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UK Should Leave European Union 'Poverty Club,' Says Tory MP

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CARSWELL
REX Features

The European Union is "poverty producing club" that is "corroding" Britain's democracy, according to Tory MP Douglas Carswell.

The Clacton MP spoke on Friday as he introduced his private members bill that would repeal 1972's European Communities Act (EEC) and take the UK out of the EU.

"Far from being rising economic powerhouse, we have shackled ourselves to a corpse," he told the Commons. "At a time when the non-Western world is enjoying an extarodinary boom we are forced to watch."

"We pay for the privilege of being members of this poverty producing club. We joined the EEC because we wanted to be part of a growing trade bloc, in the event the growth has taken place elsewhere."

As a backbench bill that lacks government support it has no chance of being passed. But Carswell said he was presenting it in order to begin the debate about how the UK could extract itself from the union if it wanted.

"Being in the EU has done dreadful harm to our economy, it has put us in the global slow lane, but it has hampered our democracy too," he said.

He added: "What is the point of voting if those you elect have no power.

"A referendum is coming, it will boil down to in or out, the case for out gets stronger. Its not just the people who want out, it is, we hear, members of the cabinet."

Tory backbenchers have already staged a large rebellion against the government over Europe in this parliament and are increasingly vocal in their calls for an in/out referendum.

And education secretary Michael Gove is reported to have told friends that Britain has "nothing to be scared" of by leaving the union.

David Cameron has suggested that the Conservative Party will promise to hold some form of referendum if it returns to government after the next election in 2015.

However Tory Edward Leigh said there voters would be distrustful of any pledges which did not have any clear indication of what the question was.

"There is a huge amount fo cynicism on behalf of the British people, they have had promises of referendums in the past," he said.

Cameron is also on a collision course with the EU over its spending plans, threatening to veto any inflation-busting increases in the long-term budget.

Downing Street has also dismissed a separate 6.8% rise in EU spending for next year approved by MEPs as "completely unacceptable".