The Member of Parliament for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich said staying part of the European Union would “give the best future” for his constituents, after pledging his support for the Remain campaign in the referendum this summer.
Dr Dan Poulter, whose opinion is shared by all other MPs in Suffolk, stated he backed the EU reform package recently negotiated by Prime Minister David Cameron, and has now urged both sides of the debate to respect one another in the four months leading up to the referendum vote on June 23.
Last week, the Diss Express reported how Richard Bacon, the South Norfolk MP, had sided with the Leave campaign, stating he felt many people wanted Britain to become a “self-governing country.”
Dr Poulter explained he had reached his decision after weighing up the arguments on either side, and considering the views of businesses and residents in his constituency.
“On balance, I feel it’s in the best interest of our area,” he told the Diss Express.
“In particular, I have listened to a lot of farmers who draw benefits from the EU, and I have also spoken to large employers who employ a number of my constituents. The jobs these people are employed in are linked with trade in the continent.
“Even some of the people who want to remain in the EU have reservations about some aspects of membership.
“But overall, the benefits of free trade, and the threat of punitive tariff barriers, is for many people something in the forefront of their minds.”
Dr Poulter, a former Health Minister, claimed it was a difficult decision with a lot of factors and “arguments for the head and the heart”.
He also said, however, that his vote was no more important than anyone else’s, and that it was now up to the people of Suffolk and the UK as a whole to make their choice.
Commenting on how both the Remain and Leave sides had been campaigning so far, the MP added he hoped the debate would be carried out in a “grown up and adult way”.
“My view is we need to keep it a positive campaign and we must not allow it to become personalised”, Dr Poulter said.
“It is in nobody’s interest to personalise the debate on such an important issue when it should be about whether to stay or leave.”
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