Cumbria’s representatives in Parliament have today joined forces to pen an open letter setting out the positive case for Britain to remain in the European Union.

The letter, signed by the six MPs from three different political parties, explains that EU membership supports Cumbrian economic prosperity, and allows the UK to work collectively with other European countries to tackle borderless issues such as terrorism and climate change.

The Cumbrian MPs explain that they have “…set aside our differences to join forces on this one issue, with the simple message: without doubt, Cumbria’s best interests are served by Britain remaining within the European Union”.

Rory Stewart MP said:

“I have decided to vote to stay. I will do so because of things I care about it in this constituency such as financial support for small farmers and the environment (90 per cent of our lamb exports, go to Europe). I will also do so because of things I care about nationally, such as keeping Scotland in the Union. And I will do so because of things I care about outside Britain, such as European security. I find it better instinctively, as a rule of thumb, to build things together, rather than break them apart”.

The EU Open Letter is as follows:

Dear Sir/Madam,

As we approach the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union, as Cumbria’s representatives in Parliament, we are united in our belief that both Cumbria and the United Kingdom are better off in the EU.

Our membership of the EU supports our economic prosperity, allows us to work collectively and effectively with other EU nations to tackle issues such as terrorism and climate change, and it gives us a much stronger voice on the world stage. By remaining in a reformed EU, we will set the future European agenda, lead on plans to tackle the causes of terrorism, continue to enjoy significant economic advantages that we would not have outside the EU and remain one of the world’s leading nations.

With over 477,005 jobs in the North West linked to exports to the EU, it is undeniable that trade with Europe plays an important role in the prosperity of Cumbrian business. Our membership makes us attractive to international investors looking to create opportunities and jobs here in Cumbria, because in doing so they are set to benefit from trade opportunities with 500 million consumers in Europe. In fact, future trade with the EU could create 790,000 more UK jobs by 2030 by opening up markets in digital services, tourism and energy, all sectors of critical importance to communities like ours. We believe that Europe is of vital support to farming and the rural economy. Furthermore, it supports the environment and landscape, on which our rural economy depends.

European investments in our region are also substantial, and Cumbria will benefit from rural and agricultural development funding of £9.3 million between 2015 and 2020. Cumbria is also soon to see the biggest ever private sector investment that we have ever seen in the shape of the £20billion NuGen project at Moorside. NuGen is a consortium made up of French, American and Japanese companies. Every single one of these countries has made it clear that they believe that Britain’s future – and their investments – are best served inside the EU.

However, the benefits of our continued EU membership are not economic alone. Peace in Europe was hard won and since it was established, the EU has ensured that peace has prevailed on our continent. The preservation of this peace remains one of its guiding principles. Our shared resources and collective voice place us in a stronger position with which to deal with global threats than we would be alone. We are in no doubt that our EU membership strengthens our national security.

As Cumbria’s representatives in Parliament, we respect every viewpoint in this debate and we look forward to conversations with many of you about these issues as we approach June 23rd, when together we will make the most important decision facing our country in a generation.

Whatever the outcome of this referendum, the result will shape the future of our country and our county. As Members of Parliament from three different political parties, we have set aside our differences to join forces on this one issue, with one simple message: without doubt, Cumbria’s best interests are served by Britain remaining within the European Union.

Jamie Reed, Member of Parliament for Copeland

John Stevenson, Member of Parliament for Carlisle

John Woodcock, Member of Parliament for Barrow and Furness

Rory Stewart, Member of Parliament for Penrith and The Border

Sue Hayman, Member of Parliament for Workington

Tim Farron, Member of Parliament for Westmorland and Lonsdale

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