TAUNTON Deane's MP Rebecca Pow has revealed she is backing the stay campaign in the EU referendum, warning that a having a small island mentality could be damaging for younger generations.

In a lengthy post on her website, Ms Pow, one of last Conservative MPs to give her view on the referendum, says that whilst Europe is not perfect, we are better off in than out.

She has spoken with key businesses, farmers, elderly residents and environmentalists as well as having individual meetings with Michael Gove and David Cameron before coming to her conclusion.

"Deep down, my gut feeling is that whatever the misgivings of the European Union, and I certainly don’t believe it is perfect, I am convinced that we are better off in Europe," Ms Pow said.

"Firstly, we have had 40 years of peace and relative prosperity so why rock the boat and opt for an unpredictable future?"

In her argument Ms Pow cites benefits of the free market, freedom of movement, impact on the agriculture industry and the environment among her reasons for wanting to remain in.

"The European Union was originally set up as a trading bloc and we still benefit enormously from free trade with 500 million people on our doorstep. Indeed Europe is our largest trading partner representing 52% of our trade," Ms Pow said.

"It could take years to renegotiate trade deals with European countries if we leave. This could have serious consequences for businesses such as the Ministry of Cake in Taunton which exports lorry loads of cake across Europe every week."

Ms Pow said that an EU Brexit would be catastrophic for the food industry, a key employer in the South West, 'causing disruption' to supply chains with the introduction of extra tariffs and import controls.

"This is not to mention the dependence of the food sector on the labour force from Eastern Europe. The UK workforce simply can’t, or doesn’t, fulfil this demand," she added.

"Remember too, that two thirds of our agricultural exports go to Europe which would also be disadvantaged. I am not convinced our own government would prioritise the rural sector as Europe does and this would be highly detrimental especially in areas like Taunton Deane."

Ms Pow concludes her statement by asking people to consider the potential impacts on the younger generation of leaving Europe.

"Last but by no means least, let us consider the younger generations who will be stuck with the consequences of our decision should we come out of Europe. Do we want to burden them with a small island mentality, where shutters come down, the union possibly disintegrates and potentially 20 years of uncertainty ensues as we try to find a new direction?," she said.

"All the young people I have spoken to see themselves as Europeans, operating on a global stage with opportunities to move freely and work anywhere within the EU, so I urge a thought for them as this most important decision is made."