The UK’s longest serving member of the European Parliament is urging people in South Holland to get out and vote in next Thursday’s elections.
During a visit to the Guardian’s offices in Spalding, Bill Newton-Dunn, East Midlands MEP (Member of the European Parliament) claimed jobs, trade and influence were at stake when the UK joins 27 other European countries in going to the polls on May 22.
Lincoln-based Mr Newton-Dunn, one of five MEPs for the East Midlands, is seeking his seventh five-year term in office having been first elected to the European Parliament in 1979.
If elected, Mr Newton-Dunn would be spending his 31st year as an MEP having previously been in office from 1979 until 1994 and from 1999 until 2014.
Mr Newton-Dunn said: “This election has boiled down to a very stark choice between getting out of the European Union (EU) or staying in it.
“If the UK stays in, all the jobs, trade and influence to get things changed in our interests will continue.
“But if we leave, the UK has no say any longer and the other EU countries don’t have to listen to us.
“It’s quite a big choice and if we want to be sure of keeping British influence going, then we have to stay in the EU.”
Mr Newton-Dunn spent the first three terms of his MEP career representing Lincolnshire as a Conservative before he was voted out in the Labour landslide of 1994.
After reforms to the UK’s European parliamentary boundaries by the former Labour Government in 1999, Mr Newton-Dunn was re-elected as an MEP in 1999 before joining the Liberal Democrats a year later because of anti-European sentiments in the Conservative Party.
“While we’re in Europe, we can be where countries need to make decisions on trade, climate change or whatever else across Europe,” Mr Newton-Dunn said.”