Aberdeen councillor Ross Thomson, Conservative member for Hazlehead-Ashley-Queens Cross
When given the choice at the ballot box, I will be voting to leave the EU.
Outwith the EU I believe Britain will be freer and fairer, able to reassert its national sovereignty, and take decisions which are in the best interests of its people, places and industries.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for our prime minister, David Cameron, and his Herculean effort to negotiate a better deal for Britain.
This is something that no previous prime minister has ever achieved.
However, at the end of the day, EU law is “supreme” over UK law and decisions of the European Court of Justice are based on EU Treaties from Paris to Rome, Amsterdam to Lisbon.
These treaties are legally binding entities which are the governing framework of the EU. I do not believe that the deal struck is irreversible as we did not gain control over our own law-making and it achieved no treaty change.
This means that the European Court still has the final say on our laws and that we cannot escape from the drive towards ever closer union.
Fishing is a major industry in the north-east, which also supports processing plants and haulage companies.
Yet the EU has had a stranglehold over it.
Fishermen want control of our waters back. Fishermen in the north-east operate in a mixed area where it is simply impossible to be certain which fish species will be caught and taken on board.
If we vote to remain then in 2019 our fishing industry will no longer be able to dispose of any fish at sea – all will have to be landed including the fish caught by accident which will also be included in the quota that every fisherman is allotted.
Furthermore, the EU is perusing a one-size-fits-all blanket ban on drift nets across the EU.
Drift nets are used sensibly and responsibly by fishermen in the UK where no harm is caused to the environment.
An EU-wide blanket ban, while tacking irresponsible fishing in the Mediterranean, will be harmful to fishermen in the North Sea.
This yet again proves that unelected EU officials who are in no way accountable to the people are simply not interested in our local communities.
This lack of accountability, lack of transparency and also lack of political oversight of the EU Commission is another reason Britain is better off out.
Leaving the EU political project allows us to focus on the reason we joined the EEC in the first place and that is to trade.
The French will still want to sell their wine, champagne and cheese to their UK neighbours as will the Germans with their BMWs and Mercedes.
The UK will still sell the best of British produce. We need to be realistic, this relationship will not change if Britain leaves.
At the end of the day money talks and for every £3 worth of exports we sell to Europe we buy £5 worth from them.
Remember, membership of the EU isn’t free.
The UK makes one of the largest net contributions to the EU – we pay £350million each week, nearly £20billion each year.
Further, taxpayers are paying the bill caused by the euro crisis and bailing out Greece. This is money that can be better spent at home on our priorities and most certainly used to pay the full level of subsidy to our farmers.
For me there is a greater risk remaining within the EU, which is why it’s time to take back control and embrace a wider world, a more exciting future.