WATCH: Lord Digby Jones tells Black Country conference he will vote for Brexit in EU referendum
Lord Digby Jones says he plans to vote Brexit in the EU referendum as he heralded 'Asia's century' and branded the Euro bloc as 'something that was really good for another time'.
The former CBI boss says he made the decision to vote 'leave' with 'a heavy heart' but 'was left with no choice' due to the EU business model 'being completely busted'.
However Lord Jones, who served as the UK's trade minister under Gordon Brown, said he believed Britain would vote to remain in the union, a decision he says 'will solve absolutely nothing'. Speaking at the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership annual conference, Lord Jones said: "I will be voting to come out of the EU on June 23, but I will do so with a heavy heart.
"I'm not a Eurosceptic. The EU was something that was really good for another time, but the next 84 years belong to Asia. Quite how Europe deals with that will define the future for the Black Country. The states of the EU had better get on the page of a reformed, globally-competitive society – and quickly – or our grandchildren's generation will be consigned to a very cold, austere, unpleasant life."
Lord Jones said a key impetus behind his decision was that the EU had not been reformed to cater for changes in the world order.
He said: "The case for remaining in a reformed EU is almost unanswerable, but what is on offer might have slightly reformed the UK's relationship with the EU but there is no hint, let alone substance, of any reform of the club itself. The UK electorate is being bombarded every day by the heavy mob of Project Fear, sowing the seeds of doubt and worry as to what life will be like outside the club."But I have yet to hear anyone explain what life will be like for our grandchildren if we stay in."
He added: "The UK is a free-trading, open, globalised economy. Sadly, the EU is not."
"I want skilled immigrant workers to be employed in UK businesses because of the contribution they can make to their own and our country's success. I do not want the decision as to who can work here to be made on where they come from rather than the skills they possess."
Lord Jones predicted that Britain will vote to stay in 'by 55-45', and added: "Europe will think 'phew, we got away with that one' and nothing will change.
"I have a major issue with some nameless individual in Brussels making decisions on my behalf who is not even accountable to anyone."