ALL but one of the district's five MPs will be campaigning to stay within the European Union when the country goes to the polls in June.

Staunch Eurosceptic Philip Davies is the only MP calling for Britain to leave the EU, branding it a "backward-looking, inward-facing protection racket".

Mr Davies, who helped form the cross-party Better Off Out campaign ten years ago, said the EU was a declining power in the world economy and Britain would do better standing on its own.

"We built our wealth in the UK by being global traders," the Conservative MP for Shipley said.

"Our future prosperity will depend on trading with China, India, South America and emerging economies in Africa.

"That is where all the future growth in the world economy will come from and we should be ashamed that we hand over £19bn a year to be a member of a backward-looking, inward-facing protection racket.

"We want free trade with the EU, but given we have a trade deficit with the EU of over £60bn a year, we can have free trade for nothing with them. We don't need to pay such a high membership fee each year."

Politicians have been setting out their stalls on the idea of a 'Brexit' since Prime Minister David Cameron fired the starting gun on Saturday by announcing the referendum date of June 23.

With the Conservative party divided on the issue, Keighley's Tory MP Kris Hopkins has sided with the Prime Minister, saying he has "no appetite for our great nation pulling up the drawbridge and adopting a narrow, 'Little Englander' approach".

He said the concessions Mr Cameron had won in his negotiations in Europe meant Britain would have a "special status" within the EU, with tougher restrictions on benefits for European migrants.

He said: "Although I was never in favour of joining the Euro, I have always recognised the significant economic benefits our country gains as a result of our EU membership including unfettered access to the largest free trade area in the world.

“This delivers significant financial rewards and huge numbers of jobs which would be jeopardised by the United Kingdom’s withdrawal, an opinion shared by most of the business leaders I have spoken to in recent months.

"Our country also continues to face grave security threats, particularly from Islamist extremists. The collective work we do with our EU partners is invaluable in helping to keep our nations and our peoples safe and should not be placed at risk."


All three of the district's Labour MPs will be campaigning to stay in the EU.

Judith Cummins, MP for Bradford South, said: "I’ll be voting to for us to remain in Europe because it’s in the best interests of Bradford people and businesses.

"Our membership brings us jobs, growth and investment and has helped to secure workers’ rights and make consumers better off too.

"But it’s also important to be part of a group of nations committed to peace, security and democracy. The EU has helped to keep the peace in Europe for decades now.

"We all have a voice in this referendum and I’ll be encouraging everyone in Bradford to get engaged and join in the debate as we get ready for this crucial vote on June 23."

Bradford East MP Imran Hussain said: "With investment and support for jobs and the economy, as well as support for workers’ rights which without the EU would be one step closer to being watered down by this Tory government, it is clear that the UK is better off as part of the European Union, and this is why I will be voting to remain and why I will be passionately making the argument to do so."

And Labour's Bradford West MP, Naz Shah, will also be voting to stay in the EU.

She said: "I will be voting for the UK to stay as part of the European Union. Britain is better off in Europe. It is clear that being in the European Union brings us jobs, growth and investment. It has helped secure workers’ rights, made consumers better off and protects our human rights’

"Being at the table and influential in Europe is vital. I think the UK will have a stronger future in the EU."

Of course, MPs will have one vote in June's referendum, just like everyone else - so the race is now on to win over undecided voters before the big day.