Sir – David Barnby (last week’s Gazette Letters) paints a very bleak picture of Britain’s role within the European Union, no doubt hoping to boost the prospects of UKIP ahead of May’s important European Parliamentary elections.

What Mr Barnby fails to mention is that over 40 per cent of British trade is with our European neighbours and pulling out of Europe would jeopardise this trade and our ability to write the rules and set the standards we expect to govern this trade. Britain’s trade in this market accounts for nearly 3.5 million British jobs.

Our membership of the EU also means we benefit from laws negotiated with other countries which give us stronger consumer protection, health and safety protection at work, environmental safeguards and the right to the same level of treatment all across Europe as we would expect at home.

Perhaps Mr Barnby would do better to focus his efforts on improving UKIP’s appalling record at the European Parliament.

Three of UKIP’s MEPs have the worst attendance record of any British MEPs (who together already have the lowest attendance record of any national delegation).

They are very good, however, at claiming all their parliamentary expenses.

Drew Carter, Burford Road, Witney