Emma spoke at the Launch of Women for Britain last week - alongside fellow businesswoman Paulette Furse, MP's and politcal fihures such as Priti Patel, Anne-Marie Trevalyn and Suzanne Evans.
Below is a transcript of her speech which was met by a standing ovation and a most complimentary article in the Daily Mail by Quentin Letts. The speech has since been reproduced in the Daily Express. Read on to understand why we at The British Hovercraft Company have given our support to a 'Brexit' so that we can better trade within a wider export market that EU laws currently make so difficult.
March 8th 2016.
Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen, My Name is Emma Pullen, I'm a businesswoman operating a small manufacturing business in Kent and I want the UK to vote leave on June the 23rd.
Being asked to speak here today is no trial to me, as I'm passionately excited about this huge opportunity we have in Britain to take back control of our country, take our place on the world stage and build a bright future for British businesses to flourish outside of the EU.
So a little about me. I’m 36 years old, married with an 8 year-old daughter and live in the political hotspot of Thanet. I love my business and I find it utterly rewarding. I'm proud of what I do and I feel a huge responsibility knowing that 15 staff members are relying on me to find their wages each month. As a friend once said to me “Payday is a lot less exciting when you're the one doing the paying” but I wouldn't have it any other way – in fact after 5 years of working for myself, I think it's likely that I'm completely unemployable!
My business is a small manufacturing company, operating from a rented factory on a wartime industrial estate. Our draughty unit isn't a glamorous looking building, but it's big and it's cheap - and interesting things get built inside it!
80% of our production is export, but almost none of it goes to EU countries – partly because nobody seems to have any money but also because our product falls foul of an EU Directive. Whilst not actually banned, it makes selling and using them within the EU somewhat difficult and as a result, customers opt to spend their money elsewhere.
So – what do we make in this big old factory that so offends the EU rule makers?
Well, the clue is that my factory is just a mile from the remains of the Pegwell Bay hoverport and my business is called The British Hovercraft Company!
Yes, I build hovercraft!
But not the cross channel hovercraft that once plied their trade to Calais. These are more modest craft used for recreational and commercial purposes such as survey work in tidal estuaries, super-cool tenders for luxury yachts and ice-rescue on frozen rivers.
It's certainly a niche market and a quintessentially British invention - it's creator a Norfolk broads boat builder called Sir Christopher Cockrell and I genuinely get a kick from the fact that in some small way we continue the tradition of this remarkable 1950's Boffin. Our company name is one of the best decisions we ever made. I've been told by several foreign clients that the word British in the title says to them “Quality, Reliability and Trust' British engineering is admired around the world and that word – 'British' has played its part in establishing us as the world's leading small hovercraft company
By my company doesn't need the EU, in fact we would be much better off without it. For us to be free to fulfil our full potential, we need trade deals with countries that matter. Wealthy countries, countries with growing economies, emerging nations & our friends in the commonwealth – we lose so many sales to these countries because the EU has failed to negotiate a suitable trade deal. Let me give you one recent example which is fresh in my mind from late last year.
An enquiry from a wealthy Brazilian businessman who wished to order 5 small hovercraft from us for a proposed driving activity centre in Sao Paulo. Purchase price, £50,000 – duty cost in Brazil £42,000. That’s an 80% duty! Needless to say, the deal didn't go ahead and there's been plenty of similar outcomes dealing with other non ‘EU approved’ nations.
Britain is not allowed to make it's own trade deals, and this prevents us from selling our products, bringing money into the UK, growing the business and employing more staff.
Ignore the scaremongering coming from the 'Remain' camp. This is an incredible opportunity for UK business. One that we, of all nations can exploit to thrive in a fast-changing global marketplace. We can do this! We have the world's 5th largest economy, and we're the 11th biggest manufacturing nation on the planet. Britain supplies products & services that are in demand all around the world – we must make it cheaper and more straightforward for our trading partners to deal with us.
But you know, there's other reasons aside from my business that move me to stand here today.
I've watched horrified at the mishandling of the Migrant crisis by the EU, seen the misery, economic damage & discord it has caused between the nations of Europe. I've watched it lead to the surge in support for far-right political parties in countries such as France, Greece and Finland. I'll be honest – it scares me and I fear that the demands made of this country by the EU could eventually see similar parties gain momentum here in Britain.
It frustrates me to see the EU waste such vast sums of our money on ridiculous laws and directives, vanity projects and mind-boggling corruption. Every year we send billions of pounds to an organisation which hasn't been audited in over 20 years! I'm absolutely at a loss to understand how the IN campaign can live with themselves in defending this. Let's save our money and spend it on hospitals, schools and the most vulnerable in society who have every right to expect help from their own country.
The EU makes our laws, takes our money and does so with no accountability to the British Public. This is what we have our own MP's for - and if they get it wrong, we can kick them out after 4 years! We've done pretty well on our own since the Romans went home and we've written the democratic blueprint for much of the modern world. How dare Brussels steal that democracy away from us? British MEP's are powerless to influence the myriad of laws that issue forth from Brussels – they are defeated and outvoted over 86% of the time.
The Common Market was a great idea and if it had remained simply as a free market, I wouldn't be here today. But this power creep, this erosion of our democracy and sovereignty isn't what we signed up for.
Let me end by telling you why my heart as well as my head wants to leave the EU.
I'm extremely proud of my late father. He fought at Tobruk in 1941. He wasn't a hero, he was just a lad from Chatham who knew what had to be done and got on with it in that stolid way his generation did. As a 20 year old Tommy, I doubt he ever even considered it, but he was fighting for #British Sovereignty and freedom. He suffered a lifetime of illness for that cause; many more paid the ultimate price on our behalf. I will never forget that and I see it as a dishonour to The Greatest Generation that everything they fought for is being eroded by our EU membership.
The British showed the world what we're made of in 1940, I believe that fire still beats in our hearts and I pray that June the 23rd will be the day when Britain once again becomes Great Britain!