Tag Archive: eu

Trio sentenced for defrauding the Home Office of EU funds

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Three fraudsters have been sentenced for conspiracy to defraud after stealing more than £1.1 million of public money from the Home Office in an EU immigration funding fraud.

Mohammed Muj Meah Chaudhari, aged 38 of Bowyer Road, Birmingham was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and banned from being a director of a company for ten years. His sister Suraiya Alam, aged 44 of Bowyer Road, Birmingham was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for two years and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

Their colleague Victoria Sherrey, aged 66 of Fairfield Lane, Kidderminster was sentenced to two years, suspended for two years and ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work. Sherrey and Alam were also disqualified from being a director of a company for five years.

The trio committed their fraud by claiming that their firms, Inspire Futures Ltd and Accent on Training Ltd were helping with the social, cultural and economic integration of hundreds of foreign nationals into the UK. The three were able to fraudulently claim grants of £546,132 for Inspire Futures Ltd and £584,102 for Accent on Training Ltd EU, most of which was spent on a luxury Bentley car, lavish holidays to Dubai and numerous pieces of gold jewellery.

On 6 April 2011, both Chaudhari, representing Inspire Futures, and Sherrey, representing Accent on Training, applied for two EU grants which were being offered from the Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows European Integration Fund, set up in 2007. Following approval of the grants on 1 June 2011, both Accent on Training and Inspire Futures each received their first grant payments of £86,380 and £69,666 in November 2011.

Over the next three years, Chaudhari, Alam and Sherrey were instrumental in applying for several grants from the same fund. However, information received by the Home Office officials managing the fund in December 2014 showed that as part of its bi-annual returns, Inspire Futures had submitted false invoices and payroll claims for staff who no longer worked for the company. During an audit by the Home Office Internal Audit Unit in January 2015, various invoices and payslips were uncovered which contained typographical errors.

The evidence found during the audit suggested to Home Office investigators that false documents had been created to justify the funds spent by Inspire Futures and Accent on Training. The Home Office consequently contacted the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad in February 2015, at which point an investigation was begun.

Chaudhari was arrested on 29 April 2015 following a search warrant carried out by detectives at the Inspire Futures headquarters in Birmingham and at Chaudhari’s home address. Among the items seized were a substantial amount of gold jewellery and £5,000 in cash from a safe and a large amount of paperwork including false bank statements and fake invoices. Chaudhari, Alam and Sherrey were all charged on 21 January 2016 with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

The European Integration Fund is to support and encourage economic, social, cultural and political integration of foreign nationals into British society, specifically in this case within Birmingham, the Black Country and East London.

The Home Office managed the Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows funding on behalf of the EU. This grant is no longer awarded in the UK.

Detective Sergeant Simon Russen of the City of London Police’s Fraud Team said: “These fraudsters have stolen significant amounts of public money which should have been used to support vulnerable people. Motivated purely by greed, they designed a complex scam to fund a luxury lifestyle built on deceit.

“The co-operation of the Home Office with our investigation has helped ensure these criminals have been brought to justice.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are committed to preventing the misuse of public funding and have strengthened our procedures to make it harder for those seeking to commit fraud of public funds.”

Confiscation hearings will now take place against the three.

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EXITING THE EU WITH CERTAINTY

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The Government will today take the next step in returning power from Brussels to the UK by introducing the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

Known as the Repeal Bill, it is designed to ensure that the UK exits the EU with maximum certainty, continuity and control. As far as possible, the same rules and laws will apply on the day after exit as on the day before.

This will allow the UK to leave the EU while ensuring that our future laws will be made in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff.

For businesses, workers and consumers across the UK that means they can have confidence that they will not be subject to unexpected changes on the day we leave the EU. It also delivers on our promise to end the supremacy of EU law in the UK.

The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, said:

"This Bill means that we will be able to exit the European Union with maximum certainty, continuity and control. That is what the British people voted for and it is exactly what we will do – ensure that the decisions that affect our lives are taken here in the UK.  

"It is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that has ever passed through Parliament and is a major milestone in the process of our withdrawal from the European Union.

"By working together, in the national interest, we can ensure we have a fully functioning legal system on the day we leave the European Union.

"The eyes of the country are on us and I will work with anyone to achieve this goal and shape a new future for our country."

The Repeal Bill is a mechanism to achieve three simple aims:

  • Repeal the European Communities Act, remove supremacy of EU law and return control to the UK.
  • Convert EU law into UK law where appropriate, giving businesses continuity to operate in the knowledge that nothing has changed overnight, and providing certainty that rights and obligations will not be subject to sudden change.  
  • Create the necessary temporary powers to correct the laws that no longer operate appropriately so that our legal system continues to function outside the EU.

The Bill sets out how we will prepare our statute book for exit but will not make major changes to policy or legislation beyond what is necessary to ensure the law continues to work properly on day one.

As we exit the EU we want to ensure power sits closer to the people of the UK than ever before. The Bill will ensure that nothing changes for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – they will not lose any of their current decision-making powers.

The Government expects there will be a significant increase in the decision-making power of each devolved administration.

As powers are repatriated from the EU, the Government will ensure they are exercised within the UK in a way that ensures no new barriers to living and doing business within the UK are created. This will protect the UK internal market, ensuring we have the ability to strike the best trade deals around the world, protect our common resources, and fulfil our international obligations.

The Government has already made clear that as the Bill affects the powers of the devolved administrations and legislates in devolved areas, we will seek the consent of the devolved legislatures for the Bill. We would like all parts of the UK to come together in support of this legislation, which is crucial to delivering the outcome of the referendum.

The Bill will also provide the Government with a limited power to implement elements of the withdrawal agreement we expect to reach with the EU before we exit.

We are clear we want a smooth and orderly exit and the Bill is integral to that approach.

