Speech by Jonathan Evans MEP, Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, in Southampton
Welcome to the final phase of the Conservative Party's campaign for the European Elections on June 10th.
I have spent the past month visiting every corner of this country --- making the Conservative case on Europe.
And I can tell you --- it's been a great few weeks.
We launched our national campaign for the European Elections in Manchester on the 29th of April.
We then went round the country, launching campaigns --- in Scotland -- Wales -- the South East -- the West Midlands -- the South West -- London -- the Eastern Region -- the North East -- Yorkshire and The Humber -- and the East Midlands.
I have met fishermen in Plymouth, farmers in Yorkshire, business men and women in the East Midlands, construction workers in the North-East - -and quite a lot of people in Wales! Everywhere I've been, people understand that it is the Conservative Party that speaks for them on Europe.
In contrast, Tony Blair has barely mentioned Europe at all in the past month.
In April, he called for a debate on Europe and the Constitution.
But ever since then he's been running away from one.
Well, Conservatives have been contributing to that debate at every opportunity.
We have a clear view about the future of Europe --- and the future of Britain in Europe.
We oppose the euro.
We oppose the European Constitution.
We oppose the creation of a European federal state, with its own President and army.
We oppose the loss of border controls --- and the loss of control over our asylum and immigration policy.
In short, we oppose giving away more and more of Britain's powers to Brussels.
Instead, we have a positive but different vision for Europe.
We believe in free trade --- and we want more of it.
We believe in cutting red tape --- and regulations --- and bureaucracy --- and waste in the EU.
We believe in getting back control over our own fishing policy.
We believe in giving British farmers a fairer deal in Europe.
Quite simply, we believe in Britain being in Europe --- we just don't believe in Britain being run by Europe.
And that's what we mean when we talk about putting Britain first.
The Prime Minister, the Government, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats --- all of them have a different view to us.
Now, on June 10th, the British people will have the opportunity to have their say.
Vote Labour or Liberal Democrat and see more and more of our powers go to Brussels.
Or vote Conservative --- and put Britain FIRST.