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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 April 2005, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
UK voters' panel: Gary Watson

Gary Watson
Name: Gary Watson
Age: 42
Lives: Peterborough
Works: IT consultant
Current voting intention: Conservative
In 10 words or less:
"Family man, business owner, school governor, England rugby fan"

I am concerned that Europe is not a major policy issue for any of the three main parties.

There are European and international agreements in place on immigration and asylum, but sometimes it seems that the United Kingdom is the only big European country playing by the rules.

Decisions about joining the euro and European constitution will be made during the next government.

We are promised a referendum but with no discussion, except a choice of "yes, we will join", "no, we won't join" or "we'll let you talk about it when we're ready".

The euro and European constitution will be at least as important as the economy, education and policing.

The impact will go on for much longer, be far wider reaching and the decision may well be irreversible.

It will be far harder to withdraw from international trade and economic agreements and to reverse legislation on tax, schools and law and order.

We really do need a sensible debate before the general election, without the emotive rhetoric about sterling, economic tests and convergence.

We need to decide for ourselves which party will be the best for the UK as well as the best for the UK within Europe.

Your comments:

I agree with Gary here, I'm appalled that Europe has been pushed very forcefully under the carpet in this election purely because, or so it is said, it's a party splitter. My personal opinion is that the reasons are more that no politician in the so-called main parties actually wants to answer any questions on Europe from a increasingly eurosceptic public. Can we honestly say that our elected politicians of whatever colour were empowered to hand over our sovereignty to Brussels without any recourse to us the citizens? The 1975 referendum was about a European Common Market for trade and economic cooperation; not a European Union, single currency and political union as one country. All of this and more is being set out in this new constitution.
John Davies, Woking

Big is not always beautiful. Entry into the European free trade area was a good thing for Britain. Signing up into a United States Of Europe isn't. The best decisions for any local group are best made by that local group.
David Parsons, Dartford, UK



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