To ensure we are prepared for the process of withdrawal from the EU, the Government will also introduce a number of Bills over the course of the next two years including a Customs Bill and an Immigration Bill.

The Repeal Bill means we can make corrections to EU law so that it functions as UK law – this could involve changing a reference to a particular piece of EU law or transferring important functions from EU institutions to UK institutions, depending on the outcome of the negotiations.  Allowing corrections to be made quickly will provide certainty for business.

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May pledges to ‘earn every vote’

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Theresa May has pledged ‘to earn every vote’, and makes a call for old divisions to be put aside, saying that every vote for the Conservatives will demonstrate ‘a unity of purpose’ for the best possible deal for Britain in the Brexit negotiations.

The Prime Minister said: “I am determined to earn every vote I can because that will strengthen my hand in the Brexit negotiations, and enable me to provide the country with the strong and stable leadership it needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.

“We need that strong and stable leadership more than ever before. We face a crucial time in the history of our nation. Our future prosperity, our place in the world, and our standard of living all depend on getting the next five years right.

“Yet as we have seen in recent days, it will not be easy. The negotiations ahead will be tough. Across the table from us sit 27 European member states who are united in their determination to do a deal that works for them. We need that same unity of purpose here at home to ensure we can get a deal that works in Britain’s national interest too.

“Every vote for me and my local team in this election will be a vote to demonstrate that unity of purpose, to strengthen my negotiating position, and to help me secure the best possible deal for families and businesses across this United Kingdom.

“That is why I called this election, and why we need it now. It is a chance to put old divisions behind us and to bring the country together.

“It is why I am determined we should not spend this campaign rerunning old arguments, and why we should move beyond the language of ‘leave’ and ‘remain’. And it is why I am determined not to allow parties like the Liberal Democrats to prosper, because it is in their interests to prop up a Corbyn coalition of chaos so that the Brexit process stalls and they can reopen the battles of the past. Wherever it says Labour or Liberal Democrat on the ballot, it’s a weak, nonsensical Jeremy Corbyn that gets the vote.

“At the last election, voters here in the South-West were the difference between a strong, majority government and a weak, unstable coalition of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP. The opposition parties are lining up to prop up Jeremy Corbyn and disrupt our Brexit negotiations – a recipe for years of drift and division at this crucial time.”

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Brexit… not yet. High Court rule on postponement of EU exit

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IN OR OUT: The Brexit debate has risen once again in the UK

IN OR OUT: The Brexit debate has risen once again in the UK

British Prime Minister Theresa May says she remains determined to carry out the ‘will of the people’ next year and lead Britain out of the European Union, despite a High Court ruling casting doubt on Brexit.

Speaking to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Germany's Angela Merkel she reaffirmed her commitment to triggering Article 50 by March 2017.

A High Court ruled on Thursday 3rd November that the UK government does not have the legal power to begin formal exit negotiations with the EU without the approval of parliament.

Following the news, a government spokesperson said: “The government is disappointed by the Court’s judgment.

“The country voted to leave the European Union in a referendum approved by Act of Parliament. And the government is determined to respect the result of the referendum.

“We will appeal this judgment.”

DISCUSSIONS: May phoned both European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured) and Germany’s Angela Merkel to confirm her stance to follow through with Brexit

DISCUSSIONS: May phoned both European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured) and Germany’s Angela Merkel to confirm her stance to follow through with Brexit

One day later, May contacted both Juncker and Merkel via telephone to confirm the government’s appeal.

Her focus on ensuring government has the right to invoke Article 50 has incensed some lawmakers, with onea member of her ruling Conservative Party - MP Stephen Phillips - resigning over ‘irreconcilable policy differences’ with May.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: “The focus of the government is on the Supreme Court case, winning that case and proceeding with article 50.

“Clearly we are disappointed by yesterday's decision, we'd rather not be in this position but we are, so ... the key is our commitment to triggering Article 50 no later. The end of March remains the target for the government.”

He added: “What is important here is that we had a referendum, there was an overwhelming result in favour of leaving the European Union and that is what the government must do.”

STANDING STRONG: Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that she will be appealing a High Court ruling which threatens her Brexit plans

STANDING STRONG: Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that she will be appealing a High Court ruling which threatens her Brexit plans

The court ruling has given hope to anti-Brexit supporters, with investors and pro-EU lawmakers urging parliament to put pressure on the Tory government and help ensure a ‘softer Brexit.

In the immediate aftermath of the High Court ruling, the sterling hit a one-week high against the euro, whilst it also rose by one per cent against the US dollar - the biggest increase since August.

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Wakefield councillor urges victims to report hate crimes after suffering racist abuse

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cllr nadeem ahmed racism (800x532)

I voted ‘leave’, not ‘racism’

The Conservative leader of Wakefield council, who this week has been targeted by racial slurs, has urged communities to stand together after the nation voted to leave the EU.

Cllr Nadeem Ahmed, of Wakefield South, was told to ‘return home to Pakistan’ during a trip to a local ‘drive-thru’ in what is one of the latest report s of hate crimes since the referendum last month.

A sharp rise in racist incidents has been seen across the country, with police figures showing a fivefold increase for the week following the vote to the weekly average.

Cllr Ahmed, who admits that he now ‘regrets voting to leave the EU’, labelling the ‘out’ campaign as one ‘built on lies’, says he would back a re-referendum.

“I voted to leave and I regret that decision,” he said. “All my friends who voted similarly are the same.

“The immigration issue has been overplayed and the most identifiable group are being targeted because we have darker skin colour.

“What is especially worth noting is that the majority of people being targeted, like me, were actually born in Britain. We were raised here and know no other life.”

Cllr Ahmed, who was with his children at the time of the racist incident, says he was not initially going to report the remark and only did so because he bumped into the Chief Superintendent of West Yorkshire Police in the town hall that same day.

