A message from Andrew Lewer MBE MEP on the Brexit

A message from Andrew Lewer MBE MEP on the Brexit

Many of your readers will know that four out of five East Midlands MEPs are backing Brexit. I hope you will allow me to explain my reasons for coming to this difficult decision. I did not become an MEP to advocate the UK’s exit from the EU. I hoped that fundamental reform – full-on treaty change reform – of the EU was possible. It is certainly needed. The UK’s modest set of reform proposals, now watered down by our European partners, tells me there is no appetite for doing things truly differently in the EU. My optimism further diminishes knowing that the Prime Minister was dealing with the European Council – the least federalist branch of EU governance. The changes would have to be implemented by the European Commission. And the European Parliament has to approve the deal, but that will not happen until AFTER the Referendum has taken place. Who knows what further dilutions and amendments they will seek to impose? I do not… and I am an MEP! Finally, there is the European Court of Justice it has the final say in all matters of EU law. If a Heads of Government agreement conflicts with existing EU treaties, the treaties win. The EU does have its good points such as the Erasmus+ student exchange scheme, Horizon 2020 scientific research and development programme, international trade deals and the Single Market. However, there are significant drawbacks: over-regulation and interference loss of sovereignty the huge transfer payments we make – £350 million a week the continuing aim for an ever-closer union the lack of control over our borders and over...
Cider tax exemption to continue pending outcome of EU review

Cider tax exemption to continue pending outcome of EU review

A long-standing tax exemption for East Midlands small cider and perry producers will continue pending the outcome of an EU review next year. The news has been welcomed by East Midlands MEP Andrew Lewer MBE who has added his support to campaigns opposing an EU bid to remove the exemption – worth £2,700 a year. Last year the EU Commission ordered the UK government to end the 40-year tax exemption for producers who make less than 33 pints a day. But following campaigns by Andrew, other MEPs and CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), the EU agreed to review its decision and open a formal consultation. “The EU review will not be completed until next year,” said Andrew Lewer. “In the meantime, it is right there is no change to the UK tax exemption. “I believe the ruling was unfair and could have resulted in widespread closure of small cider and perry producers across the East Midlands and beyond.” Andrew said he would continue in his efforts to reject the tax hike which could land small producers with an extra tax bill of up to £2,700. “An increase of this size would make production uneconomical, severely impact consumer choice and cause irreparable damage to one of our most historic industries,” he added. Confirmation was given at the inaugural meeting of the European Cider Interest Group, set-up by West Midlands MEP Daniel Dalton to campaign for cider across the...
East Midlands MEP Andrew Lewer to vote to leave the EU

East Midlands MEP Andrew Lewer to vote to leave the EU

After months of weighing up the arguments to remain or leave, East Midlands MEP Andrew Lewer MBE has decided that “on balance” he will be voting against staying in the European Union. Announcing his decision, Andrew said he remained concerned that the deal struck by European leaders late yesterday (19 February) was not secure, could be further watered down by the European Parliament and disregarded by the European Court of Justice. “I had high hopes for the renegotiation,” commented Andrew. “It was our best opportunity to rein in the EU and hand back powers to national parliaments. “Without real treaty change, even this deal can be amended or blocked by the European Parliament or cast aside by the European courts. It means we will not know details of our final package until after we have voted remain or leave in the 23 June referendum.” Andrew added: “We needed fundamental reform of the EU. The EU needed to become a modern, effective force across Europe. Unfortunately, I do not believe the EU is willing or capable of delivering change and has made its priority clear – to create an ever-closer union. “That is why on balance I have decided that the UK would be better off leaving the...
Derbyshire man wins MEP’s Photo Competition

Derbyshire man wins MEP’s Photo Competition

Derbyshire resident Martin Hollingworth has today been announced as the winner of the East Midlands Photo Competition, which East Midlands Conservative MEP Emma McClarkin held earlier this year. The winning entry – a photo of the sun setting over the Trig Point at the top of Mam Tor, near Castleton, was judged by Miss McClarkin to be the best of all the entries submitted from across the East Midlands. As his prize, Mr Hollingworth will receive return travel to Brussels and accommodation for 1 night in a Brussels hotel for 2 people. Miss McClarkin, Conservative Spokesman for Culture & Education in the European Parliament, is a keen amateur photographer following in her father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. She said: “I’m delighted to announce Martin as the winner of the photo competition. The quality of entries was fantastic, but after much deliberation I decided his entry was the best. “I look forward to welcoming Martin to Brussels; I’m sure there will be a photoshoot or two involved!”...
Landmark vote on report to stop the Strasbourg travelling circus

Landmark vote on report to stop the Strasbourg travelling circus

East Midlands Conservative MEP Emma McClarkin has today welcomed a landmark vote in the European Parliament, as it took a major step towards scrapping the notorious Strasbourg travelling circus. A voting session of the parliament approved by 483 votes to 141 a report setting out a roadmap for reform. After the vote, Miss McClarkin said: “This vote is an overwhelming endorsement by MEPs of our campaign to scrap the parliament’s dual seat system. Today’s vote is not the end of the travelling circus, but I hope it is the beginning of the end.” The report focuses on the economic and environmental costs of the dual-seat system, as well as the weight of public sentiment – which is deeply opposed. It argues that the present arrangement is simply unsustainable, and MEPs should be allowed to decide for themselves where the parliament sits. Most of the European Parliament’s work is done at its huge complex of offices and debating chambers in Brussels, but once a month 766 MEPs, 3,000 staff and 25 trucks carrying documents and equipment all decamp 270 miles to Strasbourg in France to sit there for three days. This pointless and wasteful journey costs about £131 million a year and pumps 20,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. Miss McClarkin added: “Over the parliament’s seven-year long-term budget, travelling back and forth to Strasbourg will cost taxpayers a staggering £928 million. In the current economic climate there are so many things this would be better spent on, rather than empty buildings and needless...
MEP pleased as European youth study and sport package is agreed

MEP pleased as European youth study and sport package is agreed

The European Parliament today approved a comprehensive package of funding measures in the field of education, training, and sport which will cover youth study and training programmes through until 2020. The so-called Erasmus for All programme was supported by East Midlands MEP Emma McClarkin, along with other Conservative MEPs, after their pressure led to a significant improvement in support for grassroots sport. Miss McClarkin, who was the Conservative negotiator on the package, said: “This programme will present welcome opportunities for young people who choose to study overseas elsewhere in the EU. “It was important for us to gain the best possible support for grassroots sport and crucial that money should not be swallowed up by national and international sports bodies. We managed to achieve that.” During the debate in Strasbourg, the East Midlands MEP said: “I’m hopeful that this programme will continue to allow young people to take advantage of the opportunity to study overseas and to learn new skills and experience different cultures. “I’m delighted that sport has, for the first time, a dedicated budget and although I would have been happy to have given sport an even a larger part of the Erasmus budget, this is a positive first step. “I particularly welcome the focus on grassroots sport, as these are the people and organisations that stand to benefit the most from inclusion in the programme. I am hopeful that these opportunities will benefit not only the participants, but the wider...