The former Liberal Democrat MP Paul Keetch announced in an article on the Independent website this afternoon that he will be voting for Britain to leave the European Union in June's referendum.
Keetch, who sat for Hereford between 1997 and 2010, also announced that he has joined with other party members and supporters to set up the Liberal Leave campaign group.
He makes some valid points in the article:
Why should African countries be forced to pay 30 – 60 per cent import tariffs if they want to sell cocoa products to British chocolate factories? Are they not entitled, especially given Europe’s terrible legacy of colonialism, to a fair deal and an equal footing?
Thousands of refugees are fleeing the Middle East and North Africa yet the ‘free movement of peoples’ inside the European Union has in effect become a closed door to the rest of the world.The trouble is that a vote to leave the EU would strengthen the hand of politicians who oppose the policies Keetch favours.
Few of his new allies in the Out movement will agree with him about Britain's colonial or want to see more immigrants from beyond Europe. Nor is public opinion likely to move in that direction if Out triumphs.
It is hard to agree that a fight for a more liberal Britain should start with our cutting ourselves off from our closest political and geographical allies.
I also note Paul Keetch's comment about "those of us who fought for our membership in the 1970s".
Paul was born in 1961. Britain agreed an accession treaty to the European Economic Community on 22 January 1972.
If he did any campaigning for British membership of the EEC he was in short trousers at the time - or at least in flared jeans as a precocious 13-year-old for the 1975 referendum campaign.