He is now urging others to come forward and report such actions, adding his belief that ‘for every one crime reported, a further 20 go unreported’.

“As a British Pakistani, I feel there is a culture where we just put up with this kind of thing and tolerate it,” he said.

“It’s only because I saw the Chief Superintendent when I was at the town hall that I mentioned it.

“He had earlier told me that he was happy that race hate crime hadn’t increased in Wakefield post-Brexit but the reason it hadn’t increased is because most people won’t report it.”

He added: “The police handled the case really well but they can only direct resources to an issue if it is reported.

“I said that I didn’t consider it serious enough because of the amount of work they have on. They told me that the people often involved with racist crimes are involved in other means of criminal activity as well.”

With accounts of racist abuse increasing across the country, Cllr Ahmed says it is time to stand up against the criminals.

“I think we are at a point now that the trend has been highlighted, we know how prominent these crimes are and now we must look at what action to take.

“The immigration issue was overplayed in Brexit and now people are being targeted.

“The term immigrant is even something that needs addressing. How long does someone stay an immigrant? There are around a million Brits living in Spain, we call them expats.

“There is a negative connotation to the word immigrant now.”

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With Boris Johnson out, who will be the next Prime Minister?

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SHOCK AND DRAMA: Michael Gove effectively torpedoed Boris Johnson’s chances for Prime Minister by announcing his own surprise bid for the top job

SHOCK AND DRAMA: Michael Gove effectively torpedoed Boris Johnson’s chances for Prime Minister by announcing his own surprise bid for the top job

Boris Johnson will not be the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after being ‘stabbed in the back’ by long-time ally Michael Gove.

Justice Secretary Mr Gove threw the book at the former London Mayor this week, saying that Mr Johnson was not the right person to lead the country and instead revealed he would run for leader.

In a speech in London, billed as his campaign launch, Mr Johnson admitted that he did not believe he could provide the leadership or unity needed after Gove’s shock announcement.

It was the biggest political surprise since Prime Minister David Cameron quit after losing last week's referendum on British membership of the European Union.

So who’s in the running to be next Prime Minister?

 BOOKIES’ FAVOURITE: Theresa May is the favourite to become the next leader of the country

BOOKIES’ FAVOURITE: Theresa May is the favourite to become the next leader of the country

The bookies' favourite to win the contest is Home Secretary Theresa May.

The 59-year-old has held the Home Office since 2010, and is a former Tory party chairman.

She says she can offer the ‘strong leadership’ and unity the UK needs, and promised a ‘positive vision’ for the country's future. She was one of the Tories who backed staying in the EU but she told a news conference that ‘Brexit means Brexit.’

Mrs May said: “The campaign was fought, the vote was held, turnout was high and the public gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the back door and no second referendum.”

The aforementioned Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, was a key figure in the party’s modernisation that led to its return to power in 2010.  

He was a leading player in the Brexit campaign - which put a strain on his close friendship with David Cameron. He has pitched himself as the candidate that can provide ‘unity and change’.

Forty-three-year-old, Stephen Crabb, is also a rising star of the Tory party after he took over as Works and Pensions Secretary. He has promised to unite the party and country following the referendum result and provide stability.

Energy minister Andrea Leadsom was one of the movers and shakers of the Leave campaign. A former district councillor, she became MP for South Northamptonshire in 2010 and - after serving as a junior Treasury minister and as a member of the Treasury select committee - she was made a junior minister in the energy and climate change department in May last year.

Former cabinet minister Liam Fox’s cabinet career was cut short in 2011 when he resigned following a lobbying row. A Brexit campaigner, and on the right of the party, he has said whoever becomes PM must accept ‘the instruction’ of the British people and not ‘try to backslide’ over EU membership.

As the political drama played out, Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned about “heightened uncertainty”, noting the potential for increased unemployment and ripples in the global economy.

He added: “One uncomfortable truth is that there are limits to what the Bank of England can do.”

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Halal butchers bombed

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CRIMES HAVE SPIKED: Racist crimes have sky-rocketed since Britain decided to leave the EU

CRIMES HAVE SPIKED: Racist crimes have sky-rocketed since Britain decided to leave the EU

Significant spike in hate crimes since the EU vote

In the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the EU, a number of racist hate crimes have taken place in the UK.

Tell Mama, a charity that supports victims of Islamophobia in the UK, says 30 cases of anti-Muslim acts have been reported to them since the results of the referendum.

DESTROYED: The butchers was obliterated both inside and out, after the petrol bomb left the store badly fire damaged

DESTROYED: The butchers was obliterated both inside and out, after the petrol bomb left the store badly fire damaged

Days after Britain voted in favour of Brexit, a halal butchers was petrol bombed and destroyed.

Kashmir Meat & Poultry in Pleck, Walsall was targeted by a six foot tall white man wearing a blue jacket, police have reported.

He walked into the halal butchers and threw a lit bottle at 5.25pm on Monday 27th June.

A shop worker managed to escape with minor bruising, whilst the store was almost obliterated with its windows blown out.

West Midlands Police say they are keeping an open mind over the motive.

A spokesperson for the force said the incident is being investigated by officers, who are currently making inquiries and examining CCTV footage.

Police were unable to say at this stage whether the incident is being treated as race-related.

Detectives were examining CCTV from the area this past week in the hunt for the suspect and will also be in the community to carry out patrols to reassure people.

Crime site True Vision, which is run by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said they have received 85 hate crime reports last week.
That figure contrasts with 54 reports for the corresponding four days four weeks ago.

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First Minister of Scotland will fly to Belgium to discuss EU future

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REMAIN: Nicola Sturgeon wants her country to stay put in the European Union

REMAIN: Nicola Sturgeon wants her country to stay put in the European Union

Brussels bound

The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Stugeon, revealed her objective was to not follow Westminster’s lead as Britain breaks from the bloc, stating she wants her country to remain in the Union.

