At 3.30pm on Tuesday 6th February, Michael Fabricant’s "Analysis of Cost and Benefits (European Union) Bill" gained House of Commons support and received its official first reading. He told the House: "This Bill is all about knowledge: whether we benefit on balance from our membership of the European Union or whether our membership costs this country billions. Secrecy shrouds the facts. My Bill will establish a Parliamentary Commission which will conduct a cost-benefit analysis of our membership of the EU and report their finding publicly to Parliament at regular intervals to be determined by Parliament. It will take into account all the benefits of EU membership such as possible increased trade and inward investment and cost out directives and taxes paid to Brussels and compare the two.
"Of course I recognise that there is more to the EU ideal than just money. But what if our membership is costing billions that could otherwise be spent on schools, hospitals, the police, and pensioners?
"It is an irony that the United States Government and organisations like the British Institute of Directors have all conducted such analyses yet our own Government has not or it has but has chosen to keep its findings secret from Parliament and the people. This is plainly wrong. This side of the House believes we should be ‘In Europe, but not Run by Europe’, but nor should we be paying for Europe either."
Mr Fabricant quoted the extraordinary findings from some of the studies, including that of the U.S. Government, which suggests that financially, Britain’s industry would be far better out of the European Union than in. But he added "But this is according to other Governments. Our Parliament and our Government should conduct its own research and publish this ‘state secret’; whether we would be better off financially out of the E.U. than in. This information will then enable Britain to renegotiate the iniquitous Common Agricultural Policy and other European directives from a position of strength." Although opposed, the Bill won the support of the House.
To read the full text of the speech, click here.