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Mark Hunter

Clegg: The fight is on

April 24, 2014 6:00 PM

Why are you IN?Today, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched the Liberal Democrats' 2014 European election campaign. The launch took place in Colchester at a rally with activists and supporters, followed by a public town hall-style Q&A session hosted by Heart FM.

Speaking at the launch event, Nick Clegg said:

"The election on the 22 May is about one thing: do you think Britain is better off in the EU, or do you think we should be out? Finally the big question at the heart of the European debate is being addressed. At long last someone is taking on the Eurosceptic establishment - and it's us.

"Ukip and others have been allowed to peddle their myths unchallenged for decades, claiming that all of our problems would magically disappear if the UK just left the EU. But it's a dangerous fantasy. It's the surest way to jeopardise jobs, risk our fragile economic recovery, and it will leave Britain alone and diminished in the world.

"The fight is on. The isolationists are not going to get a free run of this debate any more - not when there's so much at stake. Every gain they make on 22 May takes Britain a step closer to European exit and they need to be stopped. We need Liberal Democrats elected to the European Parliament where we can do what's right for Britain.

"If not us, who? The Labour Party? The Conservatives? Where are they? What are they doing to stop the populists and the xenophobes? Nothing. Ed Miliband and David Cameron are now officially Missing in Action - saying the bare minimum in this debate because they are too scared of losing votes to Nigel Farage; because they're so desperate to cover up the deep divisions in their own camps.

"Well the Liberal Democrats aren't scared to speak up. We are Britain's party of IN and we are standing up for staying in Europe - loudly, passionately and unequivocally - because that is how we keep this nation stronger, safer and richer too.

"We are IN for jobs. For the millions of businesses who rely on trade with our neighbours.

"IN because it's how our police cooperate with their European counterparts to put more criminals behind bars.

"IN because we need to work with the rest of Europe to protect our environment and tackle climate change.

"IN because Britain is always at its best when we are open, outward-facing and engaged, a leader on the world stage.

"Anyone who agrees that we are better off IN - whether that's businesses, the crime fighting agencies, progressive voters and people who care about the environment: make yourselves heard. If you are holding back, ask yourself: what are you waiting for? The fight is on. The threat is real. It's time to pick a side."