She will travel to Brussels on 29th June to discuss the options for her country.

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has said the meeting will not take place.

Sturgeon was set to meet European Parliament President, Martin Schulz, to press for continued inclusion with the EU for her country, which largely voted to remain during the June 23rd referendum.

Sturgeon will also set up a panel of financial, legal and diplomatic experts to advise her on her options of staying in Brussels.

The panel could include political grandees and former political foes like Jack McConnell and Jim Wallace.

But if Scotland gets the knockback from the EU – which traditionally demands members are fully independent – the country will be headed for a second referendum.

The First Minister addressed the Scottish Parliament in an emergency debate following the UK's vote to leave the European Union, where she revealed she is seeking a mandate to defend Scotland's interests.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Scotland spoke clearly for Remain and I am determined that Scotland's voice will be heard."I want to be clear to parliament that whilst I believe that independence is the best option for Scotland - I don't think that will come as a surprise to anyone - it is not my starting point in these discussions.

“My starting point is to protect our relationship with the EU...During the independence referendum, we were told that staying in the UK meant we could benefit from having guaranteed access to the EU - that was a driving factor in many people's votes. That is no longer true.”

Following the Brexit vote, former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt tweeted on Friday: “It’s wrong that Scotland might be taken out of EU, when it voted to stay.

“Happy to discuss with Nicola Sturgeon next time she’s in Brussels.”

Opposition leaders said they would work with Sturgeon to keep Scotland in Europe.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “Leaving the EU is already sending shockwaves through the economy. As an internationalist and pro-European, I will do everything I can to find a way through this.

“I will not be a pawn in a new campaign for independence. However, I was given a guarantee from the First Minister that this was not the case and that she genuinely wanted this process to succeed.”

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EU –bah –gum! Leeds voters see an almost 50/50 split decision

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GOODBYE BRUSSELS: Hedon Market Place in Hull had firm support in the Leave camp

GOODBYE BRUSSELS: Hedon Market Place in Hull had firm support in the Leave camp

As millions of Brits across the country headed to their local polling stations on Thursday 23rd June, European leaders held their breath to find out the results of the EU referendum.

Ultimately, by a majority of less than four per cent, the UK voted to leave, with over 33 million people turning out to voice their opinions.

Breaking down these figures, we can see how the West Yorkshire public voted, with a mixed message from the electorate across the region.

In Leeds, the city’s residents were split down the middle with 50.31 per cent wanting to stay in the EU and 49.69 per cent wanting to leave.

A total of 387,337 people voted, which represented 71.33 per cent of the 543,037 electorate.

Leeds’s 358 polling stations had closed at 10pm, with the usual last minute rush before the deadline and the start of a regional count at the First Direct Arena.

York and Harrogate also leant towards remaining.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the county, more people voted to leave the EU with majorities in Bradford (8.46 per cent), Kirklees (9.33 per cent) and Calderdale (11.35 per cent).

Wakefield had the biggest majority of Brexiters in Yorkshire, with a resounding 66.36 per cent in favour of leaving – a majority of 32.73 per cent.

Amjad Bashir, Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber and ‘Leave’ campaigner said people had ‘nothing to be worried about’ from the decision to leave the EU and that it was time to ‘look forward to a bright new future’.

When the results were announced, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “I believe that Britain is better off within the European Union, but the British people have clearly spoken... and their democratic will must now be fulfilled.

“I want to send a clear message to the British people and to businesses and investors around the world this morning - there is no need to panic.”

Mr Khan added: “We all have a responsibility to now seek to heal the divisions that have emerged throughout this campaign - and to focus on that which unites us, rather than that which divides us.”

Sadiq Khan’s sentiments echo what the late, much-loved Batley and Spen Labour MP Jo Cox thought with her now famous words: ‘We have far more in common than that which divides us’.

Her husband, Brendan Cox said the murdered MP - who was pro-EU - would have stayed positive after last night’s vote.

He wrote on Twitter this morning: “Today Jo would have remained optimistic and focused on what she could do to bring our country back together and around our best values.”

According to a YouGov poll, 75 per cent of 18-to-24 year olds voted ‘Remain’ in comparison to only 39 per cent of those aged 65 and over.

There have been calls for another EU referendum with the government asked to implement a rule that says ‘if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60 per cent, based on a turnout less than 75 per cent there should be another vote’.

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UK votes to LEAVE: Cameron resigns as Britain prepares for EU exit

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GONE WITH THE WIND: After over 40 years of membership, Britain has voted to leave the EU

GONE WITH THE WIND: After over 40 years of membership, Britain has voted to leave the EU

The UK will leave the European Union and David Cameron will resign as Prime Minister.

This is the breaking news that Brits woke up to on Friday 24th June as the face of the EU changed forever.

After months of debate, threats from both ends of the political spectrum and some often misleading propaganda, the British public voted in favour of exiting the 28-nation bloc by 17,410,242 (51.9 per cent) to 16,141,241 (48.1 per cent).

It was the highest turnout for a vote in the country for almost 25 years, as 72.2 per cent of the nation’s eligible voters had their say on whether to continue the EU membership. In comparison, last year’s general election witnessed just a 66.1 per cent turnout.

Cameron resigns

The announcement at around 8.30am outside the steps of 10 Downing Street came as little surprise to many in the political world as David Cameron announced his intentions to resign as Prime Minister.

Describing his patriotism for the country, as well as his desire to see the Leave campaign ultimately succeed, he said: “I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.

RESIGNATION: David Cameron will resign as Prime Minister of the UK following the county’s decision to leave the EU

RESIGNATION: David Cameron will resign as Prime Minister of the UK following the county’s decision to leave the EU

“This is not a decision I've taken lightly but I do believe it's in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required.

