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Britain should stay in the European Union


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Speaker(s): Sir Stephen Wall, George Eustice MP, Roger Helmer MEP, Mark Reckless MP, Dr Helen Szamuely
Chair: Evan Davis

Recorded on 24 July 2012 in Old Theatre, Old Building.

With the crisis continuing in the eurozone, recent polls suggest that the vast majority of the British electorate would be in favour of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

In the current climate the voices of those in favour of the European project have been noticeable by their absence. Today programme presenter Evan Davis chairs this debate on the motion "Britain should stay in the European Union."

Tony Blair's former EU adviser Sir Stephen Wall will defend the proposition against a panel that are opposed to Britain remaining in the EU in its current guise.

Sir Stephen Wall worked closely with five British Foreign Secretaries and was Foreign Policy Adviser to Prime Minister John Major. He was British Ambassador to Portugal from 1993 to 1995, Permanent Representative to the European Union from 1995 to 2000 and Head of the European Secretariat in the Cabinet Office and EU adviser to the Prime Minister from 2000 to 2004. From 2004 to 2005 he was the Principal Adviser to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster. Sir Stephen is Chair of the Council of University College, London, Chair of the Federal Trust, Chair of Trustees at Cumberland Lodge, Member of the Council of Wilton Park, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Thomson Foundation, Trustee of the Franco-British Council and Honorary Fellow of Selwyn College Cambridge. He is also on the Council of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

George Eustice is the Conservative MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle. George was born and brought up in Cornwall. After a time working in the family farming business, he gained nine years political campaign experience, first for the anti-euro 'No Campaign' as its Campaign Director between 1999 and 2003 and then as the Conservative Party's Head of Press under Michael Howard between 2003 and the 2005 General Election. He was David Cameron's Press Secretary from June 2005 until the end of 2007 and was part of his campaign team during the leadership contest.

Roger Helmer was first elected to the European parliament in 1999 for the East Midlands region, subsequently being re-elected in 2004 and 2009. He defected from the Conservative Party to UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) in March 2012. Roger won a State Scholarship to Churchill College, Cambridge, where he read mathematics, graduating in 1965 with a B.A. and subsequently an M.A. He started his business career in 1965 with Procter & Gamble in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, going on to hold senior marketing and general management appointments in a range of companies, including well-known multinationals like Readers Digest, National Semiconductor, Coats Viyella and the whisky firm United Distillers, now part of the drinks conglomerate Diageo.

Mark Reckless is the Conservative member of parliament for Rochester and Strood, having been elected in 2010. He serves on the Home Affairs Select Committee. Mark graduated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and has an MBA from Columbia Business School. More recently he has trained as a barrister, gaining an LLB from the College of Law and being called to the Bar in 2007.

Dr Helen Szamuely is head of research for the Bruges Group and blogger on Your Freedom and Ours. She was a founder member of the EU Referendum blog and is a researcher in the House of Lords.

Evan Davis joined the presenter team on Today in April 2008 following a six-and-a-half year stint as the BBC's economics editor. He also presents The Bottom Line, Radio 4's business discussion programme and Dragons' Den, the BBC Two business reality show. Before his promotion to editor, Evan worked for BBC Two's Newsnight from 1997 to 2001 and as a general economics correspondent from 1993.

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