries outside the EU is higher than every other EU member state bar Malta.