After months of campaigning, there is now less than a week to go until voters will have their say on whether or not the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union.
It’s a subject which has dominated the letters pages of the Journal for weeks, with readers passionately stating the case for both sides of the argument.
The referendum vote will take place on Thursday, June 23. It has been frequently described as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people to have a say on the future direction of the country – and polls published last week suggested the vote was too close to call.
British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK are eligible to vote, along with UK nationals living abroad who have been on the electoral register in the UK in the past 15 years.
In this special feature, we ask the three MPs whose constituencies fall in our circulation area to explain how they intend to vote in the EU referendum and why.
IN: Nick Boles, Conservative MP for Grantham and Stamford, said: “On Thursday, the British people come to a fork in the road.
If they vote to Remain in the EU, businesses will start investing again, creating new jobs and offering working people the prospect of sustained growth in wages. The Government will be able to deliver the extra money which the NHS needs, meet our promises to protect pensions and carry on creating three million new apprenticeships. We will be able to look forward with confidence and optimism.
“If we vote to Leave, any joy at the prospect of disentangling ourselves from Brussels will quickly be replaced by anxiety and retrenchment. The uncertainty over our future trading relationships will cause an economic shock and punch a hole in the public finances which will have to be filled by tax increases or further cuts.
“For the sake of all those who depend on a strong economy I hope you will vote to Remain.”
OUT: Stephen Phillips, Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, said: “I and others fought very hard to ensure that this referendum happened.
“Since I became an MP, I have always been clear that the EU has become an institution that lacks democratic consensus in the UK. It is no longer the trading union for which my parents voted in 1975.
“Having secured that referendum, it will be for the British people to decide whether to remain or not. My vote counts for no more than anyone else’s.
“For me, however, this is about democracy; about who runs our country. I believe that we should all be able to vote out of office the people who make the laws by which our lives are lived.
“That is why, having considered the matter carefully, on June 23 I will vote for the UK to leave the European Union.
“This is a referendum in which we all have a vote and I know that others will make a different choice, which I respect, as I hope they will respect mine.”
IN: Sir Alan Duncan, Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton, said: “I believe Britain should remain in the EU to ensure we do not lose the economic advantages we currently have.
“Our membership brings real benefits, such as access to the single market and the ability to travel easily and cheaply for work and leisure, but we are being asked by the Leave campaign to throw those advantages away without a plan for the future. They want us to take a leap into the dark without any idea of where we will land.
“They tell us we should ‘take control’, but all they really have to offer is fake control; either we would be outside the single market at huge economic cost, or we would be trying to trade with it without the ability to influence its future direction.
“A vote to Remain allows us to keep the economic advantages and the political clout to shape the future of the European Union.
“A vote to Leave would see us lose both.”