This Committee represents the full spectrum of opinion on the question of the UK’s continuing membership of the European Union (EU), from the strongest of enthusiasts for our continued association with the ideal of, and practical participation in, European co-operation, to those wholly sceptical about the merits of UK engagement with the institutions of the EU, both for the UK and indeed the rest of the EU. Accordingly, we do not endorse either “remain” or “leave” in this report.
However, we have all been struck by requests from people for an unbiased analysis of the costs and benefits of EU membership. The division on this Committee reflects the division in the country. It gives us the opportunity to try together to set out the issues to the electorate in a balanced way and meet this request.
We have therefore set ourselves the task of trying to lay out the implications for our country’s role in the world and the factors the electorate may wish to consider as they approach their decision on 23 June. Our divisions mean we do not ascribe actual weight to these factors, but leave those to the electorate as Parliament has with the decision itself. It is a decision of great importance for our future role in the world and for our security, prosperity and democracy. The decision will guide the setting of future British foreign policy. Our aim is that this report makes the factors behind this decision easier for the electorate to comprehend, if not any easier to make.