“There is no need for a precise timetable today but in my view we should aim to have a new Prime Minister in place by the start of the Conservative Party conference in October.”

Cameron will continue in his post momentarily but also confirmed that he believes a new leader in the UK should be in place by October this year.

He added: “I said before that Britain can survive outside the European Union and indeed that we could find a way.

“Now the decision has been made to leave, we need to find the best way and I will do everything I can to help. I love this country and I feel honoured to have served it and I will do everything I can in future to help this great country succeed.”

Pound slumps in global markets

The pound fell more than 10 per cent against the dollar following the confirmation of the victorious ‘Leave’ vote – the biggest one-day fall in history.

Not since 1985 have the pound-to-dollar levels been so low, with Chancellor George Osborne describing the situation as a ‘DIY recession’.

It had earlier been acknowledged by some in the ‘Leave camp’ that a ‘blip’ might be initially seen in the currency markets yet such a fall still came as a surprise.

TEAM LEAVE: Nigel Farage celebrated the decision, labelling it Britain’s ‘Independence Day’

TEAM LEAVE: Nigel Farage celebrated the decision, labelling it Britain’s ‘Independence Day’

The dramatic result also reportedly wiped an estimated £122 billion of the value of the FTSE 100 within minutes.

Bank governor Mark Carney said in a statement on behalf of the Bank of England: “Inevitably, there will be a period of uncertainty and adjustment following this result.

“There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold.

“And it will take some time for the United Kingdom to establish new relationships with Europe and the rest of the world.

“Some market and economic volatility can be expected as this process unfolds.”

Europe’s response

There is no denying that the UK’s eventual exit from the EU is the biggest crisis the organisation has had to face in its 59-year history.

Will other nations now hold their own referendums and what will the UK’s working relationship be like with the remaining members? These are the questions we will have to wait to find out the answers for.

HEAD CAMPAIGNER: Boris Johnson said the public had voted to ‘take back control’

HEAD CAMPAIGNER: Boris Johnson said the public had voted to ‘take back control’

In the meantime, reaction from leaders around the world remains mixed. Angela Merkel’s close ally, Manfred Weber - a senior German conservative MEP – said ‘no special treatment’ can be given to the UK.

He said in four tweets: “We respect and regret the decision of the British voters. It causes major damage to both sides.

“This was a British vote, not a European vote. Co-operation within Europe is a question of self-assertion of the continent.

“We want a better and smarter Europe. We have to convince the people and bring Europe back to them.

“Exit negotiations should be concluded within two years at max. There cannot be any special treatment. Leave means leave.”

Elsewhere, the Dutch anti-immigration leader, Geert Wilders, saw the UK’s vote as a catalyst for other nations to hold their own referendums.

“We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy,” he said in a statement.

Polls and opinions in Sweden, France and Italy also suggest other nations are worried about a weakened EU due to the Brexit.

How the UK voted

52 per cent of the country voted for an EU exit.

In Scotland, all 32 local authority areas voted in favour of remaining in the EU, with 62 per cent opting against leaving.

Questions will now be raised as to whether another Scottish Independence referendum is needed as the voice of the people north of the border seemingly went unheard.

55 per cent of people in Northern Ireland also voted to remain members of the EU, whilst the Leave voters were victorious in Wales with 51.9 per cent.

When looking at the different regions in England, a clear north-south divide can be seen.

In Yorkshire, the North East, North West, West Midlands and East Midlands, the ‘Leave’ campaign triumphed. Meanwhile, in the metropolitan capital of London, 59.9 per cent voted ‘Remain’.

What happens next?

The UK, in many ways, is heading into unchartered territory.

Only Greenland has ever left the EU previously - in 1985 - yet the UK’s power and presence in the political union is much more substantial.

Firstly, the decision of when to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon has to be made. In Lehman’s terms this means the beginning of the formal and legal process of the UK leaving the EU.

There is a two-year deadline in place meaning the Prime Minister of the day, whoever that may be, has limited time to negotiate new trade deals with the EU before the nation ceases to remain a member.

The UK may revert back to trading with the EU under World Trade Organisation rules, according to some Remain campaigners, which would result in exporters being hit with import taxes and tariffs.

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Go? Stay? Which way? G7 say Brexit is damaging to growth

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IMPORTANT MEETING: The communiqué said that an exit from the EU would be extremely bad for the UK’s economy

IMPORTANT MEETING: The communiqué said that an exit from the EU would be extremely bad for the UK’s economy

A meeting which brings together the world's leading seven industrialised nations -known as the G7 - discussed Britain’s exit from the EU this past week.

They agreed that should the UK leave the European Union, it would pose a ‘serious threat to global growth’.

The group, who gathered together in Japan, warned in its final statement that a UK exit from the EU would reverse the trend of increased global trade, investment and jobs.

G7 set global growth as a priority for dealing with threats to security and the world's economy.

As Britain prepares for a referendum on 23rd June, the warning about the economic consequences of the UK leaving the EU comes just in time.

A vote to leave would “reverse the trend towards greater global trade and investment, and the jobs they create,” the G7 leaders said.

Prime Minister David Cameron has been campaigning for Britain to stay within the 28-country bloc, with recent polls suggesting a lead for those who support remaining.

President Barack Obama has already urged Britain to remain a member of the EU, warning last month that a decision to leave, known as ‘Brexit’, would put the country ‘at the back of the queue’ for a free trade deal with the US.

The G7 has also released an action plan to tackle terrorism and said they would improve border control and aviation security.

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In or out? You decide! EU debate set to clue-up Bradford’s public

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BREXIT: Amjad Bashir is in support of the UK leaving the EU and has organised the cross-party session

BREXIT: Amjad Bashir is in support of the UK leaving the EU and has organised the cross-party session

A free public consultation on whether Britain should stay in or leave the European Union (EU) will be staged in Bradford next week.

