Having recently laid out my position with regards to the upcoming referendum on our country’s future membership of the European Union, I will campaign and vote to leave in accordance with the reasons that I have already given.
However, I would like to make clear my commitment to continue to serve my constituents in the East Midlands and the wider UK public in my role as an elected representative and Conservative Party spokesman for international trade in the European Parliament.
My stance on the EU referendum in no way affects or contradicts my role, my mandate or my duty to further UK interests as an MEP while we are members of the EU.
Indeed, I have been one of the strongest voices calling for an ambitious trade strategy in the European Parliament in line with the Prime Minister’s own aims.
I have been elected to work hard to ensure that, while we are members of the EU, the UK gets the best possible deal from Europe that it can.
The Conservative delegation of MEPs in this house has always adopted this approach and the politicians that we work with from other member states will testify that we are some of the hardest working of the 751 MEPs.
This is in stark contrast to members of the UK Independence Party, which combine a dangerous failure to scrutinise European legislation with a lack of respect or consideration to co-operate with other MEPs in the interests of the UK.
While we are members of the EU, I am committed to pursuing an ambitious trade agenda, scrutinising the commission’s use of powers in this area and ensuring UK citizens are kept informed at all times as to what is being negotiated in Brussels.
This is in line with government policy and I will continue to work hard, as I have been, with my European trade counterparts, our trade ministers and the European Commission to ensure an ambitious trade strategy that serves and defends UK interests in Brussels.