George Eustice, the Conservative MP for Camborne & Redruth and Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
“For the last 10-15 years I’ve been in favour of staying in the EU as long as we can radically change things and take back lots of powers, I was up for staying in the single market with free trade and joint collaboration in lots of areas but I just felt that it had gone too far. I felt that this was an opportunity to change things properly and to make a big decision which is why I decided to join the leave campaign.”
In his role within DEFRA George finds the influence of EU rules and legislation creates what he calls ‘A perpetual culture of legal jeopardy’ which conditions officials to think only about how to obey EU law “The advantage of having taken back control is that no longer will I have officials coming to me saying we’re not allowed to do ‘this’ because its against EU law, I can ask them to tell me what’s wrong with the idea rather than just telling me its against EU law, then we can have genuine discussion”
It is clear that Cornwall has received a huge boost through EU grants and there is a fear that by leaving this funding will disappear. George’s perspective is that “When you take back control, you have to take back responsibility, take that responsibility seriously and fund policies to provide regional grants for disadvantaged areas to help them catch up economically.” He feels that we can spend the money better, more efficiently and more flexibility but that it will ultimately be a decision for parliament. He concedes “You do have to recognise the benefits of the structural funds, Objective One and Convergence funding, that’s been a benefit, its built the university and helped improve infrastructure and helped in many other ways. The truth is that we will never know if that funding would have come without the EU as we gave up responsibility”.