Charlotte Leslie, the Conservative MP for Bristol North West, has announced that she will be voting for Britain to leave Europe at the EU Referendum on 23 June.
This is her statement in full:
After long consideration, and periods of leaning to one side then the other, I have decided I will vote for Britain to leave Europe.
My decision is with nothing to do with either the Leave or Remain Campaign, but as an individual who has done their best to assess the situation and come to a conclusion based on my assessment of the facts to which I have access, my experience in working with European colleagues from many EU Member States over the years, and my own personal understanding of human behaviour and risk.
As I have said repeatedly, I do not necessarily think there is a right or wrong answer to this question, and I have the utmost respect and appreciation for those who disagree with me. I celebrate and welcome disagreement and debate.
After all my deliberations, I found myself coming back to a principle on which I try to lead my life: That you have to face realities, however difficult, because to attempt to deny a reality leads to more pain in the long term.
Personally, I cannot see the European Project, whose express aim is to further homogenise the very different nations of Europe into an ever closer political union, as anything but a fantasy, and as such, dangerous.
Therefore, however much I appreciate and understand the risks and challenges of voting ‘leave’, I find myself completely unable mandate this madness.
I completely understand the approach of those who take an opposite view. I have absorbed and assessed all the arguments. Neither do I pretend that my own personal opinion, which I have reached after long consideration, is any kind of ‘universal truth’. It is simply my personal opinion, which I have reached after long deliberation. I know others will want me to have come to a different conclusion, but to pretend that I think otherwise would simply be dishonest.