UKIP Leader Nigel Farage responds to Lord Heseltine's stance against holding a referendum on Britain's EU membership (BBC News - 12.01.2013)
We've got to have a big fundamental decision: Do we want to be part of an organisation that is heading towards full federation, or don't we? - Nigel Farage
• BBC News (12.01.2013) | Asked to comment about Lord Heseltine's recent warning against holding a referendum on EU membership, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said:
"The reality is that Lord Heseltine is one of those politicians who 40 years ago quite deliberately openly lied to the British people about what the Common Market was really going to be.
"And ever since then he has advocated us getting ever more deeply involved. He wanted us to join the euro. He is perfectly happy for almost all of our laws to be made in Brussels.
"And he doesn't want a referendum. He's putting pressure on the prime minister not to promise a referendum, because he fears what the public will say.
"And this argument about the world being an uncertain place: the world is an uncertain place whether you're inside the European political union, or outside the political union.
"After all, we've got 17 members of the eurozone who have now openly said, using the 'F' word - federal - that they are moving on to build a new state.
"And we've got to have a big fundamental decision, not on the minutiae of detail, but a big fundamental decision: Do we want to be part of an organisation that is heading towards full federation, or don't we?
"So, really, I think the question is very easy. It's in or out.
BBC: And do you think the public can grasp what that means, if we're out?
Farage:"Well I think what it means, in democratic terms: Do you wish to govern your own country, or be governed from elsewhere?
"And in economic terms, my side of the argument will say: Look, Mercedes would want to go on selling their cars in Britain. Europe has a massive trade surplus with this country and business will go on as normal.
"The other side will argue that there'd be threats to foreign and direct investment and that europe is a vital market place.
"All I would say to all of that, is we're living in a global economy and important though Europe is as a market place, it is now down to 38% of our exports and likely to fall further.
"And the UKIP argument is: We must embrace the rest of the world for trade, not just Europe."
Asked about Lord Heseltine's "point" over the implications for EU businessmen wishing to set up shop in the UK, Farage said:
"I think the point Heseltine is trying to make but getting it wrong is that we do not need to be in a political union in order for companies and consumers in this country to do business with the rest of Europe.
"Outside the European Union there are nearly 50 trade agreements that the EU has with other parts of the world. They are not bound with the rules. They are not part of that Union. That is how buisness operates.