Leave.EU campaign leader blames rules from Brussels for flooding
The millionaire leader of a campaign for the UK to leave the European Union blamed rules from Brussels for flooding as he called on Britons to vote to "liberate" themselves in the referendum on EU membership promised by David Cameron.
Businessman Arron Banks, co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign, which is backed by Nigel Farage, used a New Year message to supporters to claim EU rules on dredging rivers were contributing to floods which have hit parts of England.
The vote on whether to leave the EU could be held in 2016 if Mr Cameron gets an agreement on his reform demands and Mr Banks, a major Ukip donor, said a decision to cut ties with Brussels would be the biggest political earthquake to hit Europe since the collapse of communism.
He said 2015 had been "a year of EU crises - the Eurozone Greek debt crisis, the migration crisis and now the security crisis".
He added: "Next year will be no different, already we can see the problems of the floods in England made possible by EU laws that have halted dredging of our rivers."
In a rallying cry to Eurosceptics, he said: " Leaving the EU will be the biggest political earthquake in Europe since the Berlin Wall fell.
"It will not just liberate the UK so that we can decide our laws for ourselves it will also initiate change in the EU itself, forcing it to face up to its many failures that will have caused the British people to relinquish membership of a failed attempt to force proud countries into an unaccountable superstate."
Meanwhile the other main group campaigning for a British exit from the EU calculated that laws from Brussels would form a pile 10 metres high.
Vote Leave said the acquis communautaire - the treaties, regulations and directives passed by the European institutions as well as judgments laid down by the Court of Justice - was more than 714,000 pages long in 2013 when printing of the Official Journal of the European Union stopped.
The group accepted that not all of the measures were currently relevant, but estimated that there are 168,349 pages still in force - enough to form a 10 metre pile higher than two double-decker buses.
Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliott said: " EU politicians have promised countless times that they would cut red tape but they have never actually done it. This mountain of red tape causes huge problems for British businesses, councils and for the NHS.
"EU politicians cannot be trusted - they are promising future cuts in red tape to David Cameron but that is about as likely as turkeys voting for Christmas.
"The only way to deal with this problem once and for all is to take back control by voting to leave the EU."