Published: 00:00, 23 February 2016 |
Updated: 11:11, 23 February 2016
Charlie Elphicke has announced he is supporting the Prime Minister's campaign to stay in the EU.
The Dover and Deal MP announced his stance this morning (Tuesday) in a statement to the press.
Mr Elphicke's decision will bolster the Prime Minister's in campaign, which has gained momentum after he laid out his case in Parliament yesterday.
Mr Elphicke said: "I have always felt there are practical concerns with the European project.
"Yet I have always taken a pragmatic and hard headed view about what is best for Dover and Deal - and for Britain.
"I have read through every word of the agreement struck at the European Council by the Prime Minister.
"I listened carefully to the Prime Minister's statement to the House of Commons. And I met with Home Secretary this week to discuss what this means for Dover and Deal.
"I have considered deeply the implications for our community as regards jobs and prosperity, border security and national security."
He said he decided to "sleep on it" and this morning his decision was made.
He told The Mercury: "It was a very difficult decision to make but I feel we can't risk losing the Le Touquet agreement we have with France."
He cited vulnerability against Russia as another reason after Putin invaded Ukraine and threatens to invade Turkey.
His stance is contrary to the views of Canterbury MP Julian Brazier, who yesterday announced he wants Brexit, citing the pressure on public services caused by the "torrent of people" coming into the country.
Sandwich MP Craig Mackinlay is also in the Brexit camp along with Dartford MP Gareth Johnson, who said: “This vote is about autonomy - giving Britain greater say over the laws that affect us."
Meanwhile Sir Roger Gale (Thanet North) and Damian Collins (Folkestone) are in the In camp.
Before today's declaration, it was not clear where Mr Elphicke stood. By Monday he himself had not decided.
He hinted to the Mercury that he might call for a Brexit, saying he "needed to have a discussion with a few people."
If he had been joining the leave campaign, it would have been a greater courtesy than London Mayor Boris Johnson afforded Mr Cameron. He told him by text just nine minutes before going public on Sunday.
In a tweet to David Little, the UKIP Parliamentary contender for Dover and Deal, Mr Elphicke declared his scepticism for the Euro.
But political website TheyWorkForYou.com correctly calculated he would want to stay in.
Its prediction was based on previous Parliamentary voting by the MP, which showed he usually supported more integration with the EU.
For the full story and reaction, see this week's Mercury, out on Thursday
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