As build up to the referendum continues to gain momentum, the cross-party information event has been organised by Conservative MEP, Amjad Bashir, to give the public a clearer understanding of possible pros and cons of a ‘Brexit’.

The event will be hosted at the Carlisle Business Centre on Saturday 9th April and will run from noon.

Guest speakers confirmed so far include: Conservative MEP for the South East of England, Dan Hannan, General Secretary of Labour Leave, Brendan Chilton, and Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood, Andrea Jenkyns.

Mr Bashir is backing the ‘Out’ bid, yet says he welcomes a ‘lively debate’ in Bradford for people to make up their own minds.

He said: “The question our country faces on 23rd June, whether the UK should remain or Leave the EU, is certainly the biggest question our country has had to face throughout my lifetime.

“As a result, I’m working hard across the region to encourage as many people as possible to get involved, and join the campaign.

“By hosting this public meeting, I believe it gives the people of Bradford a fantastic opportunity to ask their burning questions about how the EU affects their everyday life - from jobs, to its cost, to how its bureaucracy operates; I'm looking forward to what is set to be a lively debate.”

Last entry for the event will be at 12pm and a buffet lunch will be provided.

Those interested in attending should email amjad@amjadbashir.com to secure a place.

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PM attended EU summit to reduce flow of people entering Britain

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WILDCAT HELICOPTERS: The Prime Minister David Cameron is deploying Wildcat helicopters to help intercept migrants’ boats

WILDCAT HELICOPTERS: The Prime Minister David Cameron is deploying Wildcat helicopters to help intercept migrants’ boats

UK to tackle migrant crisis

In an attempt to reduce the flow of migrants from Turkey to Europe, Prime Minister David Cameron has deployed the amphibious landing ship - Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Mounts Bay, alongside two border force cutters to join the NATO mission in the Aegean Sea.

He has also attended an EU summit on the migration crisis.

RFA Mounts Bay, supported by a Wildcat helicopter, is expected to start operations in the coming days – identifying smugglers taking migrants to Greece and passing the information to the Turkish coastguard so they can intercept these boats.

They will be supported by three border force boats – VOS Grace which is already in the Aegean; the cutter Protector which is on its way to the region and a further Border Force cutter that is expected to start operations later this month.

With migrant arrivals in Greece still averaging 1,800 a day in February, and over 116,000 arrivals across the Aegean already this year, European countries are stepping up their efforts with Turkey to break the business model of the people smuggling criminal gangs which are exploiting people and putting lives at risk every day.

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At an EU summit in Brussels on Monday, the Prime Minister called on European partners to focus on three priorities which are as follows: breaking the link between getting on a boat and getting resettlement in Europe by smashing the trafficking gangs and increasing the return of illegal migrants; supporting Turkey, already hosting 2.6 million migrants and with many more sheltering on its border with Syria - and providing technical assistance to Greece so it can accelerate the processing of migrant claims and return illegal migrants to their countries of origin.

Speaking ahead of the summit, the Prime Minister said: “This migration crisis is the greatest challenge facing Europe today.

“Britain has not faced anywhere near the scale of migrants coming to Europe as other countries because we...retain control of our borders.

“But where we can help, we should. And we’ve got to break the business model of the criminal smugglers and stop the desperate flow of people crammed into makeshift vessels from embarking on a fruitless and perilous journey.

“That’s why this NATO mission is so important. It’s an opportunity to stop the smugglers and send out a clear message to migrants contemplating journeys to Europe that they will be turned back. That’s why the UK is providing vital military assets to work with our European partners and support this mission.”

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Empowering Britain: MEP targets EU exit for a stronger UK

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PASSIONATE ABOUT POLITICS: Amjad Bashir is the Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber

PASSIONATE ABOUT POLITICS: Amjad Bashir is the Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber

He’s worn the purples of UKIP and the blues of Conservative in recent years, yet it is the white rose of Yorkshire that Amjad Bashir describes as his biggest love.

The Yorkshire and Humber Tory MEP has lived in the county since arriving in the UK as an eight-year-old back in 1960.

During his early years, he learnt the language, and broke down his own cultural barriers being one of only a handful of Asian pupils at a predominantly white British school.

Today, he continues to interact with languages of the world as a member of the European Parliament and challenges a range of topics across the continent.

“I have always had an interest in politics but it wasn’t until I took a step back from my businesses that I actually started to get involved with different parties professionally,” he said.

“In 2012 I joined UKIP because at that time, they seemed to be the only party fighting for a referendum to leave the EU. I felt strongly about it and these same targets did not seem to exist with the Conservatives who I had supported since the days of Thatcher.

“However, by 2014, I strongly felt that UKIP had outdated its usefulness.”

The son of a textile merchant, Amjad grew up in a back-to-back terrace house in Bradford, and watched on as his own front room was converted into a mini business empire which he self-confessedly had a helping hand in toppling.

Eventually finding a love for the food industry, his first independent venture – Kebabeesh, became one of Bradford’s most loved dining hot spots, before Zouk Restaurant was later launched.

In 2002, his two sons became involved in the business operations and eight years later Amjad says he was in a position to retire from the kitchen and head out into the political world.

He rejoined the Conservative party in 2014 in what was a highly publicised move, following a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron.

He said: “The Prime Minister not only gave me his assurances that a referendum will take place but he also told me it would be on the manifesto.

“Unlike UKIP, I felt the Conservative Party had the ability to influence and implement this change.”

Amjad is currently a proud supporter of the ‘Out Vote’ for the upcoming referendum.

At a cost of up to £50million a day for memberships, he says the UK is being ‘penalised for its success’ with the cost of membership dependent on the country’s economy.

