373,000 SAY NO TO THE EU
Tuesday February 1,2011
The Daily Express’s historic crusade for the country to withdraw from the EU marched on Downing Street.
Editor Peter Hill led a delegation to hand over the bulging sacks of petition coupons signed by 373,000 of our loyal readers.
In an indication of the growing support at Westminster, five senior MPs from both sides of the House of Commons helped to carry the petition to the Prime Minister’s home.
Daily Express Editor Peter Hill stands with MPs, The Crusader, reader Alan Brown and Express chief political commentator Patrick O'Flynn
Tory MP Philip Hollobone said: “Congratulations to the Daily Express for saying so clearly what most of Britain actually feels. At least one national newspaper has the guts to speak out on this issue.
Get Britain Out of the EU
Daily Express Crusade
“The message has been delivered straight to the door of Number 10. The Prime Minister will certainly take note of the strength of feeling on this.”
The Daily Express’s petition is among the largest collected by a newspaper in living memory. Coupons from 350,000 readers were sent in and a further 23,000 signed up on our website.
Marching on Downing Street with your petitions
Mr Cameron was last night understood to be considering his response.
Among the Daily Express delegation which carried the petition to the PM’s door were Labour MP Kate Hoey and Tory backbenchers Peter Bone, Douglas Carswell, Philip Davies and Philip Hollobone.
Also present were Daily Express chief political commentator Patrick O’Flynn, political editor Macer Hall and retired bookmaker Alan Bown, 68, of Kent, a representative of the hundreds of thousand of Daily Express readers who have made their voices heard.
The MPs last night praised the Daily Express for highlighting the strength of feeling about an issue almost entirely ignored by the political establishment.
The famous crusader provides a fitting guard for loyal readers' petitions
Kate Hoey, a former minister and Labour MP for Vauxhall in south London, said: “The Daily Express should be congratulated. This shows that a huge number of people believe we should leave the EU. Politicians of all parties need to take note.”
Douglas Carswell, MP for Clacton, in Essex said: “From the number of signatures, it is obvious the Conservatives could have won a clear majority at the last election if we had got our act together and had a clear policy on Europe.”
And Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough, Northants, added: “Congratulations to the Daily Express. This is a huge step forward in the campaign to get the right to have their say on our membership of the European Union.
“This petition should be debated in the House of Commons.”
Daily Express reader Alan Bown said: “The Daily Express crusade has been a massive morale booster to everyone who feels Britain would be better off out of the EU but despaired of ever having a mainstream media voice on their side.
“Like many of its readers, I would like to salute the courage of the newspaper in taking this stance and leading from the front where others have been content to whine about Brussels but bottled out of doing anything about it.” Outside the security gates of Downing Street, the delegation gathered around the mountain of petitions, crammed into more than 20 Royal Mail sacks.
The Crusader stands guard over Daily Express readers' petitions
They were joined by The Crusader, representing the newspaper’s world-famous masthead motif.
Mr Hill knocked on the famous black door, where an attendant received some of the sacks. There were so many that No 10 could not take every one and most of them were sent to another office.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “We will respond in the usual way.”
The huge pile of sacks was also briefly taken to the nearby UK office of the European Commission, where Jonathan Scheele, head of the European Commission’s Representation in the UK, said: “Membership of or withdrawal from the European Union is a decision for an EU country to take itself and has nothing to do with the European Commission.”
Critics of EU waste and bureaucracy last night praised the Daily Express for highlighting the depth of feeling. Jon Gaunt, spokesman for the EU Referendum Campaign, said: “Now that hundreds of thousands of Express readers have spoken, the British public must be allowed to have their say in a straight ‘in or out’ referendum.”
Stephen Booth, of the think-tank Open Europe, said: “The UK needs to take a much more direct approach to fighting for radical reform in Europe, without which frustration with the EU will only grow.”
And Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance group said: “At a time when we need to find savings it is inexcusable that the EU costs us £20million a day in taxes, with so much waste on bureaucracy and fines that often we pay twice. Stopping the drain of taxpayers’ money into the EU’s coffers should be a top priority.”
Despite the spiralling cost to UK taxpayers, voters have not had a say on whether to remain in the EU since the national referendum under Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1975.
Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/226477/373,000-say-no-to-the-EU/373-000-say-no-to-the-EU#ixzz1Ci97iHzC