Michael Gove: Brits are hostages driving headlong towards deeper EU integration

Posted On: 
19th April 2016

Britons will be “hostages locked in the back of the car” heading towards deeper EU integration if they opt to remain in the bloc, Michael Gove has declared.

Michael Gove warned Brits were "driving headlong towards deeper integration" if they choose to remain in the EU
PA Images

The Justice Secretary and chairman of Vote Leave made the warning ahead of a major speech in London urging voters to select Leave in the 23 June referendum.

He also warned that the UK's rebate could be “whittled away” if the UK opts to remain.

Michael Gove's full Brexit speech on Today programme

Michael Gove attacks EU Remain campaign for 'treating voters like children'

And he suggested an Australian-style points system for immigration – long-advocated by Ukip – should be adopted if ties are broken with Brussels.

Given a three-minute slot to lay out his case for Brexit on Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Gove said it was the “safer choice” for Brits who want to retain control over UK affairs.

“If we vote to stay we are not settling for a secure status quo, we are voting to be hostages locked in the back of the car driven head long towards deeper EU integration,” he warned.

“Brussels has already set out some of its plans for the next great transfer of powers to the EU in what’s called the five presidents report. The EU is clear; it wants more power over our taxes and our banks.”

Brexit campaigners have argued that the UK sends £350m a week to the EU and is constrained in how it can spend the money it gets back as the rebate.

But Mr Gove warned the funds handed back could diminish further down the line since it was not enshrined in EU treaties.

“After we have voted in this referendum, if we vote to remain then there is a real risk that our rebate could be whittled away,” he insisted.

“It would be open to other EU nations to seek to reduce it, and as other EU countries join then the amount of money that the other countries of the EU would expect us to pay in would inevitable rise.”

And he warned that under the current visa-free travel arrangements anyone with a passport, regardless of whether they have a criminal record, can “breeze into Britain”.

“That freedom will be extended to people from countries in the pipeline to join the EU; Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey,” he noted.

"Outside the EU, we could have a points-based system like Australia. We could welcome talented people from across the world, but block those whose presence here isn’t in our interests.”


In his speech later the senior Tory will hit out at the Remain camp, accusing them of treating voters “like children who can be frightened into obedience”.

He will brand leaving the bloc a "galvanising, liberating, empowering moment of patriotic renewal".

And will argue the UK would lose further controls over tax and asylum policy amid further political and financial integration if it remains in the EU.

Mr Gove will hit out at a Treasury document released yesterday which claimed exiting the EU would leave households £4,300 worse off on average by 2030.

“The Remain campaign want us to believe that Britain is beaten and broken,” Mr Gove will declare.

“It treats people like mere children, capable of being frightened into obedience by conjuring up new bogeymen every night.”

He will claim the report amounts to an admission by the Government that migration to the UK will continue to go up after it promised to reduce new entrants to tens of thousands.

“The report from the Treasury is an official admission from the in campaign that if we vote to stay in the EU then immigration will to continue to increase by hundreds of thousands year on year,” he will say.

“Over 250,000 people came to Britain from Europe last year. As long as we are in the EU we cannot control our borders and cannot develop an immigration policy which is both truly humane and in our long term economic interests.”

He will add: "If we vote to remain, the EU's bosses and bureaucrats will take that as carte blanche to continue taking more power and money away from Britain.

"We'll be told by Brussels to 'shut up and suck up'."