“Why are we paying such extortionate fees for something we do not need,” he added.

“Speaking from a business point of view, there is just too much red tape involved with the EU. Businesses must not worry that a victory for the ‘Out Vote’ will mean they cannot trade in Europe.

“Angela Merkel will not tell BMW or Mercedes that they can no longer sell to the UK and other countries will still trade with the UK. We will just have more power.”

An EU referendum debate with Amjad Bashir and several other dignitaries will be held at Bradford’s Carlisle Business Centre on Saturday 9th April from 12pm to 2pm.

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BREXIT: What you need to know

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Akeel, 21 said: “We’d do better if we weren’t in the EU but I’d always be in two minds because of benefits like the NHS.”

Akeel, 21 said: “We’d do better if we weren’t in the EU but I’d always be in two minds because of benefits like the NHS.”

On Thursday 23rd June 2016, the British public will vote to decide whether we stay in the EU or whether we leave as the date for the referendum arrives.

A historic result could alter the way of life for so many people in the UK and overseas but do we actually know what could change if we vote to leave this summer?

We asked the people of Harehills if they understood what the EU referendum was about. Out of the 30 people we asked, 18 people admitted they were out of the loop.

Comments from members of the public ranged from “I don’t know and I don’t care” to “it doesn’t make a difference to me if the UK stays in the EU.”

To make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to politics, here’s what you need to know.

 

Amanj Raza said: “We should leave Europe. No more EU. Too many lazy people are coming over here. I work hard every day.”

Amanj Raza said: “We should leave Europe. No more EU. Too many lazy people are coming over here. I work hard every day.”

Firstly, what exactly is the EU?

The European Union grew out of a wish for peace in a war-torn and alienated continent.

When World War II ended, France and Germany came up with a plan five years later to make sure their two countries would never go to war against each other again. In 1950, six nations signed a deal to pool their coal and steel resources.

In 1957, a treaty signed in Rome created the European Economic Community (EEC) – or, the foundations of today's European Union. In the first wave of expansion in 1973, the UK was one of three new members to join. Within the 28 member states today, the total population is more than 500 million. The EU also has its own legal and economic systems.

 

What is Brexit?

Brexit is the combination of two words, ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’ and refers to a possible British exit from the 28 nation bloc of the EU.

Prime Minister David Cameron is holding a referendum on 23rd June as to whether the UK should stay in – or leave- the EU. It was recommended by the government in September 2015 that the question should be amended to: “Should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU?”

So, should we stay or should we go? According to recent polls, the public are split on the issue.

Leave the EU?

Some people have argued that the UK is being held back by the EU which imposes too many rules on businesses and charges billions of pounds in membership fees for ‘not much in return’. Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said staying in the EU ‘leaves [the UK’s] door open’ to Paris-style terrorist attacks. Some also think that Brussels has too much say over UK laws. Another argument for leaving is so that Britain can regain full control of its borders and reduce the number of immigrants coming here to work. Others reject the idea of an ‘ever closer union’ and do not like the goal of creating a ‘United States of Europe’.

Mini said: “I think we should stay for the benefits, such as being able to work and move freely around Europe without the need for a visa.”

Mini said: “I think we should stay for the benefits, such as being able to work and move freely around Europe without the need for a visa.”

Stay in the EU?

David Cameron wants Britain to stay in the EU now he has got some powers back from it. 16 members of his cabinet also back his move. The Conservative Party has pledged to be neutral in the campaign whilst the Labour Party, SNP and the Lib Dems are all in favour of staying in. The UK gets a big boost from EU membership, and staying would make selling products to other EU countries easier. One of the main principles of the EU is ‘free movement’ which means you don’t need a visa to go and live in another EU country. Some argue the flow of immigrants helps pay for public services and fuels our economic growth. Others argue that the UK’s status in the world would be damaged by leaving and that the country is more secure as part of a 28 nation bloc and that if we abandon the EU we will lose our influence on the world stage.

Kamran Hussain,  who is leading the EU Referendum Campaign for Yorkshire and the Humber Liberal Democrats, thinks that Britain should stay in Europe.

He said: “[I] believe that we are stronger, safer and better off in Europe than we would be out on our own.

“For centuries, Britain has been a powerful trading nation with a dynamic economy at the centre of European and world affairs [...] We get an average of £24.1 billion of investment into Britain per year from Europe and it’s estimated 3-4 million jobs in Britain are linked directly to trade with the rest of Europe.

“People are able to work, travel and learn within the EU. It gives us all the best chance to succeed.

priti patel (300x293)“The environment is better tackled together with the EU and security is also improved within the EU.”

“Our partnership with the EU is worth £3000 to every household in the UK. We’ve got the EU arrest warrant which allows us to deal with cross border crimes and terrorism.

“If we leave the EU we still have to work with our EU neighbours but we will be unable to have an input.”

Being part of Europe also means cheaper prices in our supermarkets, cheaper flights to Europe and lower phone charges when travelling.”

Minister of State for Employment, Priti Patel, said that UK-India relations would receive a huge boost if the UK left the EU....

“Over the last 40 years the UK’s membership of the EU has acted as a barrier to developing trade and investment partnerships with the rest of the world, including India. Remaining within the EU will mean the UK will be in a weaker position to forge the closer trading ties that would benefit the Indian and UK economies.

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“Also, one of the reasons why our trading links with India were inadequate when we came to Government in 2010 was because of the focus that Britain had given to trade within Europe as a result of membership of the EU.

“Billions of pounds that could be invested in creating new jobs and growth are instead swallowed up by [EU] regulations. Leaving the EU will mean that we can set our own regulations for business and cut their costs.”

