LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron’s former director of strategy, Steve Hilton, said Britain should leave the European Union because membership of the block is stifling innovation, competition and democracy.
Hilton, who was one of Cameron’s closest advisers, said the European Union is run by arrogant and unaccountable elites making Britain “ungovernable” as a democracy while it remains in the bloc it joined in 1973.
“It is anti-market, stifling innovation and competition with its statism, corporatism and bureaucracy,” Hilton, who left Downing Street in 2012, said in an article for the Daily Mail newspaper.
He added: “It is anti-enterprise, acting in the interests of the big businesses that have corruptly captured the levers of power in Brussels through their shameless lobbying and insider deal-making, enabling a gradual corporate takeover of our country.”
Cameron, who called the referendum but is campaigning for a vote to remain in the EU, said on Monday that leaving the Union would be a step towards economic self-destruction for the world’s fifth largest economy.
Pro-Europeans say a Brexit vote would unleash market turmoil, torpedo British influence, undermine London’s status as a top financial capital, weaken Western security and even delay the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate rise
“The bottom line on the economic argument is that no one really knows. It’s clearly ridiculous to claim that it’s settled in either direction; there are risks whatever we do,” Hilton said. “I think we should leave.”
“The real choice is not economic security or economic risk, but what kind of government will equip us best to cope with a risky, fast-changing world?”
A British exit would rock the European Union - already shaken by differences over migration and the future of the euro zone - by ripping away its second-largest economy, one of its top two military powers and by far its richest financial centre.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Stephen Addison