Salford Conservatives have hosted a Europe Direct meeting with local MEP Sajjad. The popular meetings provide a forum for Conservatives to discuss the thorny issues around Europe and to express their views direct to Sajjad.
Held at Patricroft Conservative Club on Saturday, members and supporters covered a wide range of views, particularly in relation to the forthcoming Referendum on the UK's membership of the EU, as the Prime Minister negotiates the reforms we want to see to improve of relationship with our EU neoghbours.
Here is a selection of comments from the meeting:
"There are a lot of people in Commonwealth countries who would like us to leave. For some countries trade with Britain is harder because we are in the EU".
Speaking at the meeting Sajjad said:
“As a 19-year-old my life had two defining moments: the release of Nelson Mandela and the ripping down at the Berlin Wall. So being elected to serve the north-west in the European Parliament back in 2004 when many ex-Eastern Bloc countries were joining the EU was particularly important to me.
“If we were not in the EU we would have no British Commissioner influencing the Commission. No British Prime Minister around the table influencing the Council and no MEPs influencing the European Parliament.
“The Norwegian example is often quoted. Yes, Norway do have a trading arrangement with the EU but they have no say but still have to apply decisions made by the EU. Why would want to surrender our ability to influence decisions that we would still be affected by?
“The Prime Minister is currently fighting to reform those aspects of EU membership which cause frustration and secure a better deal.. Last night the Prime Minister and President of the European Council went through the draft proposals in each of the four areas for reform. Whilst much has been achieved and the Prime Minister can deliver on his commitment to restrict in work benefits to EU migrants for four years, there is still more negotiations on economic governance and the abuse of free movement.
“Throughout this process the Prime Minister's only consideration is what is best for Britain’s economic and national security and we must all give him our fullest support. At the end of these negotiations it is the British people will decide whether or not we are stronger as part of the European Union, or on our own, fulfilling our promise to deliver an in-out referendum