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Bashar al-Assad vows to retake whole of Syria

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RETAKE: President Bashar al-Assad wants to retake the whole of Syria without hesitation

RETAKE: President Bashar al-Assad wants to retake the whole of Syria without hesitation

President of Syria says EU should stop ‘giving cover to terrorists’

In an interview published hours after a deal was secured for a break in hostilities in his war-ravaged country on Friday, President Bashar al-Assad has said he intends to ‘retake the whole country’ of Syria.

President Assad, speaking to Agence France-Presse in Damascus on Thursday, said his armed forces would try to retake all of Syria ‘without any hesitation’, but that the involvement of regional players ‘means that the solution will take a long time and will incur a heavy price’.

Assad said he would continue to fight ‘terrorism’ during any international peace process.

During the interview, the controversial Syrian leader rejected UN allegations of regime war crimes, saying that they lacked evidence and were ‘politicised’.

Addressing the constant flow of refugees from his country, he said it was up to Europe to stop ‘giving cover to terrorists’ so that Syrians could return home.

“I would like to ask every person who left Syria to come back. They would ask 'why should I come back? Has terrorism stopped?'”, he said.

He urged Europe's governments, which he said ‘have been a direct cause for the emigration of these people, by giving cover to terrorists in the beginning and through sanctions imposed on Syria,’ to help in making the Syrians return to their country.

In Syria, over 250,000 people have been killed and some 11 million displaced in almost five years of fighting.

Humanitarian aid has been cut off in some Syrian cities and towns for over a year because of fighting.

The UN says about 13.5 million people are in need of aid.

On Thursday night, the US, Russia and other powers said hostilities would be terminated in Syria within a week and humanitarian aid was to be delivered to besieged areas across the country over the next few days.

The real impact of the deal on the ground was questioned by the rebels, since it excludes the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, which operates in large swaths of the country’s territory.

Issam al-Reis, a spokesman for the Southern Front, a western-backed opposition alliance fighting close to the Jordanian border, said to the Guardian: “We greet this announcement with tentative optimism.

“However, we are sceptical that Russia will hold to these commitments when its current policy is to indiscriminately bomb all parties in Syria into the dust, in particular civilians and moderate opposition, and with complete impunity, while saying they are bombing terrorists.

“We are waiting for real action, we have now lost faith in words without real action.”

Russia has conducted about 50 airstrikes a day on its positions since the end of November, according to The Southern Front.

Moscow’s intervention last autumn, which was originally advertised as a campaign against Daesh, has mostly targeted the mainstream opposition.

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David Ward’s Business survey shows 84% of Bradfordian Businesses say staying in EU is best for Britain

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Bradford East MP, David Ward, has surveyed over 2,500 businesses in Bradford and discovered that a significant 36.22 per cent thought that leaving the EU would have direct negative effects for their company with an overwhelming 84 per cent of those surveyed believing that staying in the EU would be in Britain’s best interests.

The results from David’s business survey also show that measures introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Government have been significantly beneficial to businesses in Bradford.

David Ward MP and Edward Macmillan-Scot MEP at Heera Jewellers

David Ward MP and Edward Macmillan-Scot MEP at Heera Jewellers

David’s survey was sent to over 2,500 businesses from a variety of different industries across his Bradford East constituency. The survey asked a range of questions on significant issues that might affect business in Bradford.

The businesses survey ranged from those who had 0-250 employees and included businesses from an assortment of sectors such as retail, textiles, process and manufacturing and construction.

The results from the survey showed that, of businesses who answered:

• An overwhelming 84.17 per  cent believe that staying in the EU would be in Britain’s best interests.

• 36.22 per cent think that if Britain left the EU this would directly negatively affect their business, and in some cases even cause their business to close.

• 60.19 per cent believe that Britain should focus on building further trade links with the EU/the European Economic Area.

The survey also revealed just how beneficial measures introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Government were for businesses:

• 71.3 per cent feel that the Regional Growth Fund, set to give grants to growing businesses to invest in particular projects, will support their business.

• A huge 88 per cent said that the £2000 cut in National Insurance contributions will help their business.

• And 67 per cent said that the £1500 grant to help take on an apprentice will be beneficial for their business.

Commenting David said: “It was great to survey local businesses to find out their views on issues that affect businesses and jobs in Bradford. It’s clear from the survey results that the UK’s membership of the EU is vital for jobs and businesses in Bradford.

“The Liberal Democrats are the only main Party that are firmly supporting Britain’s place in the EU. Our strong support for membership does not mean we think that the European Union is perfect – continued reform is necessary and we have already achieved reforms such as securing an historic cut to the EU budget.

“However, as this survey shows, the benefits of the UK being within the European Union are unquestionable. Around half our trade and nearly half of our foreign direct investment comes from other EU member states, 3.5 million UK jobs are linked to our trade with the EU and our membership of the EU brings an average net benefit of a whopping £3000 for every household each year.

“The surveys also show that several measures the Liberal Democrats have implemented in government to aid businesses have been extremely significant for businesses in Bradford and have encouraged growth.

“I will continue to coordinate and work with businesses and the local community in Bradford to make sure I bring about a stronger economy for my constituents.”

Commenting Yorkshire and Humber MEP, Edward Macmillan-Scott said: “The business survey from David shows that we cannot ignore the message from major employers about how important the EU is for jobs and growth.

“Also a major survey by The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in November last year showed that eight out of ten British companies want to stay in the EU. Both claim that leaving Europe would put millions of British jobs at risk.

“In addition, a YouGov poll showed that 4,641 businesses in Yorkshire & Humber would be forced to close if the UK pulls out, resulting in potential job losses of up to 124,790.

“These figures are just a reminder of how important the EU is for Britain and why the Liberal Democrats are on the winning side of what's right for Britain. Even though we agree that the EU needs reforms, we are the party on the side of business. We are the party of ‘in’.”

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