In today’s interview with The Telegraph’s Robert Winnett, David Cameron rules out campaigning for British withdrawal from the European Union if a referendum is held, arguing that an exit would hurt Britain’s exports:
I think it would be bad for Britain,” he says. “When I look at what is in our national interest, we are not some country that looks in on ourself or retreats from the world. Britain’s interest – trading a vast share of our GDP – is to be in those markets. Not just buying, selling, investing, receiving investment but also helping to write the rules. If we were outside, we wouldn’t be able to do that.
The Prime Minister is clearly wrong on this point. As a new study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research shows, UK exports of goods outside the EU have now overtaken those to the EU. The CEBR points out that the big growth areas for British exports in the next five years are expected to be in Asia, Latin America and Africa, not Europe. There is also no reason why Britain could not negotiate a free trade agreement with the European Union if it left, and it would certainly do the same with the United States and a host of other global players.