Local Conservatives have enjoyed supper with Andrew Lewer MEP, who is one of the five Members of the European Parliament for the East Midlands, at the White Heather, Caenby Corner, near Market Rasen.
Guests enjoyed a two course menu of roast chicken breast supreme wrapped in bacon, topped with a white wine and mushroom sauce served with seasonal winter vegetables, roast and new potatoes. For dessert guests enjoyed a warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. Coffee and chocolate followed.
The Association’s Deputy Chairman (Membership & Fundraising), Mr. Kelly Smith, introduced Andrew Lewer MEP who spoke about his election to the European Parliament in May, earlier in the year, and discussed a number of topics related to the current functioning of the European Union and how Conservative MEPs are fighting in Britain’s interest. He said:
"My suspicions of many of the activities of the European Union - held since my student days - have now become such (as it were) common currency, that as a newly elected MEP I feel the need to redress the balance to some degree. Although it is undoubtedly the case both that the EU wastes a lot of money and that we do need to renegotiate our terms of membership, especially as regards immigration and the ‘ever closer’ union concept, it is also the case that some EU programmes are beneficial to the British economy and its people.
"As Conservative European Spokesman on Culture and Education, two elements of EU activity within the higher education sector are of particular interest to me and illustrate the positive side of EU membership. Erasmus+ is an EU scheme, worth around £10 billion between now and 2020, that will enable many thousands of British students to experience study in other EU countries. Now that so many degree courses across the EU are taught in English a traditional barrier to involvement for our students has been lowered and I thus hope that we can take strong and full advantage of this scheme. The UK has one of the best university sectors in the world and is especially excellent at research. This has enabled our country to be the highest beneficiary per head in the whole of Europe in accessing money for research that came from a £40bn pot known, excitingly enough, as Framework Programme Seven and we will, I am sure, continue to be top in accessing the £60bn for research and innovation to come from the new Horizon 2020 programme."
Mr. Lewer touched on the developments that day regarding the demand for £1.7bn of extra monies from Britain and the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s achievement in halving this demand; securing a better deal for Britain. Mr. Lewer also commented on the Conservative's pledge to hold a referendum in 2017, saying:
"I say none of this in the spirit of having ‘gone native’ (already!) but simply as a ‘Euro-realist’ and towards seeking a balanced view of the complex choice British people will face if a Conservative Government is elected next year and an EU referendum is therefore held in 2017. Whether you are inclined towards ‘in’ or ‘out’ a vote is desperately needed to settle this issue; after all, the last EU referendum was nearly 40 years ago now!"
“We are very grateful to Andrew for making the time to come and visit us. When you represent the five and a half million people of the East Midlands it can be difficult attending to parliamentary duties and keeping in touch with your constituents. That is one reason we hold our supper club, to keep our politicians connected to local people.”